Jun. 29th, 2009

ericcheung: (Default)
(or for the LJ version of this post: My turn to tell the tale)

I think I've just been the furthest inland in North America I've ever been.

It started on Friday night, a trip Andy, Jessie, MB and I had been planning for weeks: MB and Jessie's high school friend, Heather's baby shower.  The plan evolved from a night-long driving relay between Andy and me to Huntingdon, PA (just this side of Pittsburgh) to a more sensible break at a hotel in Pittston (near Scranton).  The earlier iteration of the plan was scrapped when the three others realized how I get weird--even for me--when I get tired.  That kind of high could be dangerous behind the wheel--or if I'm a passenger that thinks the wheel is now some kind of teddy bear or something.

In the week prior to the trip I had tried to conserve energy to little profit by sleeping as much as possible.  On Friday I just drank as much caffeine and vitamins at lunch as possible and showered to wake up when I got home.  We ordered some Pinky's Pizza and ate with Jessie and Andy before leaving to the classic Boston road trip song "Roadrunner" by the Modern Lovers.

As would be the trend for the weekend I would drive through the worst of the weather, but it was quite a luxury to have Andy's GPS, whom he named Jane after the voice he chose.  We would play a game where we'd try to get the ETA to tick down by making up as much time as possible.  I had clocked us at an estimated arrival time at the Knight's Inn of about 12:50AM before we stopped at a McDonald's to stretch and snack.

To keep me awake, MB played me some Beatles CDs so that I could drive and sing.

The motel was decent for the price, except for the smell of BO that permeated the air (I'm usually turned off by the excessive disinfectant smell in most roadside motels, but at least that is presumably sanitary).

The next morning I beat my alarm by waking up around 7:00 and decided to see what the continental breakfast consisted of here.  It was a box of twelve doughnuts for the whole hotel, some regular and decaf coffee, and a fountain with apple and orange juice.  I grabbed some fliers and newspapers on the off chance we'd want to explore Scranton before heading to the shower or on the way back the next day and returned to the room just in time for everyone else to wake up.

We settled on a place about two doors down for real breakfast, it was a Perkins, which is apparently Pennsylvia's answer to Bickford's. 

Omelettes for everyone.

We made a few stops on the way for gas and food and to donate some bodily fluids to the local sewage systems, including a stop at a Pizza Hut/KFC.  It had been years since I've even been inside a sit-down Pizza Hut.  I remember going to the one on Boston Road as a kid with pitchers of neon Mountain Dew and pan pizza.  Here we got some pizza rolls to justify using their bathrooms.  It didn't occur to us until later that they might have meat in them so MB didn't have any and I ate three out of four, including one that had been baking on the dashboard (There are starving kids in China).

The shower was pretty nice.  I had only been to one other baby shower, it was for a doctor co-worker of mine at UCLA.  He had been subject to some games that were at once embarrassing, gross, and touching in their thoughtfulness.  I have now witnessed what it's like to change a diaper when the contents are foul peanut butter. 

This one was different though.  It was in a friend of Heather's house and there was a pool and barbecue food and people of all ages.  The only people around our age though were Heather and her husband Sean.  Andy and I managed to have fun instigating a water war with some little children though.  Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges.

We drove to Heather's house paralyzed with laughter from tasteless jokes, though sadly none were inspired by the West Hempfield Middle School visible from their house.  It was here that I realized my long-dormant fear of dogs.  I didn't grow up with pets and my neighbor's dog backed me into a corner at a young age.  Having staked out our rooms for the night, and with the Siberian Huskies now a calm mass of resting fluff on the floor, the six of us sat on opposite couches exchanging hilarious stories of our wacky adventures, while I tried to help Andy with some Sudokus on his computer.

The next morning we chatted some more over some eggs, bacon, and toast while we plotted the trip back.  MB and I were interested in stopping in a city at some point in the day to walk around and say we were somewhere (of course with four people blogging about the same thing, surely someone will believe us?).  We, however, realized the daunting task ahead of us as we planned a trip that had taken us two days to get there to be done in one.

Andy and I would switch off more frequently than the past two days and we'd play our game of watching the ETA tick downward, even as we made several stops.  The total stopping time was about two hours, we only lost one.

The route we took home was Interstate 76, not the video game from the 90s, through New Jersey, to New York, where we were dangerously low on gas and made a wrong turn to the gas station, and north on Interstates 95 and 91 to the Mass Pike, back onto 95 and Route 2.  We ate at a Chinese/American buffet and I thought that Jane would want us to take 91 up to Springfield, bringing me close to my folks home, but it wasn't to be.  It was probably an expensive set of tolls (Andy's car has EZ Pass, so we'll figure it out later), but it was worth the saved time through Pennsylvania's perpetual construction, despite one last traffic jam on the Mass Pike.

We had traveled five states in about 51 hours.  It was quite an adventure, and quite a feat, but it would have been nice to have another two days so that we could actually walk around some cities along the way.

Perhaps we will the next time someone has a baby.

September 2012

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