I almost didn’t want to write about the end of our trip because that means it’s over. Yeah, I know how dumb that sounds since it’s obviously over. I just don’t do well with endings. Summer ended (for us) a week ago and school activities have ramped up, so I figure I’ll hang on just a little longer while sharing the last two days of our trip…as we were homeward bound.
We woke up one final morning in Connecticut to that crazy early 5am sunrise (I won’t miss that part). Everyone was sad to say goodbye, as the adults enjoyed renewed time together and all the kids enjoyed getting to really know one another. Deejay and the kids mentioned what we could do “next time” we visited, while the Galloways all pondered the thought that we weren’t sure we’d ever make it that way again. If we do, there are more sites to see and more Just Dance to play. 🙂
We traveled through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. We payed lots more in tolls and listened to a wide variety of tunes (Prodigy, Phish, the Transformers soundtrack, Guster, Honors orchestra, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Wreck-it Ralph soundtrack, Allstate high school chorus, and the Nightmare before Christmas soundtrack). Alexander spotted nuclear power plants, Brandon spotted soybeans, and I finally spotted corn. (The plants were tiny though—we were apparently north enough for late harvest seasons.) Elizabeth commented how funny it was that one “piece of land” was shared by Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia…made me think about the Michigan U.P.
We finally approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and the highest toll yet. However, this $15 toll was well worth the view (far better than the industrial views in Jersey for a lovely $12 toll). For 18 miles, we traveled along an isolated corridor of bridges and tunnels. There were two mile-long tunnels, going as deep as 75 feet below the water’s surface. The bridges were so long that they didn’t even seem like bridges as you skimmed above the water. Besides the road, there was nothing in site besides a few passing cars, a lone cargo ship, a picturesque sail boat, and the setting sun. We rode along in near total silence, just soaking up the amazing wonder of it all.
It was hard to reenter reality after that, but soon found our hotel for the night and wandered out for one more delicious seafood meal. The last overnight stay was probably my favorite. This hotel room was a little more spacious, yet we were all still together. Long after crawling into bed, we were all talking about the day and giggling over shadow puppets on the wall.
The last day was celebrated with one last round of hotel waffles and one last effort at packing the car. I suddenly realized that while we had lots of pictures from the trip, we didn’t have a single picture all together. Lizzy came to our rescue and took a good group selfie!
We drove through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia…of course with lots of music (the Connells, the Cure, more Metallica, Jack Johnson, Delirium, and more Phish). We drove past a giant beach chair in Virginia and wondered about an 1800s cemetery in the medium of I-85. Our final meal stop was at the Beacon in South Carolina. We made the mistake of ordering things “aplenty” (with onion rings and fries)…needless to say, leftovers aplenty went home with us!
It really was a wonderful trip. Of course there was tons we didn’t do and see, but that’s life. We all felt like we experienced a lot of our country without being overly scheduled. We made the most of technology (Waze, Gas Buddy, Trip Advisor, Roadside America, and Guess-It), and we made the most of time together. Thom blessed me with the gift of driving, as I got to just enjoy the view much of the trip. I don’t think we’ll ever forget the big things—monuments and our country’s history. I know we won’t forget the little things—silly jokes, crazy selfies, whispers in the night, and even the silence of awe. If you haven’t gotten out and experienced our world in some way, I urge you to do so. Take your spouse, your kids, your dog, or just yourself and experience this amazing world. Whether you experience something new in your community or something cool in a different country, it will change you (for the better) if you let it.