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Queen of the Road

June 3, 2011

This could go one of two ways.

I’m exhausted, so it will either make no sense whatsoever, or it will be mildly amusing. Why am I exhausted, you ask? Because I spent the night driving down (up) I-95, from Virginia to New York. “Yes but why were you doing this?” You might ask. (No one asked this.) WELL, I was playing chauffeur to two (2) tapes. They weren’t very good company. Luckily, my coworker was. We shared the responsibilities for keeping each other awake, and navigating the perils of late-night radio in our rented Ford Focus (awww yeah).

These weren’t, like, magic tapes or anything. The word “tape” isn’t a codeword for treasure map. They just needed to get to an edit room by 7am. And, since our shoot ran way past the 10pm last-train-to-New-York departure time, we took to the road and rolled in at 4:30am.

I think I-95 is my soulmate, in some creepy capacity. Whenever I go anywhere, I always, ALWAYS end up on glorious I-95. Usually in the middle of the night, handling states like a total champ. I’m most proud of the way I trucked through the Carolinas in the middle of the night on the way to Florida, and again on the way back. Do you know what there is to do on that drive? Trees, trees, unsubtly parked cop car, trees, trees, SOUTH OF THE BORDER, trees, town name I recognize from some Pat Conroy novel, trees, cop, trees, …armadillo?
A: Hey, Sister! Look at this!
S: grumblesleepnoise leave me alone.
A: …Dad?
D: ssssnnnnoooorrrrrrreeee
A close runner up would probably be the time I drove from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts with one eye closed because one of my contacts had fallen out somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike. SOLDIER ON, CYCLOPS.

Despite various complications, roadtrips are the best, and I will never turn one down. Which, coincidentally, is how I got roped into this little midnight assignment. I have apparently racked up some inter-office nicknames, which include: “the little one,” “duct tape,” “the human shield,” and “the one who likes roadtrips.”

I got this particular nickname after sharing the story of the NO SLEEP TILL FLORIDA Tour, aka the Great ¾ Family Roadtrip. Last Christmas, Dad, Sister and I packed up Ethel, my sexy Dodge Intrepid, and drove to south Florida. We took shifts, refused to stop anywhere for longer than 10 minutes, made a mix CD for every state, and it was totally great. We did it again in reverse a few days after New Years. When I related this experience to my co-workers, they looked at me with the same mixture of skepticism and horror that my mother did when we proposed the idea to her. Mom ended up flying and meeting us down there. Someone missed out. (PS: hi, mom.)

Day driving – the kind that incorporates sunglasses and rolled down windows and races that only exist in your mind – is great. But there is a certain freedom that comes with late-night driving, and it starts in the planning phase. A totally mundane trip, say from your school in Massachusetts to your home in New York, takes on a whole new kind of exhilaration when you delay it for a few hours.

The answer to the question, “is it a bad idea to leave at 2am?” is no. It’s always a great idea to do that! No one is around! AND if you feel the need to accelerate to 100 miles per hour just to see if your Dodge Intrepid can handle it for 4 seconds, you totally can! Because it’s 2am on I-95! And any of the other drivers who would normally judge you for driving a Dodge Intrepid, or for monopolizing the middle lane, or for cranking your Embarrassing Roadtrip mix CD way up and screaming along to Journey can’t, because odds are they’re on their way to one of those strip joints advertised on roadside billboards – or at least they are in your mind. You are TIRED. You are HUNGRY. Rest stops are CREEPY yet NECESSARY, which automatically elevates a sketchy and unadvisable pitstop to an ADVENTURE. You don’t want to go in there, but this gas station will surely have coffee and yodels and will most likely be playing “Freebird.” Sold.

Future roadways I would like to conquer include Route 66 and the PCH. But maybe it’s best if I stick with what I know for a while – after all, there is so much of 1-95 I have not yet seen. Maine, I’m coming for you.

(Trees, trees, unsubtly parked cop car, trees, trees, trees, town name I recognize from some Stephen King novel, trees, cop, trees…lobster?)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Katie permalink
    June 3, 2011 7:00 pm

    I would like to go to Maine with you. Eat lobsters, frolic on a cold beach and continue to indulge in my newest obsession: Stephen King. He’s really awesome and/ or I have creepy taste.

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