North Carolina to South Dakota and Back 2012
(Days #15-17 - July 14 to July 16)
This is my official 'last' blog entry about our vacation. This one includes days 15-17, which started with leaving Nashville, IL on the morning of the 15th to get back on the road "again". We started with a stop at the local gas station, where the cashier insisted upon making fresh coffee for us and then filling our 24-ounce mug and I-don't-know-how-many-ounce thermos both full to the top for a mere $3.00. We then stopped at McDonald's where we not only paid $10 for two egg sandwiches and a large smoothie, but were asked if we wanted grape or strawberry jelly. I'm still not sure what exactly the woman thought we needed jelly for, unless there is some new "eat jelly on your egg sandwich" fad that I'm not yet aware of. Regardless, we were back on the Interstate by 8:00 a.m., which seems to be the earliest we can get on the road no matter how early we intend to leave.
Most of the day proceeded without incident. We drove through Kentucky on I-64 instead of going through Tennessee on I-70 as originally planned. The trusty (and sometimes not trusty) Google Maps on my phone said the Kentucky route was only 5 minutes further, and we had gone the Tennessee route 2 years ago, so we chose Kentucky this time. It just so happened that I had "Blue Moon of Kentucky" on my iPod, so at one point we of course had to play that and sing along.
At one point as we drove through the mountains in Asheville (NC), we considered stopping to camp again for the night. At that point though we were in North Carolina, and even though we were still 6 hours from Wilmington, we felt like we were on the "home stretch" and kept going.
Marshall and I have different driving techniques. I like to go about 75, he would like to go about 85. We settle by me trying to push it and go 80, and him constantly slowing down each time I tell him, "Honey, slow down - 80 is fast enough." Well ... at some point in Raleigh, at about 9:00 p.m., he told me I was going too slow and that it was his turn to drive. So, a bit later we switched drivers. A bit after that, we were on the actual "home stretch" - about an hour and a half from home - and I was tired of saying "Honey, slow down - 80 is fast enough" ... so then we saw some blue lights. Poor Marshall got a speeding ticket, and we were only an hour from home. We made it that far across this country and back, and he got a speeding ticket an hour from home (for the record, don't tell him I'm telling you this, and also for the record, he was going 83 in a 70.) We got home at about 11:00 p.m.
Day 16 of our "vacation" was a bonus day, since we had planned to be driving all day but instead came all the way on Day 15. So, we spent the day sleeping in, settling in, unpacking the car, working in the yard, attempting to clean SOME of the dog hair out of the rental car, taking the rental car back to the airport and having an awesome lasagna dinner with our neighbors. As I cleaned out the rental car, it occurred to me that I was cleaning out what basically had been our "home" for two weeks. I threw away the candy wrappers from all of the Atomic fireballs I ate while I was driving, found the quarter I dropped in the backseat while we were trying to pay at a toll booth, tried to remove a couple stains where the dogs somehow got tar on the seat, checked every cubby and hole in the car to make sure I got our spare change, my earrings, my phone charger ... it was kind of a sad feeling. Then I took the keys to the 2012 Toyota Corolla, drove it to the airport and turned it in. The woman at the Hertz desk said to me when I gave her the mileage, "Did you really drive 3,268 miles over the past 14 days?" I said "Yes ma'am, we did."
Day 17 was our official last day of vacation. I did some cleaning and organizing in the house and ran some errands in the afternoon. A bit less exciting and a bit more like "real life." Overall a great last day though, and time to go back to work!