Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Burg, A Boone, 2 villes, and Team Chaos

OK, so it's been a while. I had three crazy weeks (work-related) and then I took Friday off as a mental health day and it's been hard for me to get back in the swing of blogging. It's been nearly a month since we got home from our trip, but I promised I'd finish the recaps, so I will.

We left Philadelphia on a Monday afternoon and drove for several hours until we reached western Virginia, going through Delaware and Maryland without getting out of the car, sitting in rush hour DC traffic, and finally making it to Harrisonburg, VA, where there is noplace easy to camp (we found out the hard way after many false starts). We ended up having to backtrack 10 miles north to camp at an out-of-the-way KOA, with great facilities and (sadly) prices to match. It was rechristened "Suckburg, vol. 2" (a long story) and then I realized that I would have almost no juice in my phone so I called our friend in Boone to give hir a heads up regarding approximately when we might end up on hir doorstep. Thanks to our interest in adding just one more state (West Virginia) under our belts, what should have been 5-6 hours took more like 8 and we barely made it to Boone before B/T had to go to class.

Old fashioned gas pump at a gas station in White Sulpher Springs, WV

It was hot, and we were totally sweaty and disgusting and the hummus went rancid and leaked all over everything in the back seat (including my shorts) so I rinsed 'em in the sink and we hustled downtown and found the Appalachian State campus, then parked our butts in the library for 3 hours and soaked up the air conditioning, comfortable seating, and reading material. Ahhhhh.

I really enjoyed our visit with B/T, and Boone is beautiful, but damn it takes a long time to get there from anywhere. We were up and out relatively early in the morning after a home-cooked breakfast, and on our way to Asheville. After an hour's stop (during which time we bought cold iced caffeinated beverages from a bus/cafe and mostly wandered around), we headed to Nashville. We had a downtown wander there as well, poking around in some of the music stores and watching some people play instruments on the street, and then we drove through the rain to eat barbecue at a pretty swell place.

Coffee bus!

Like the Vegas strip, only with more country music and fewer people with gambling problems.

All this for less than 20 bucks.

We had some additional camping snafus after sitting in some bizarre traffic in the middle of nowhere, but eventually (like, way way past dark) made it to a campground in that tiny piece of western Kentucky near Paducah that's also right next to Illinois and Tennessee, near Land Between the Lakes. It was hot and gross and we were hot and tired and miserable, but the campsite was free and nowhere near any noise other than insects and frogs, so that was something at least.

In the morning, we ate at some low-rent Denny's style chain called Huddle House in Metropolis, IL which is of course where there's a giant Superman statue. So we had to stop there.

Superman is pretty big.

Sadly, his junk leaves something to be desired.

We took a long, hot detour through southcentral Illinois and had some more bad luck with food stuff in St. Louis and then came the long, long, long hot slog across Missouri. We stopped twice along the way to steal internet from Days Inns along the side of the road (B/T had a laptop cord we were able to use to power up the laptop) and try to figure out where we were going to stay. A $40 La Quinta room (yes, next to Denny's) with A/C and a bed and a shower sounded like heaven, so we booked it and drove there, cleaned up, and went to dinner in a different part of Kansas City at a great restaurant recommended by Average Jane. We enjoyed our dinner with AJ and her husband and went back to our hotel room to vegetate.

In the morning, we met up with Cagey and Team Chaos at a Denny's that was (again) next to a (different) La Quinta and had a great breakfast. Team Chaos were fun and funny and Cagey was delightful and it was just what we needed to start our last travel day. Which was long and hot and gross once again, driving all the way across Kansas and through Colorado back home.

Arun Macaroon and Peanut Butter Anjali!

So here's the rundown of the trip, in numbers:
States visited (driven through or stopped in): 20
States set foot, ate, slept, or peed in: 17
Miles: ~5,000
Awesome last-minute Travelocity hotel deals located: 3
License plates seen: 46 states, plus 5 Canadian provinces (only missing North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Montana) (yes, we got Alaska and Hawaii!)
Friends visited with: 16 plus 3 kiddos
Friends we missed: Abby, EEK
Animals killed: One that we know of. We think it was a muskelid of some sort that ran right in front of the car, no way to swerve. :(

Trip: awesome.