Sunday, September 2, 2012

Andie's Big Adventure: Road Trip Leg One

And so it began. The ultimate road trip for andie's Big Adventure. And Pootie's. And Dinky's. We packed our belongings, including a few long-sleeved shirts and pants and shoes besides flip-flops.

Pretty much everything we own.
We told Dinky he got to go.

The excitement wouldn't last.
Unfortunately, leaving the house is not our strong suit. By the time we finally managed to peel ourselves from our little home, it was 10:20. Pootie didn't want to get fuel for the car the night before, so we had to run to Costco to get gas before we left. While we were there, I realized I'd left Dinky's bowls at home. I got in BIG trouble for that. But back home we scooted. I was really glad I wasn't riding in the car with my husband. By the time we left town, it was almost 11:00 AM. Not a great start for our road trip.

About the route we took - Pootie is probably going to be annoyed with me for saying this, but when we were originally planning the trip, I suggested that we shift our route West for a while to avoid I 95. Granted, the map Google spit out was kind of convoluted, with a bunch of turns and treks through downtown Raleigh, but if we'd worked at it, I think we could have come up with something. He decided not taking I-95 would just add time to the trip.

I'll pause here to let you all finish laughing.

I think it goes without saying that traffic was perfectly horrendous. And that was with us leaving on a Sunday. Now some of you are probably saying, "Andie! Don't complain! Look at it as an adventure! It's so cool to just be going!"

And I say obviously you have not been stuck on I-95 near DC with a frantic lurching bison in your back seat.

Dinky did fine as long as the car was moving at a steady clip. But anytime he heard the blinker or we slowed down (or stopped, in the case of the highway around DC), he would stand up, pant, pace back and forth, give me helpful instructions and try to help me drive. And we all know how annoying a back seat driver is.

Speaking of annoying, here's one of many rest stops we had to make (mostly because of me).

I promised Elise pictures of all the rest stops along the way. (Holla!) Here's something interesting I discovered during the trip: There are fewer and fewer rest areas the farther North you go. Apparently, Northerners don't have to make pit stops as often as Southerners. Maybe because we drink more water. I don't know. But Rest Areas - the kind that are just rest rooms, water fountains, pretty green space for dog-walking and picnicing, and vending machines - are few and far between North of the Mason-Dixon line. And once you get up around Jersey, they start becoming "Service Areas". This really weird, crowded, completely paved business circus of gasoline, huge truck-stop type buildings with a McDonald's and an ATM and all kinds of stuff. It really discombobulated me. It was kind of nerve-jarring. So many people. So much concrete. But I digress. For this entry, we're still headed toward Hagerstown, MD for our first night.

Here's us, stopped for lunch. I was driving the truck with the dog. We didn't want to just leave him all alone in there, so Pootie would go in and grab our lunch, then we'd sit in the truck with Dinky and eat.

Thanks for sitting in the back seat with me! You gonna eat all those fries?
Here's the view from lunch in Maryland.

To be fair, Maryland was actually a very pretty part of the drive. Rolling hills, green pastures, nice wooded areas...bucolic. Our first night was in Hagerstown, MD. I did win that routing battle. Neither of us wanted to get on the road around Baltimore on a Monday morning.

We checked in at the Sleep Inn, which was a little the worse for wear, but OK. Beggars can't be choosers when you're traveling with a dog Dinky's size. It's harder to find hotels in the Southern regions that take dogs that big.

Because of the delay on the road from traffic, we didn't get in to Hagerstown until 7:30 PM. Between the stress of starting the journey, leaving home, and dealing with traffic, we were all wrung out. And starving. We dumped our stuff in the hotel room, including Dinky, and started to leave for dinner. Dinky was having none of that. The door hadn't been closed three seconds before a pitiful shrieking bark was heard. One more of those and we were back in the hotel room, pacing and trying to figure out what to do. Finally, we decided to just take him to dinner with us and leave him in the truck while we ate. We didn't want to disturb other guests at the hotel, and we didn't want to traumatize Dinky. So off he went. And stayed in the back seat. We asked for a table by the window so we could watch him and make sure he didn't freak out. He did fine. I can't say the same for me.

Me, through all of dinner.
We finished up and headed back to the hotel for a well-earned night of rest.  Pretty amazing how comfortable a B-level hotel room can feel when you're wiped out.

These are not my feet.
So ended our first day on the road. One day of driving down, six and a half to go.