On May 28, 2020, I left to move to Florida, and I went by car. My vehicle is a 2010 Chevy Cobalt, white as bone, so you can understand I was a little apprehensive to drive 1,200 miles in that friggin’ thing. Fortunately, I had the tires and oil checked the day before. All the specialists told me they were fine and I was ready to make the trip. Who was I to question them?
What do I know about cars, you ask? I drive a friggin’ Cobalt. There’s your answer.
At the time of this writing, I’ve already travelled down South and completed the trip. I’ll tell all you car aficionados this: Don’t underestimate the Cobalt, it’s a lot more powerful than you give it credit for. And boy, can it do wonders on the Interstates. VROOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!
Anyway, I left Connecticut through Interstate 84 Westbound to White Plains, NY. Everyone’s default choice would’ve been I-95 South to go straight to the Florida Keys. Thing is, that highway takes you through all the major cities on the East Coast (NYC, Philly, Baltimore, DC, you name it). I wasn’t in the business of sight-seeing or fighting traffic. I just needed to get to my destination as efficiently as possible.
And ahem, we got a few riots goin’ on. Let’s not forget that. Cities are a headache to go through right now, generally speaking.
Back to 84-West. I entered New York while following some MapQuest directions (to ease the strain on my smartphone and car battery). Funny thing is, I couldn’t follow a single page of the directions! An hour into the trip, and I was already lost! MapQuest was actually telling me to go into Albany/NYC even when I swore off the big cities. My carelessness prevented me from reading the directions in full ahead of time.
But so what? I knew where I was. And more importantly, I knew where I was going. All I had to do was go South. And head west just a teensy bit. It’s not rocket science!
After scrapping the directions, I could have some real fun and take in my surroundings for a change. Around this time, I thought of a slogan that suited the trip: “Get Lost or Go Home!”
Getting lost in life is essential to the journey. Going home is a cop-out one does when desperate for comfort.
“Get Lost or Go Home”
So I hopped on I-81 South through Pennsylvania, again avoiding the cities. My visit to Philly to Pittsburgh can come another time. What really irked me about PA was, well, 2 things:
1: The Mountainside and the Higher Altitudes. My eardrums were bursting like I was in an Airbus. Now, I don’t know if the average traveler experiences this while driving through PA. An important thing to consider is I have underdeveloped ears and am probably more susceptible to things like ear barotrauma than you are.
2. I was feeling frustrated that I wasn’t getting through PA as fast as I wanted. The state seemed so…vast. So…endless. As I covered in my blog a couple days ago, I’m from the state of Connecticut which is geographically small and quick work for casual travelers (there’s only 20 minutes of driving between cities).
As a New Englander, I like to see results and reach destinations as soon as possible. I don’t like to wait for things. This trip really taught me the value of patience and how vast the world really is.
After going through PA, I made a brief swoop into West Virginia to get some iced coffee before heading into Virginia.
Now, Virginia, like Pennsylvania before it, frustrated me with its relatively large size. I wanted to reach Tennessee before sundown. One of the reasons being that TN was one of the few states that have had their hotels open during this pandemic. Google didn’t provide crystal-clear answers as to what states had their hotels open and which didn’t. Or maybe I wasn’t looking in the right place.
Near the end of the day, I was on the south-western tip of VA before calling it quits. I thought I was going to have a heart attack if I didn’t reach TN that night (but I think I turned out alright). I took one of the exits to check if the hotels of VA were open.
As it turned out, they were! (albeit with minor restrictions, like no breakfast…
GAS STATION GRUB IT IS!!!!
The room I got was great for its price ($75). There was a weird chugging sound, which could’ve been the pipes. Being a deaf person that can shut off his hearing at will, I couldn’t give a crap.
So, that was Day 1 of my trip. It was the day where my patience was tested like never before. It was the day I realized the world is much, much bigger than the tiny patch of dirt called Connecticut. It’s akin to an astronaut leaving Earth behind and seeing the terrifying blackness of space.
When he looks hard enough, though, he’ll see the stars providing him with light and guidance. He’ll find the planets providing potential homes and shelters from the asteroids. And he’ll see the cosmos in all their ethereal beauty. Perspective is what these road trips can bring, folks.
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