Sometimes when I drive cross country, it seems certain states become cursed–at least for that particular journey. When I drove east across Wyoming in 1998, it seemed everything went wrong in the home state of one of our nation’s greatest Vice Presidents. And I was grateful to cross the line into Nebraska.
On this trip, it seemed there was a jinx (at least for me) on the freeways in the Tarheel State. In Raleigh, Mapquest told me to get onto I-440 South, only when I reached the appropriate interchange, there was no 440 South, only East or West, yet each of those directions had been newly painted onto the signs. I headed in the wrong direction and ended up exiting the freeway at an interchange that did not allow me to back on in the opposite direction.
Yesterday, a misty rain made driving difficult as well as straight male rubberneckers checking out an attractive young woman who had drive her car off the road and into a ditch in the median. And while my co-blogger gave me perfect directions to his home, save for transposing the digits in the address in one (of two) texts identifying the location of his residence, the North Carolina Department of Transportation did not see fit to identify that the exit for North 485.
And this morning, I ended up heading in the wrong direction on that very freeway (this time possibly due to my own error) on my way to meet PatriotMom for breakfast.
Now while the Tarheel State may have been jinxed freeway-wise, it was anything but disappointing people wise. In Raleigh, I had the chance to eat amazing barbecue with a promising young lieutenant in the United States Air Force (my oldest nephew) and reminisce about my College Republican days with an old friend and his new boyfriend.
I met an engaging and interesting left-of-center blogger for an early lunch yesterday and caught up with a close friend from college (also left of center) whom I hadn’t seen since the last days of the Reagan Administration. And I got to meet the PatriotPups who were, well, quite eager to meet their Pop’s co-blogger (about whom they’ve surely heard so much so were understandably excited). Saxby is bigger than I expected, Marly more affectionate, though often aggressively so and Shadow the most docile of the three (but that’s kind of like saying that someone is the most conservative member of the Obama Administration).
Bruce has a beautiful home, though I’m concerned about the haunted mansion down the street. Were he to move that house to a street in my neighborhood, it would fetch something north of 7 figures–and the second digit would be approximately equal to the number of Republican U.S. Senators from New England.
Charlotte was perhaps the most intense of my stops on this trip, with that visit to Bruce, the college friend, breakfast with PatriotMom and a coffee with my best friend from kindergarten whom I hadn’t seen since we were in Third Grade (when he had moved to another neighborhood and transfered to another school). This time, however, we did not pilfer items from my brother’s chemistry set with which to experiment in the woods behind my home.
That meeting was pretty amazing and very intense.
Perhaps because of the intensity of all my encounters, I pretty much preferred silence as I drove from Charlotte to Atlanta. And it seemed that traffic improved once I crossed into the Palmetto State. But, maybe that was just because I had assumed its northern neighbor had had jinxed freeways.
Then again, I made great time across South Carolina and into Georgia, with a friendly (Northern transplant) convenience store clerk at my one stop in the former state and a near empty gas station at my one stop (before my daily destination) in the latter.