Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Road trip, part 2 "Heading South"
Like all great journey's, our rag-tag foursome got a late, but uneventful start.
Punctuality is for the weak, and not to mention, we had a whole 24 hours to make it to Nashville where a hotel room would be waiting for our travel-weary bodies.
And weary they would be.
We sped out of New York on I-84 and into the perpetual "farm scents" of Pennsylvania. (Seriously, why does the entire state always smell of poo?)
Needing gas, food and a car laptop adapter we were seduced by signs for a Wal-Mart and a Sheetz. (There is something so white-trashilicious about making your first road trip-stop at a Wal-Mart.) Now, a Sheetz, for those of you who don't know, is a gas station/fast food stop where you put your food order into a computer (with a full color interactive picture menu), pay, then pick up your food. Fantastic.
Even more fantastic was driving past the "War College," complete with a training site made up to look like a war-zone with helicopters and fox holes. I didn't know such a place existed! I want to enroll there and major in "grenade launching," with a minor in "walkie-talkie." I wonder if you play a game of "Risk" as the entrance exam.
From Pennsylvania, we trekked into the Maryland panhandle. How can such a small state go on for so long? We stopped for dinner in a lil city called "Cumberland," where the fountains were filled surprisingly with Tang, not milk. But they did have tasty Maryland crab cakes.
Soon after Cumberland, we entered the DEAD ZONE many know as West Virginia. No phone. No GPS ... and the wee overnight hours were just beginning. (Which is unfortunate, because I've driven through the DEAD ZONE during the day, and it was quite lovely.) We made a quick stop at a delightfully sketchy gas station - fueled up, held my nose in the rank rest stop bathroom and continued on. (Important note - it was still cold outside, but the DEAD ZONE was the first stop where everyone had Southern accents. This was encouraging. Oh, and the speed limit was 70 mph! Crazy!)
Kentucky is a blur. I was getting tired behind the wheel ... it was pitch black, and VERY early in the morning. I remember passing a castle all lit-up. It was beautiful, but out-of-place. We drove through some of Lexington. Gassed up, grabbed coffee and a snack ... Tennessee was just a few hours away.
Then the sky opened up. Walls of rain pummeled the road and my poor little car. The bullying winds threatened to veer us off into the, now muddy, bluegrass fields. Awesome conditions when you're half asleep ... of course nothing wakes you up like unbridled fear. I remember thinking we were so close to Nashville (our dry hotel room), then seeing a sign that we were still 2 hours away.
That was a bad feeling. Then a truck tried to merge into my door. That was worse.
Finally, the sun began to rise. The rain was dying down, and we passed the sign I'd been dying to see "Welcome to Nashville."
The hotel took us in early. They had complimentary breakfasts and a guitar shaped-pool. That sign might as well have said "Welcome to Heaven."