Friday, June 03, 2011

easy riders

author's note: i kept a journal during the trip, hoping to post as our adventure was unfolding.  but our stops were rarely longer than enough time to sleep and eat, and internet was as little scarce at times anyway.
so, pretend it's really happening, 'k?

wednesday, may 25, 2011
1:20 p.m. somewhere on the pennsylvania turnpike

i forced myself to wake up by 7:17 this morning. that's 6:17 a.m. texas time, and 5:17 a.m. on utah time, where i was just a week ago. the girls had been up for a while before then.
as inevitably happens when planning to leave for a road trip, we left about two hours after we'd planned. as long as we get to stop and look at the kirtland temple, that's really all the time i need at our stop today, so we're still plenty good for time.

jaime brought harry potter 7 on cd for our trip. we're already on disc 3 (of 17.) on my end, i loaded up my ipod with a few david sedaris audio books, about a dozen episodes of "this american life", and did my best to make a playlist of songs that would be recongizable to jaime (i kicked our trip off with the obligatory "life is a highway.")

we've got fruit cups and fiber one granola bars and a 24-pack of bottled water. my tire pressure guage that i brougt along "just in case" has already proven useful (nothing serious; we were just checking the car at the rest stop (named "a-plus: the official pit stop of nascar!") and the air pump's pressure guage was broken). and the pennsylvania countryside has gotten increasingly beautiful as we've driven along I-76. i've been sticking my point-n-shoot camera out the window at lush countrysides and rolling hills with mixed results.

my view
we're having our fun, too. we hold our breath during when we go through tunnels and make wishes and have started playing the license plate game (with a four-day road trip from coast to coast, how could you not?) i even found an app for my phone that keeps track of that state plates we've seen.  so now both of us lean to get a closer look every time we pass a car. we've traveled 225 miles out of 2,900 (or so) and have seen 27 out of 51. as long as we can still pick up new hampshire, massecheusetts (i suspect i saw one but couldn't confirm it), and d.c. while we're still in the eastern time zone, i think we'll get them all.

2:24 p.m. i told jaime i really hope to find a d.c. plate. she questions if there even is a d.c. plate. i show her the picture of it on my phone. she says we likely won't see one. i fretfully wonder if she's right. it's just a city, not a state, so there aren't a lot of people there. and families are the ones who usually take raod trips, and they probably live in maryland or virginia.

2:27 p.m. i recongize the plate we're closing in on. i confirm it's d.c. i start cheering. jaime gets a slightly worried look at me then comments how crazy it is that just a few minutes earlier we were saying how we probably wouldn't see it.

2:36 p.m. ginny is giving harry his birthday present on our audio book.
there's a tunnel coming up.
they're kissing. i'm holding my breath in the tunnel. this one's really long.
dang, i can't see the end.
jaime usually drives faster so we can make it, but there's a lame car in front of us.
i made it.

8:53 p.m. we're about 30 miles past cleveland.
stopping in kirtland has added about three hours to our trip but was definitely worth it. i felt the Spirit as we drove up the hill toward the temple and found myself grinning automatically. we got there around 6:30. the lds sites are open until 7:00, but the temple is owned by the community of Christ and the tours end at 5.
 still, jaime and i walked the grounds and took some pictures. i called my sister because we always call each other when we're at the top of mountains, and i figured that the temple is the mountain of the Lord. she informed me that that generally refers to the salt lake temple. thank you, sister.

one of the credos of our trip is to eat at local places. staying on interstates isn't as rich of an experience an cruising on the highways with alton brown, as we're releagated more to the suburbs, but jaime and i found a place called "eat-n-park" that worked for us. i'm pretty sure it's an east coast chain analogous to village inn, but we'd never heard of it, so it still counts. we both got the "pittsburgh turkey" sandwich. toasted bread + turkey + cole slaw + french fries = the sandwich. i quite liked it. jaime was more lukewarm towards it.
we're in a nice rainstorm now, we passed a really cool and creepy old abandoned building in cleveland and are looking to be at our hotel around 1:30 a.m.


Em said...

I'm pretty sure the PA turnpike takes you through some of the prettiest parts of the Earth. So far nothing has convinced me otherwise.

The Former 786 said...

I remember one time when we were playing "Slug Bug" and my grandma said "Purple bug!" and we all looked around, but didn't see one. We asked her about it and she said, "Oh, I was just kidding." Then, around the corner drove a purple Volkswagen bug. The cosmos, man. It's a strange thing.

Also, we have the same rule on our trips - we try not to eat at a place we can find at home.