Monday, February 15, 2010

A Road Trip Adventure

This weekend I had a little road trip adventure. I did a round trip drive to North Carolina to drop off Zach and Ricky’s girlfriends for their long-planned Valentine’s day weekend. I got a call from Delta Airlines at 5:45pm or so notifying me that their flights had been cancelled for early Friday morning and rescheduled for a very late flight on Saturday with 3 legs to the trip. As this shortened the weekend severely and would cost a fortune in lost deposits this was not a good solution. When I went online to find other flights it was bizarre because there were no flights to Atlanta to be found. The issue with the cancellations was that a big storm was coming through the south and Atlanta was shutting down in preparation. Without getting tickets on another airline there was no way to get a Delta flight to anywhere close to NC using a different hub.

So I made a snap decision to drive the girls down based on the money the boys would lose if the girls didn’t arrive, and the emotional factor of this long-awaited weekend that is exceedingly romantic for the young. We decided to make this a road trip at 7:00pm and by 10:00pm we were on the road. The girls had to rush their packing jobs because of the accelerated timeline of leaving. They did manage to limit their baggage to the 90lb per bag limit…good lord the amount of stuff girls can pack for a weekend.

I had decided on a route that took me down to Nashville and straight over to NC. I thought avoiding the route through West Virginia would be safe because of the storms in the Mid-Atlantic night have made WV hard to get through, so I chose this southern route. I should have checked to see that this route was 112 miles longer than the Indiana, Ohio, WV to NC route. Then we encountered a 75 mile detour around the Smoky mountains. So it took us 19.75 hours to get there and you could feel those last extra 2 hours too. It was a pretty uneventful drive and satellite XM radio was a big success for travelling. Kt was my co-pilot and she drove the nasty night hours and covered half the driving both ways. I couldn’t have done it without her.

We got there at 5:45pm Central time. I took the group to Flounder’s Steak and Seafood in New Bern, NC for dinner and we had a good dinner. After re-fueling and saying goodbyes after our quick 2 hour visit Kt and I hit the road at 8:00pm this time to take the shorter more northerly route. Just as we got in the car some snowflakes began to fall. It was so quaint that we had just driven 1288 miles from WI to the south and there was snow beginning to fall. It did start falling harder and I drove very very fast to get north of the storm. By the time I got to Raleigh it was starting to slush up on the roads. We saw several cars spinning out around us….some of them very very close to us. It would appear that North Carolinians do not have a great grasp of the power of slush lines and their ability to turn your car around. Although we were slowed down for quite a ways until we got in that skinny part of Virginia before the roads were clear, we also were able to go a good Wisconsin speed on the bad roads.

Kt took over driving just after Winston-Salem and drove the nice “rolling hills” all the way through northern NC, the Virginia Panhandle, and West Virgina up to Zainesville, OH. I slept very soundly. I finished up the last 7-8 hours and it was smooth sailing all the way home. We got back to WI on the short route at 2:15pm which was only 1100 miles in 18.25 hours including our 200 miles of slow snow going. I’m very thankful Kt came along as I definitely don’t have the same endurance for these kinds of excursions. Well I can handle one way but returning 2 hours later is the tough part. I really wanted to be back in WI a bit earlier on Saturday so I could’ve made Karen’s father and brother’s birthday party. However I did learn the best route now for future travels to North Carolina.

I would have to say that the western part of North Carolina is very beautiful. As we got to the flat lands leading up to New Bern it did get very white trashy and cliché southern stereotypish. I can see why Zach does not appreciate his surroundings as much as he might if he were out by Asheville or Winston-Salem.

That was my exciting road trip weekend. 40 hours of travel, 2400 miles, 4 happy kids, priceless.


Cheryl Louise Johnson said...

Yeah, Debra's flight through Atlanta to Puerto Rico on Saturday was cancelled because of that snowstorm! As a result, I got to take a taxi with doors that wouldn't open with a guy who didn't speak English or Spanish, to a privately owned condo we rented from people we didn't know, live on chips I bought at the airport because I was told by the condo owner not to go out walking beyond the locked gates alone (it was a nice place but not in a nice town), and wait it out until some undetermined time that Debra could actually get through. Fortunately, she got in Sunday afternoon with the car. As it turned out... it was a nice relaxing evening all by myself. :)

Atlanta Airport. Beyond priceless - avoid at all costs!

Cheryl Louise Johnson said...

and oh yeah, figured I didn't have to mention that you are just plain crazy - that goes without saying! Terry would do the same thing, though.