Sunday, June 15, 2008

Maryland welcomes no one!

In response to a promise I made over Christmas vacation, I drove to New York last week for my summer vacation. I’ve never driven that far by myself before, or really ever driven that far before, period, since I usually con my friends into driving while I sit in the back and read a book, but I decided that I could handle it, even though it meant 14 hours in the car. Even better, I decided I could do the whole thing in one day, so I grabbed a six pack of Mountain Dew, a box of breakfast cereal bars, and set my alarm to get me up in time to leave at two in the morning.

At 3:30, I woke up from a dream that I had overslept to discover that I actually was oversleeping. Apparently my subconscious keeps really good track of the alarm clock. Also, subconscious mind? I take back all the things I said about you after that dream where Ryan Phillippe and I were friends and nobody took their clothes off. I forgive you.

I was on the road by 4, which looked something like this, but even darker:

Here comes dawn

The sun didn’t even start to come up until I was all the way out of Tennessee and into Virginia, where I stopped at the Virginia Welcome Center to be welcomed:

Virginia Welcomes Me!

As a matter of fact, I stopped at every state’s welcome center, because I wanted to document my progress and stretch my legs as often as possible. The sun was up all the way by the time I hit West Virginia:

West Virginia Welcomes Me!

and Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania Welcomes Me with a Smile!

and I actually managed to learn something in the New York Welcome Center:

carousel horse

I had no idea Binghamton was famous for anything, much less for being the Nation’s Carousel Capital. Binghamton? I take back all the bad things I said about you after I had to drive through you every morning to student teach for six weeks straight. I forgive you.

This part of the trip was so much fun that I stopped at all the welcome centers on the way home, too.

Pennsylvania:

pennsylvania welcome center

West Virginia, where they were excited to see me and have me sign the guest book:

west virginia wave

and Virginia:

virginia welcomes you!

I didn’t stop at Tennessee’s Welcome Center, because it was raining and I was tired and at the “I’m so close to home I just need to speed up and then I’ll be there!” point, but it looked very nice from the side window at 80 miles per hour.

What did I learn from all this driving?

1) Gas gets more expensive as you move further north.

Ouch, gas hurts!

gas prices hurt

I tried to keep my fill-ups as far south as possible.

2) Maryland welcomes no one. Every other state I passed through had a welcome center, but not Maryland. They have a sign. That’s it. If you don’t like it, they apparently don’t care, because you’re not welcome there anyway.

3) Apple cinnamon breakfast bars are better than mixed berry.

I’ll talk about my trip more later. There’s an album on my photo page for it.

1 comment:

JMBower said...

I was just stranded overnight in Binghamton last week, as part of an epic failure of the airline industry to either deliver or return me in anything remotely resembling a time-sensitive fashion.

I had not been there before. I am not sure I will be going back soon, even with the siren's call of Carousel-based historical information.

As per Maryland, I went to school about 2 miles from the border. There was no welcome sign there either, that I recall.