Our Excellent Roadtrip (Part One: The Drive North)

I know you’ve been dying to hear all about our roadtrip to Vermont. (Haven’t you? Wait, don’t answer that.) Here are the high points.

We were in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, where I attended my cousin Nikki’s wedding. Saturday evening, friends rolled through town to offload our Middle Son, who had been with them on Cape Cod during the previous week. Sunday morning, our family reunited, we piled in the Suburban and set off to head north.

The best way to get to Vermont from Pennsylvania is to take Interstate 81 north, through and beyond beautiful Scranton, PA. Unless, of course, you are averse to scenes like this one:

If it's summer, it must be road construction season in PA.
If it's summer, it must be road construction season in PA.

We bravely got through three separate delays and only had to stop once. On the contrary, and quite happily, we made great time through New York, stopping somewhere off of Interstate 88 at a Wal-Mart because Middle Son had LEFT BOTH PAIRS OF SHOES in our friends’ car, a detail he did not confess until we were well on our way. So, we figured, where better to buy finer footwear than Wal-Mart:

Middle Son checking out Wal-Mart's Wal-o-Shoes
Middle Son checking out Wal-Mart's Wal-o-plastic-shoes

He chose a pair of sneakers, then tried them on for size:

If they weren't tied together, I could tell how they fit better
If they weren't tied together, I could tell how they fit

Meanwhile, Curt, who is generally anti-Wal-Mart, made an amazing, possibly life-changing discovery:

This is not the case in Maryland, or Pennsylvania. Curt selected a little something to enjoy at the end of our trip, and we took that, Middle Son’s shoes, and hit the road again.

We exited I-87 at Lake George, NY, that ticky-tacky tourist trap at the southern end of the lovely Adirondacks. From there, for maybe the next 40 miles of two-lane road, this was our view:

Rental RV we followed forEVER in New York and Vermont
Rental RV we followed forEVER in New York and Vermont

We shed a little tear (of joy) when we finally parted ways with the CruiseAmerica RV and descended upon my sister’s home, where we hung out until we reversed the roadtrip on Wednesday.

See how exciting this is??

COME BACK FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT, wherein I will share a little bit about our time in Middlebury and Burlington, Vermont.

Summer Whirlwind


We rolled in last night at around 6pm after 10 super-fun hours in the car. I like a roadtrip as much as the next gal, but damn if Pennsylvania isn’t like the biggest state EVER when you’re trying to get through it.

It was a fun five days. We attended my cousin’s wedding, and I was honored to be included in the ceremony as a reader. Then we headed north and inflicted our noise and hurricane-like destructive forces on my sister and her family in Vermont. I have much to share, both about the roadtrip itself as well as our time there. I took at least a skrillion photos, until my camera batteries died, and I need to upload & sort through them so that I can provide my loyal readers with visual reference points for my anecdotes. Just as soon as I find some new batteries to stick in the camera. And a couple of hours to dedicate to the project.

And by the way? What happened to summer, anyway? Oh yeah, that’s right – we spent lots of it running gasoline through our thirsty truck. In a nutshell, my summer went something like this:

Pennsylvania, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maryland.

(My apologies to the fine states of New York and Virginia, both of which we traveled through but did not sleep in.)

And this coming weekend? One more Pennsylvania run, to reunite with various & assorted family members, attend the dirt track races, and hang at my aunt and uncle’s new log cabin in the woods.

Thanks to the pleasers who dropped in to suggest new blogs for me to read. Also on my to-do list, and I do plan to do, too. Really, I do.

Bugs on my teeth: the birthday edition.

Yesterday, I celebrated my 29th birthday! For the 12th time. (Shut up.) Curt arranged for an overnight sitter for the boys (Thanks, Dave!) and we buggered off to a nearby hotel and enjoyed dinner, drinks, and in the morning, indulged in room service. All without being interrupted by a three-year-old or needy pets!

This morning, the fun continued as our good friend (and former neighbor) Jim rolled in on his Harley. It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have never ridden on a motorcycle. Growing up, my mom had me convinced that this was much too risky an activity for me to EVER engage in. Snowmobiles and quads were also on that list. As I was not much of a rule-breaker, I complied. Until now. Because, you know, I’m such a bad-ass now.

Jim — and Curt — decided that 41 years is much too old to be a Harley virgin. Corrective measures were immediately scheduled. As coincidence would have it, Jim and I share a birthday, so we planned a ride to mark the occasion.

What does a novice biker chick wear for her first-ever ride? Jeans, boots, and her Mommy Needs a Cocktail T-shirt, of course!

Ready to roll
Ready to roll
I donned goggles and a helmet, received “in case of emergency” instructions from my pilot (!!), and away we went.
We chewed up a bunch of miles on some of the most beautiful rural roads in north-central Maryland (Montgomery, Howard and Frederick Counties). Along the way, we of course had to stop in at Lu & Joe’s, a biker bar near Mt. Airy, MD. We each had a ceremonial beer… then we continued on our way.
138 miles later, I had learned a few things:
  • There is an official BIKER WAVE that you have to do whenever you pass someone on a REAL bike (not some sissy-ass little scooter). It’s quite the fraternity; I’d never noticed this before.
  • Sitting on the back of a bike, at least until you get comfortable, causes you to tense your leg and arm muscles. As if that would help in the event of some emergency.
  • It was really hard for me to not think about how completely effed up I would be in the unlikely event of an “emergency landing.”
  • The wind is very LOUD when you’re travelling at 65 mph on a bike.
  • I think I would make a better driver than a passenger. I have control issues. I say this while acknowledging that I had complete trust in Jim at all times.
  • Once I finally did settle into the groove, I found the experience to be very Zen. I became used to the rhythm and could anticipate what we were going to do. I have always loved a good road trip, so it stands to reason I would love me a good long motorcycle ride.
  • There is no one in the world I would rather have had take me on my first bike ride than Jim. He’s a special soul for many reasons, not the least of which is that he was involved in the final evacuation of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
I was exhausted when we finally returned home. I suspect this was due to a combination of tensing my muscles and being on alert and paying attention the entire time. I wasn’t prepared to just chillax like I can as a passenger in a car; I had to watch what was coming, anticipate whether we would be changing speeds suddenly, passing cars (!), or what. Still, this was one of the most fun things I’ve done – it was a definite step outside of my comfort zone.
Now I can cross “ride a Harley” off of my bucket list. What’s next? Suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments! (Just as long as they have nothing to do with bungee jumping or experimental aircraft, or deep-sea diving. GAH!)
And away we go!
And away we go!