Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day One of Driving: 1020 Miles

I'm currently at a hotel in... well, almost-Georgia.  21 miles from Georgia, to be exact.  Yes, I could've kept going last night, but after driving from a bit before 5am until 7:30pm I decided that I'd be better off stopping. 

I was in bed fairly early on Monday night but I stayed up a little later than I should've watching Family Guy.  Because yeah, I haven't watched that show enough.  Anyway, the day before I had set my alarm for 4:40 to go swim and decided to just leave that as my wake-up time to start driving.  As is my usual tendency, I rolled over at 4:33 after having been awake for a bit and got up.  Basically I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and was on the road just before 5. 

Last year I left the day after a blizzard and the roads were fine but there was lots of snow to watch disappear as I moved south.  This time I felt like I could've been driving in April.  It's just been so incredibly quiet around here.  I was certainly tired as I drove in the dark, and at one point I zoned out enough to not get on the Mass Pike off 495.  Fortunately I realized my mistake almost immediately, and was able to turn around at the next exit a few miles down the road and fix that problem quickly!  Like I needed to be adding time on a day like that. 

I had a GPS to tell me where to go.  It's mostly not that important but I am always interested to see which way it chooses to take me through/around New York City.  I feel like it chose a route that nobody would ever pick on purpose, though, and it was not the route it had me come back on last year.  I took 84 to 91 to 95 where of course I hit commuter traffic heading into NYC from Connecticut.  That was a little annoying, but overall I don't think I lost more than 20-30 minutes. 

After that, it was pretty painless.  The Jersey Turnpike was pretty quiet though very unattractive as it seems every inch of it is under construction so the sides are just lined with seas of dirt and sand.  Same in and around Washington, DC, lots of construction.  There was some more traffic there but not really enough to slow things down.  Once I got into Virginia it was all pretty simple.  Stay on 95 and just keep going, set the cruise control, enjoy the 70mph speed limits and drive and drive and drive. 

As is my usual plan, I only stopped when I needed gas so I could fill up, use the bathroom and get drink and/or food.  I had some protein bars in the car for when I got hungry and in case my gas stops didn't involve food that was desirable.  And by desirable I don't mean candy and chips, because of course those you can get anywhere.  And honestly I didn't buy any food and just survived on the bars because I just didn't feel like anything that was available and I wasn't going to waste time seeking stuff out.  So I only purchased Diet Pepsi, my caffeine of choice since I don't drink coffee, and was on my way. 

Last year my stopping only for gas plan involved fairly frequent stops since I could only make it roughly 240 miles on a tank of gas in the Xterra.  Well, my hugely efficient little Honda takes me at least 350 miles, so stops were a lot less frequent!  In fact, I only had to stop twice in all of that time.  Once when I was almost out of New Jersey, and I kind of wanted to get out so I could fill my own tank but then enjoyed the fact that someone did it for me.  And then I stopped again in North Carolina.  And just to further show you how much better the mileage is, the Xterra held 18 gallons of gas and the Honda holds 10. 

Not much else to say as it was mostly mindless driving as the time just kept on passing.  I had set an initial goal of making it to Florence, SC, just because when you look at a map it is written in big letters so must be fairly civilized, right?  But it was too early to stop, so I drove another 130 miles or so.  Basically so I could cross the 1000 mile mark.  I'd say around sunset I started hitting that feeling like I could just pull over and fall asleep, but fortunately it passed.  And at about 7:30 I arrived at my stop for the night.  I think I'm in Ridgeland, SC.  But honestly I don't know.

I know it sounds crazy to drive that far in one day, but the truth of the matter is that yesterday's efforts mean that today I only have four more hours or so to go.  I mean, instead of getting up before dawn to go and drive a bunch more I actually shouldn't leave before about 10:00 or I won't even be able to check into my hotel in Clermont for camp because I'll be there too early.  So I am quite happy with that! 

All right, but now I have to enjoy just a little bit longer being lazy before hitting the road once again.

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