Slowly but surely was the motto for the trip up to Maine this year. Considering that I finished up work in the ENC office on June 5th, and don’t need to leave for LA until the 19th, I decided it made sense to take our time and see some folks on the way up.
The first day was a nice ease in to the traveling lifestyle, with only a 2 hour drive to Gaston for the first ever KIPP Pride High graduation (or commencement as the students called it). Needless to say this was pretty amazing, and I’m confident I don’t have the words to explain how incredible it was. However, there was a nice NY Times article printed the day of graduation that says everything. Check it out here.
RV RESORT AT CAROLINA CROSSROADS: 3
That night rather than drive back to Durham, we saved ourselves the extra time and pitched a tent in the RV Resort at Carolina Crossroads in Roanoke Rapids. Pretty nice for RVs, with electrical hook ups, gazebos for eating, and some pretty nice restrooms. However in terms of camping, it wasn’t spectacular. There were very little trees, so you could potentially be pitching a tent next to a giant RV (shouldn’t be surprised by that I suppose, considering the name of the place). I was also shocked by the price of $30- I suppose I’m used to camping at state parks where they’re never more than $10. So, in terms of a night of camping I rate it a 3. However, they did have free Wifi. I know, I know. You should never have free wifi when camping, but if you’re already ‘camping’ at an RV resort, it’s an added bonus 🙂
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY VISIT
For whatever reason I slept crappy and we ended up getting up at 5:30 the next morning. This put us on the road by 6:30 which turned out to be great. My sister was expecting us early afternoon, and leaving that early we would definitely be early. So I finally got a chance to show off American University (clearly my favorite college in the country), and explore the many changes since graduation. I also lucked out and ran into a former resident and a friend I used to serve with at Chef Geoff’s.
Overall campus looks the same, with the usual beautiful flowers and greenery. Couple big changes. Mary Graydon Center has been completely redone and I was blown away. I rate the changes an 8. It looks very modern, and beautiful, but I miss the rattly old couches. I just can’t picture lounging around on the new ones the way we used to do on the old ones. Plus, -1 for the floors in the Tavern. I always did love the hard wood ones. For those who haven’t been to campus recently…
RUNNING OUT OF GAS IN BALTIMORE: 1
After leaving AU we were headed to Philly. While we were on pace to arrive exactly on time, a bit of trouble reading the gas meter put us off pace yet again. Turns out there are very few gas stations off the highways in Baltimore… or at least we couldn’t seem to find them. Right as we were getting super low we sputtered through a toll where the attendant informed us there was gas right off the next exit. We pulled off and see pumps to the right… THANK GOD! As we roll into the parking lot it becomes clear they’re only diesel fuel. SERIOUSLY!? I’m not sure I’ve been to a gas station in my entire life with only diesel fuel, yet here we sat. We then ran straight through a red light trying to get across the street where we figured the actual gas station would be (seriously people, stopping at a red light would have put us dead in the middle of the road). No gas station to be found. We finally died for good but managed to pull into a parking spot. I then took the pups and walked along a highway to the closest gas station. Where they didn’t have any gas cans. SERIOUSLY!?!?! What’s wrong with this city of Baltimore? Luckily we brought our bikes, so Brian bikes back to the diesel station who proves to be good for something. We fill it up and he bikes back to fill up the car and pick me and the dogs up. Unfortunately the can cost $12 and we literally had no room for it in the car. Plus we were pretty convinced if we put it in the back the dogs would be high by the time we arrived in Philly. Overall I’d rate the experience a 1. It’s always nice to get some exercise on a road trip 🙂
With the visit to Philly came many good things: seeing the twin, Jill and Jenny, a tour of the city, and guitar hero. When we first arrived we headed out to play some doubles with Cheryl and Andy, and then went back to the apartment to get ready for dinner. I was so excited to see Jenny and Jilly, neither of which I’ve seen in about a year and a half, and perhaps even more excited that Jill is finally back from Paraguay for good 🙂 It’s always nice to have good friends a cell phone call away. We enjoyed some good food, good company (I finally got to meet Jenny’s fiancee, and he was as perfect for her as I imagined he would be.) and it was super nice to sit outside after being in a car all day. We wrapped the night up some guitar hero back at my sister’s place, and I’ve got to tell you I’m a big fan. -1 for not getting to easily choose your songs (like you can in Dance Dance Revolution, my all time favorite game), and -1 for the drums being so much more difficult than guitar. Than no one wants to do them and it’s not as easy to put together a band. Overall I’d rate it an 8, keeping in mind this is from my limited experience and only one night playing.
FLAT TIRE ON THE MASS PIKE: 5
The next morning we headed out after the short visit, leaving for Laconia where we’d spend the night visiting my grandparents. All was good, and again we appeared to be on schedule, until we hit some traffic on the Mass Pike. Some kind of construction put us moving about 10mph. While at first a bit frustrating, turned out to be a great thing as we quickly got a flat. Because of the slow moving traffic I could put my window down and look out at the tire. At the same time about 3 other drivers near me all started pointing to it as well. We were in the left lane with an almost non-existent shoulder. AWESOME. Again luckily, we were right at the spot where cones started moving into the left lane to force traffic to merge over. So we just pulled over and moved some cones behind the car. Tied the dogs up on the side of the road, and Brian got to work on the tire. Apparently many cars let the cops up further know, and we had two come back to see if we needed any help. One stuck with us, and even stopped traffic when it was time to merge back on. There was also a car that pulled over with a window down and offered us some water for the dogs. While ultimately it cost $630 and about 3 hours, it was nice to see how great people can be, and I learned an important lesson about replacing tires before your car hits 65,000 miles.
We finally made it to Laconia in time to cook dinner for my grandparents, watch some Bachelorette, and hit the sack in time to get enough rest for the next day’s drive to Freeport. Highlight of the visit: my grammy patting her lap and calling for Murphy, and then watching him sprint across the living room and launch himself onto her lap. 5 times.