So, we got back on Saturday, driving through the remnants of Hanna, completing our journey of 7641 miles.
At one point on day 4 (day 2 of driving), we were in Nebraska (me having said we just got 2000 miles into the trip and seeing birds above and V saying “And here come the scavenger birds”) and we were trying to decide if we had just passed the same car for a second time, and we realized: We’re in a green Civic with a badly dented bumper, an Ernie bumper sticker, an Obama bumper sticker and Red Sox license plates. We’re the ones that people are pointing at and saying, “I know they passed us before.”
Well, we were gone fifteen and a half days. We left very early on the 22nd of August (3:45 AM) because we were determined to make it the 1178 miles to Winchester, WI in one day (and we did).
In the time we were gone we went through 19 states, covering the majority of I-80 headed west and I-70, headed east. I have now driven over 43% of the 41,000+ miles of the Eisenhower Interstate System and I must say: the most boring, ugliest, stretch of land in the country and the most beautiful, wondrous area are in the same state: Utah. There’ll be more in depth on the trip itself after the jump.
22 August (1178 miles) – We leave at 3:45 AM and get to Veronica’s dad’s at 11:00 PM. A drive we’ve done before.
23 August / 24 August – Time spent with V’s parents (separately), including going to NEW Zoo outside Green Bay and Riverside Park (in Neenah).
25 August (1192 miles) – most miles I’ve ever covered in one day – unbelievably boring – some 700 miles of corn fields through Iowa and Nebraska
26 August (1062 miles) – the worst stretch of land in the country (the Utah Salt Flats), before agonizing hours getting through Nevada and finally getting to familiar roads (the Bay Area) and getting to my brother’s house
27 August – the off day before Veronica’s conference, we gather the family and head up to Pixar to get a tour from my friend Jay – he is fantastic as a tour guide and very generous.
28 August – Day 1 of Veronica’s conference, where she spends the day in San Francisco, unfortunately missing Obama’s acceptance speech
29 August – Day 2 of the conference – Thomas and I go with Veronica to SF to have lunch and kill time on an incredibly hot day.
30 August (@450 miles) – Final day of the conference. I take V and Thomas down Lombard St before crossing the Bay and heading south at high speeds because Central Valley is quite boring. We have dinner with my other brother before getting to my mom’s house.
31 August – Veronica keeps Thomas from destroying my Mom’s stuff as I help her go through her new house and all the stuff she pulled out of storage.
1 September – Pretty much the same thing as the previous day.
2 September – We pop up to Villa Park to visit my high school English teacher, Carol Mooney.
3 September (@815 miles) – To avoid Gustav and 2 million displaced New Orleans residents, we head north on I-15 and east on I-70, instead of our original plan to head back through the south and visit D.C. We discover that going east is harder, because you lose an hour and drive away from the light. And we discover that I-70 in eastern Utah is as beautiful and amazing as I-80 in western Utah is boring and hideous.
4 September (@860 miles) – We drive from Grand Junction to Kansas City and agree that Kansas, no matter what anyone says, is not nearly as boring as Nebraska. And the McDonald’s in Hays, Kansas is amazing – a fireplace, an old fashioned telephone, a great playland, and a huge display case of years and years of Disney Happy Meal toys. Very nice, and it gave Thomas a chance to stretch his legs.
5 September (@750 miles) – We stop early outside of Mansfield, OH so Thomas can go swimming and manage to find a Comfort Inn with an indoor water park. Great fun. We also go through Terra Haute when Obama is in Scranton and realize the next day we will be in Scranton and he will be in Terra Haute.
6 September (@750 miles) – We leave early to get home before dark. The most tense 40 minutes of the trip are going down the hills coming out of Scranton in pouring rain (Hanna) with psychos driving way too fast through construction without headlights (against the law in Pennsylvania). But with only one stop for gas, we make it to the Pike, get gas, get me lobster from D’Angelos, and make it home so that I can watch football the next day and we can recover (which involves Thomas relieving his constipation from the four days in the car by going through diaper after diaper and me watching Tom Brady have his season end halfway through the first quarter). Damn, it’s good to be back.