Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Road Worriers, Part 5 - The Voyage Home

January 1

Thank God the year is finally fucking over. I know I said that last post, but jeez, what a horrible year.

We checked in with my brother-in-law, and it was decided that it would just be easiest to start heading south that afternoon. The truck, though, had some other ideas, as it would not start up. We checked out things under the hood, and found that the antifreeze container was now EMPTY.

(Um, Big 10 Tires? You suck. Don’t touch my truck again.)

After about ten minutes, we were able to coax the truck into starting up. We got everyone in and loaded and I made the only rational move I could at that point - drive home.

Not to the current home. The old home. We drove to Stuyvesant Town to stop at R&S Strauss on 14th & Ave. C, where we got some coolant, tested the battery, and worked on the other fluids. (We also took some time to go to Ess-A-Bagel and stock up. Mmmm...bagels.) After getting filled up and checked, the truck responded much better, and behaved very well for the remainder of the trip.

(See, 2009 is looking better already!)

We parked the truck, took the subway to Toys R Us as we had promised Alex, and then got back on the train to return to Stuy Town and head home. We left just as the sun was setting in New York and everyone waved goodbye to the city as we entered the Holland Tunnel.

Fortunately, on this trip and since we've returned, there have been no further coolant problems. Again, 2009 is already looking better!)

After one long stop on the way in the beautiful Molly Pitcher rest stop in Cranbury, NJ, for a beautifully candlelit dinner of Nathan's, we settled for the night in Maryland after paying three or four tolls within 20 miles.

(Dear Delaware: You still suck, too.)

We were all tired, and we decided to pull off a little early that night instead of gunning it all the way to Washington as I had hoped to do.

Time to sleep - even if I don't remember where the hell it was.

January 2

The plan was to sleep until about 8 or 9, have some breakfast, then get all ready and pretty to meet up with Cranky in DC for some Dim Sum.

So, when we rolled over and saw the clock say 11:15, we decided to start moving pretty quickly. All four of us crashed, hard, and slept through an alarm clock, a wakeup call, and the alarms on both of our phones. I guess we were pretty damn tired.

We got in the truck a few minutes after 12, and burned it into DC, getting there around 1:30. No Dim Sum, but we did still have Chinese which everyone (including the kids) ate up heartily. We drove through downtown DC and snapped a few pictures of the monuments as well as the inauguration setup, and left town slightly after 4.

Just before Richmond, I finally had to concede the wheel when I started to doze off. So, after slightly more than 2000 miles, I let someone else drive for a little while, which Kim did, until dinnertime in South Hill, VA.

After a long stop accompanied by two children bouncing off walls, we decided we were going to gun for home. While we could stop along the way for one more night in a hotel, I just wanted to GET. HOME. NOW!!!! even though it was already 9 PM.

Everyone else agreed. The roads did not. Outside of Raleigh, we hit thick fog which limited us to a quarter-mile visibility THE ENTIRE WAY HOME.

Thankfully, since I've done this drive enough times along I-85 to be able to do it almost with my eyes closed, I was able to keep gunning through.

Sammie fell asleep around 10 PM.

Kim followed soon after.

Alex stayed up until midnight, at which point I made one more gas stop, got him a little dessert snack, and tucked him into his seat, after which he fell asleep.

We arrived home at 3:52 AM, Saturday morning. Everything at the house was OK. Even the goldfish were fine - slightly pale, but fed and mostly OK.

And after 2,701 miles, eight tanks of gas, twelve days, and fourteen states, we are back home. Fortunately, everyone had the good sense to sleep a little later on the 3rd.

Of course, not too much time to rest - back to work on the 5th, with two classes in the evening. Nothing like a 15-hour day to welcome you back!

As for life in 2009, let's just hope it doesn't resemble 2008 in very many ways. 2008 felt like it was about five years long by itself, but it's over and done with.

Thank God.

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