Home > Uncategorized > So how was your drive home, Christopher?

So how was your drive home, Christopher?

Oh, that.  Well, let’s see if I can remember… it’s all sort of blending together.  I got up pretty early on Monday morning, and cousin-in-law Mark advised me that the longer I waited to set out, the worse the rush hour traffic would be on the DC Beltway.  So after having a big bowl of cereal (literally —  their bowls are bigger than mine so I poured more than I intended) and checking the weather (noting a chance of thunderstorms along the route), I packed up and set out at about 7:20 AM.  Getting onto the Beltway was easier this time than back at Thanksgiving; this time I didn’t miss the exit (even though the sign for it was almost hidden by tree branches).  The Beltway traffic wasn’t too bad, and so it was pretty straightforward from there.  I took advantage of every rest stop, knowing I needed to pace myself.  After just about four hours, I left Maryland and entered West Virginia.  My gas was running low as I neared Morgantown, and I tried using my phone’s Yellow Pages application to find a Kroger gas station (so I could use my discount card).  But I don’t actually subscribe to the phone’s GPS service, and I couldn’t quite figure out the directions it gave, so after stopping for lunch, I decided just to give up on Kroger and get gas from the nearest station I could find.  But the first one said on the pump that the gas included ethanol, and I don’t know enough about my car to know if that’s appropriate for it.  And the second charged too much.  So I just went back onto the freeway in search of the next exit.  And lo and behold, there was a sign for Kroger gas!  Not offering nearly as good a discount as I get at home, but it was the cheapest I could find.

Then I took I-79 north into Pennsylvania and up to I-70, and I think it was somewhere in PA that my eyes really started to sting and water (maybe from sweat dripping sunblock into them — that happens sometimes) and I had to pull over until it cleared up.   Unfortunately, the first available place to stop after I took the next exit was a large gravel lot.  For the rest of the drive home, I could hear a piece of gravel rattling around inside one of the wheels.  At least, I really hoped that’s what it was; I’d gone over kind of a big dip in the road when leaving the lot.  But I didn’t have a wheel fall off at 65 MPH and crash and burn horribly, which is a good sign.

Then I left Pennsylvania and ended up… back in West Virginia?!  Well, just that little tiny extension of West Virginia that sticks up in that very narrow space between Ohio and Pennsylvania for reasons surpassing understanding.  Why did the people who drew the PA border need it to be a perfect square at that corner?  Why not just extend it all the way to the Ohio River?  Anyway, I stopped at a rest stop near Wheeling, and luckily they had a TV showing the Weather Channel, which at just that moment was reporting on a very heavy thunderstorm that was going to pass over my route within the next hour or two.  I figured I’d have to stop somewhere and ride it out, but first decided to make as much progress as I could before it hit, so I wouldn’t lose time.  So I kept driving until the sky grew dark, and once the rain started to fall, I pulled off at the next exit.  The only real place to wait there was a gas station/convenience mart, but the rain was coming down hard by the time I parked there, so I definitely made the right call.  I decided to buy an ice cream sundae, and had just finished paying for it when the power went out.  So I ate my sundae in the dark (or the dim, anyway) and watched the storm.  Eventually, once the rain had become light enough and the thunder was coming some 15 seconds after the lightning, I figured the worst was past and got back on the road, though it was  another couple of hours before the rain ended altogether.

The ice cream was around 4 PM, so I didn’t get hungry for a while, which was good, because the storm had made for a long delay and I was hoping to get home before 8 so I could watch the season premieres of Syfy’s Monday shows, and thus didn’t want to stop for dinner.  Once I got past Columbus and onto I-71, I knew I was pushing it; I didn’t expect I’d get home before 8, but the margin was close enough that maybe I could’ve if I’d gone fast enough.  But I was still a little uneasy about that rattle in the wheel, and I didn’t want to take any chances with safety just to get home in time for a show I was recording anyway.  So I took my time, and as I expected, I got home about 10 minutes after 8 — tantalizingly close, but not close enough.  Just as well, since it gave me time to check my mail and settle in a bit.

I must’ve been pretty exhausted, since I slept until after 8 AM the next morning, and I’m still feeling pretty fatigued.  It was a really long trip — just about 12 hours and 50 minutes.  And I still haven’t fully unpacked or caught up on all my recorded shows.  Or gotten around to picking up that laptop battery I need.  It’ll be another day or two before I’m back to normal, I guess.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
  1. Bruce Gibson
    July 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I work for The Weather Channel and am glad to hear that the Wheeling rest stop was showing our network and gave you a weather heads-up for a safe drive home.

    • July 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

      Yeah, that was a lucky break. I gather it was an exceptionally severe storm, something rare called a derecho, with really fierce winds. I’m grateful that they were showing that TV report and that I caught it when I did.

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