Gizmo Guy and I have driven over 3500 miles. In ten days. We drove through seven States (twice) and are finally back home in Canada. While I loved the trip, I’ll be happy if I don’t have to get behind the wheel of the car for a while. Or eat in a restaurant for a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love southern food — yup, I even love grits (with butter please, nothing fancy) and Gizmo Guy drools over those southern biscuits. I discovered the deep fried chicken from the Cracker Barrel while Gizmo Guy admitted that the waffles at *gasp* the Olympic Flame restaurant in Myrtle Beach were better than his beloved Waffle House restaurants. (None of these restaurants are up in Canada, so they’re treats.) Yeah, we don’t do high-faluting restaurants, we’re down-home country cooking type folks. But I’m really glad I went for my regular cholesterol tests before this trip because wow…the treadmill definitely needs to come up from the basement now.
Our first night we made it to just north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (We stopped about an hour north on the way back too.) That area had been hit hard by both Hurricane Irene and Lee, and many of the areas had been flooded, so there were lots of FEMA and SBA people staying at the hotels. (I’d never heard that Hershey Park had been flooded by between 4 and 10 feet of water. Or that they’d ended up having to destroy some of their bison in their zoo as a result.)
On the second day, we drove through Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia, before getting off the highway in Virginia to head down the Blue Ridge Parkway. The views were spectacular. At least that’s what Gizmo Guy tells me — my fear of heights really kicked in and for a fair portion of the start of the trip I was leaning over the console with my eyes closed trying not to shout “Look at the road, not the view, damn it!” at poor Gizmo Guy. Eventually I convinced myself to “grow a pair” and actually started looking out the window. But after about 60 miles we realized all the mountains and valleys were starting to look alike.
The Adirondacks in NY
On our way to Monticello in Virginia
Overlooking the east side of the Blue Ridges
Overlooking the west side of the Blue Ridges about 50 miles north
On the road in North Carolina
(We realized on the trip back north that the whole trip was based through mountains — from the Adirondacks, the Catskills, the Alleghenies and onto the Shenandoahs, even before we hit the Blue Ridge so of course it was starting to all look the same. It’s gorgeous countryside but after driving through it for two days, you stop seeing the beauty and just can’t wait to get off the road.)
At the end of the day, we had to duck off the Parkway to find a hotel (found one in Salem/Roanoke — holy moly, was Salem ever DARK! I’ve never seen a town with such bad lighting.) Anyway that night Gizmo Guy was googling and discovered that we were only two hours away from Greensboro and Myrtle Beach was only three hours from there. So the next day we headed back through the mountains and toward the coast. Neither of us had ever been to South Carolina before, so we got to check off another state on our “visited” list. (that’s state #24 for me, and #30 for GG.) While Myrtle Beach is rather commercial, we were there at an almost off-season time–everyone had gone back to school, mainly the other tourists were parents with pre-school age kids or older like us. We found a wonderful hotel right on the beach so we spent three days listening to the surf pounding the shore and relaxing.
On Thursday we headed back to Greensboro NC, where the Writers Police Academy was being held. I sat in on classes on arson investigations, forensic investigations (CSI gets it so wrong!), forensic pathology, and even got up close to a real-life sniper.
That deserves a post (or more) all of its own — that’ll be on Thursday, and probably the weekend. For now I need to figure out where the heck the boys put my mail that should contain my latest royalty cheque that will pay for all this travelling.
Random thought: Based on our times on the roads of the American highways, we noticed that the Virginia drivers tended to stick to the posted speed limits, while those in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, not so much. The worst drivers we encountered (as in those who were speed demons) were those from *sob* Ontario. No, I’m not talking about us, but those we encountered in upstate New York and once we crossed the border back in Canada. If the posted speed limit in Virginia is 65, that’s what the drivers (when we were on their highways) were doing. In Ontario? Where the posted speed limit is 100 km (about 55), then the minimum almost everyone is driving is no less than 110, and even 120 isn’t blinked at. *sigh*