Trip Trip to Raleigh

So, a week before my mother’s 75th birthday party, she broke her leg. As a result, she had to come stay with us while she recovered, because we have a wheelchair ramp and a roll in shower, which made her day to day life a little easier to manage.

The day before the party, my wife developed cellulitis in her left leg, spent two days in the hospital, and missed the party entirely.

Partially because of that, after the birthday party, Mom decided to go with my sister (and her husband and kids) to her house in Raleigh. To give us a break, and to spend time with my sister, of course.

The trick was, she had an appointment with her Dr. 4 weeks out, but also didn’t have an exit plan from Raleigh. So, as the day grew closer, the idea was born that the wife and I would jump in our car and drive down to get her. We hadn’t properly road tripped our 06 Ford Taurus yet, and while there was always the risk of something going wrong, we decided to go for it. We had a 5 day window to get this done, so we checked Google Maps, updated the GPS on our phones, and planned to stay in Chillicothe Ohio the first night.

I had to work (third shift) the night before we left. I got home, took a quick nap (From about 7 to 10 AM), and we took off an hour earlier than planned. So far, so good, right? We had never gone east further than Indianapolis, so most of the trip was going to be virgin territory for us.

First surprise, the air conditioning decided not to cooperate. After running for about an hour or so, it would slowly decrease in effectiveness, and you would have to shut it off for a while before it would work again. Not ideal, and we were already in Indiana before we discovered that little treat.

Traffic wasn’t bad, although I really wish people who drive on the interstate would use their cruse controls to maintain steady speeds. I had a couple of road rage issues because I hate to shut off the cruse control, and inevitably, the left lane would be clear for miles, until I got close enough to the car in front of me to consider passing at which point a car would magically appear in the left lane moving like a bat out of hell, delaying my pass until I had no choice but to slow down.

This irritates me for two reasons. One, because it kills momentum, and the car has to work harder to get back up to speed, and two…. well, ok, maybe that’s the main reason. I know, it’s silly, but there it is.

So we went 344 miles before gassing up at a gas station on “Needmor Road” in Dayton Ohio. That was my favorite road name of the trip, btw. Then, I promptly got us off track by missing an exit onto the road that was going to take us to Chilicothe, but I knew what direction we had to go, and the GPS concurred, although it didn’t like the route I chose, but we were heading in the right direction before too much time had passed. Eventually it saw things my way.

Now I had presumed Chillicothe was going to be a little bump in the road, and I could not have been more wrong. The main street through town was 7 lanes wide! A ridiculous number of route’s and highways converged there, and once again, I made a slight navigational error on the way to the hotel. Another consult with the GPS got us back to where we needed to be, and as a pleasant surprise, the hotel upgraded us to a Suite. Made me wish we were staying longer than one night! After a dip in the pool, we headed out for some sustenance, we would up at a Big Boy burger place, and all I can say is, Meh. Wife liked the tuna melt, though.

We hit the road the next morning by 7:30 and about a half hour down the road, the wife realized she had forgotten her pillow in the room. Well, that necessitated an immediate U-turn, because if there is one thing you don’t mess with, it’s my wife’s pillow. 🙂

West Virginia promised to be “Wild and Wonderful” according to the licence plates, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Between the mountains with their runaway truck ramps and 5% down grade over two miles, the W.G.Walker Mountain Tunnel and the East River Mountain tunnel, Once we got through all of that (and crossing Virginia, which is for lovers (of Mountain roads), I had to take a break at the North Carolina Welcome Center. Where no one actually said “Welcome,” but considering the wind and traffic noise had left me a little rattled, I might not have heard them anyway.

The end of this leg was near. My sister lives in Raleigh, so why the GPS took us down the road marked “Dunham” is beyond me, but I had been trained to follow the machine, so there I went. and just when we were 6 miles away, the app crashed. We may as well have been on the dark side of the moon for all I knew were we were or needed to go. Fortunately, a restart of the phone got things back on track, and about 4:30, we rolled into my sisters driveway.

We would only be there for 16 hours..
To be Continued…


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