Almost on a whim I decided to make the drive from St. Augustine, Florida to Rochester, New York. It would give me an opportunity to give get into some of my passions: driving and photography.
Initially, I thought I would leave Florida around 3:00am on Wednesday and drive straight through, but I thought better of that. I decided to leave by noon Wednesday and split the drive into two days.
That was the plan, anyway.
I hit the road around 11:30am and headed north. About two hours north of Charlotte, North Carolina I started to hit a wall. I found myself wishing I could just doze off. This may have been because I was being lulled into unconsciousness by the traffic around Charlotte. It was horrible and easily added a half hour to the drive. After getting past the city I started to feel pretty good, and elected to keep driving. After about another three hours I was starting to fade. Fast. The problem was that all I wanted was one of those uber-cheap roadside hotels but found none.
I kept driving.
At around 10:30pm I pulled over and bout a bag of pretzels and a(nother) cup of coffee. I was feeling good. I was feeling really good. I looked at the clock and concluded that, if I drove straight through, I'd be getting to Mike's house around 6:00am. I figured I'd stop for breakfast and bang on their front door around7:00am.
However, "best laid plans" and all that, around 12:30pm, as I was screaming through West Virginia, it happened. I hit the rumble strip on the side of the highway and I never saw it coming. I had to stop. So, I found a rest area in the town of Bridgeport (which, oddly, has neither a port nor a bridge), laid the seat back, set my alarm and closed my eyes.
2:00am showed up a lot sooner than I thought it would, but I knew I had to get back on the road. So, I found a 24-hour McDonald's drive-thru, got some coffee and hit the highway. After only another hour and a half, and after passing into Pennsylvania, I started fading again. Apparently, 90 minutes of sleep wasn't enough. I found a truck stop, once again laid the seat back and slept for almost three hours.
It was daylight when I woke and, after getting yet another cup of coffee and stretching my legs, I got back on the road. Don't get me wrong: I definitely could've slept more. I had someplace to be, though. It was around 11:00am that I pulled into Mike & Tamara's driveway, happy to have the first 1,190 miles of this trip behind me.
The last time I made this drive I was in my dearly departed Explorer. It only got 17mpg, though, which equates to about 70 gallons of gasoline, which equates to about $158 in gas. The Altima, though, got an impressive 38,pg, which means gas only set me back about $73 for the drive. This is exactly why I bought this car. Smooth and comfortable is clearly the way to go.
So, why am I here in the first place? Well, my buddy Mike (I've known him since we were five years old) is in two bands. The one, Junkyard Fieldtrip, is having their CD release party this weekend. I'm doing my best not to be partial when I say these guys are outstanding. You should definitely buy their CD which, I believe, is available on Amazon:
|(Photos courtesy of Junkyard Fieldtrip)|
Mike is also in the band Gary Lewis & The Playboys. Well, Gary Lewis is going to be inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, held at the ridiculously ornate Eastman Theater (at the Eastman School of Music). I've been given tentative permission to shoot the event, so here I is! Mike will be performing with the group at the ceremony.
All of this is nice, of course, but the best part for me is getting to hit the road for a while and see some dear friends.
Anything else is a bonus...
Anything else is a bonus...