Well, I made it, (it took me a little longer than I expected, but I'm fine)
It was a fun trip, and I had lots of exciting things happen while I was on the road. As I cruised up into West Virginia, I pulled into the WV Welcome center and there was this Boy Scout Troop giving away hotdogs and drinks (sweet tea, tea, coffee, kool-aide, lemonade) so I stopped and chatted with some of the people and found out that it was a fund raiser. "How do you make any money if you are giving this stuff away?" She laughed and said that people were very generous. So I put a dollar in their cup and put a pin in their map of "where were you born?" (I was the first person to put a pin in west of the Mississippi) I was talking to this really nice lady there, and she said something about being born at home with a mid-wife, and I told her that I was born the same way. She and I both think it's really cool.
So then I was on the road again, refreshed from my three cups of Kool-aide and conversation. I pulled off at an exit to get some gas a about a hundred miles later, and it was 2.05 a gallon. This was at a "Turkey Hill" Station in PA, and I went looking for a Wendy’s on that same exit, and I found this really cool Wal-Mart that was situated directly below the end of the runway for their small municipal airport, and since you approach the Wal-mart from up on a hill, you can see the whole runway stretching out, ending in the parking lot!
Anyway, I continued on, and about 5 miles south of Scranton (the approximate middle point of the trip) I encountered some bad traffic, we just stopped and crawled along at stop and go 5mph speeds. It was awful, because I wasn't moving, and I'm probably the only person who'd make a trip that big in summer without A/C. Anyway, I was HOT. For those that don't know, driving a manual transmission in stop and go traffic is really, really tiring. But I was really lucky because the traffic peaked over the hill and I was able to ride the brake slowly down the other side of the mountain with the car in neutral. (My clutch requires A LOT of effort to keep depressed). Anyway, as soon as we passed the accident (it looked like a blowout or something) traffic resumed normality. I was so hot and tired. By this time it was 4pm, and I still hadn't eaten anything since my leftover enchilada and an apple that morning. So I got off and had a Wendy's Double Cheeseburger, and even though the staff was a little slow, the burger was one of the best I'd had in a long time from a fast food chain, hot, juicy and awesome. (No, not as good as Five Guys Burgers & Fries, mom) ;)
I called mom and Tanner to give them a heads up on my status... then I noticed that I had one heck of a road burn. I was lobster red on my left arm (the one I'd been hanging out the window for the last 6 hours) and completely unscathed everywhere else. My mom cleverly suggested that I pull out my long sleeve shirt and just wear the left sleeve to keep it from getting more burned. So I did. It worked, but I think it was already too burned, since it still hurts a lot today.
I pressed forward, changing onto 84 East and motoring along until I so the sign that indicated I would be passing into New York momentarily. My mom's advice rang in my ear. "You better fill up before you get into New York, It's going to be 30 cents more expensive there, you can bet that. So I got of at the last exit before Port Jervis, NY, and got fuel for 2.14 a gallon, and I since I missed the turn to get back on the freeway, I decided to cross the bridge into Port Jervis on the surface roads. It's a nice little town, and I soon got to the next exit, passing the fabled Port Jervis Kentucky Fried Chicken (Home of the overheard line "Is this for here or to go?" "Yes!") and arriving at the onramp.
The definition of irony is "incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs", and sure enough, the first gas station in New York was 1.99 a gallon. A full 0.15 cents CHEAPER. Fortunately, I'd only needed about 3 gallons, so it was only about 45 cents, but still, it made me laugh. Thanks for the advice mom!
In my defense of my mom's advice, about 20 miles into the state the gas was about 2.38, so I guess she was right, but the story still has comedic merit, by gum.
What else happened. Oh! At one point I put my arm out the window and starting pretending like it was an airplane wing, flying it up and down, and the people in front of me all started doing it too! I gave them the thumbs up and they returned it. It was a fun little experience in a tiring day.
I decided to drive until it was dark, and then stop, because I hate night driving, my eyes get very tired. So I drove until I had just exited the Mass pike (I-90) heading north on I-495, and I had committed to get off at the first exit and get dinner. The first exit said "Framingham", which happened to be the home of Danny Z, my friend from Emerson and fellow Master Control lackey. (Well, he's the head lackey, but he's still a lackey) Anyway, I called him and we met up at Friendly's Restaurant (A big chain in New England for all you southerners.) and we ate and talked, and then we went back to his house for a little bit to get my coat that he had picked up for me after I left it in the Emerson Cutler-Majestic Theater. We watched the newest episode of Family Guy and he burned me a DVD of the season finale of 24, which I missed.
I thanked him and went on my way, and my body wasn't that tired, but my eyes were really tired, so my stops became even more frequent, resting them for a few minutes then going on. It started raining when I got past Saco Maine, and I had to slow down. I pulled into the travel plaza right before the Gray tollbooth (Oh, by the way, the tolls are now 1.75 at the Maine boarder, and 1.25 in Gray, I think it used to be one and one, but I'm not sure) and called Tanner telling him when I was expecting to come in. I got out of the car and ran through the rain and into the building, used the bathroom, looked around and then ran back to the car.
To my defense I didn't cry, but I wasn't happy. I punched the car and put my head down on the wet metal roof as both my keys and my phone sat uselessly inside.
I tried to use the payphone to call my mom an get our AAA number, but I couldn't get the darned thing to work, and I was tired and frustrated. Then while I was fiddling with the phone, one of the service station attendants came up behind me and said "are you locked out?" I nodded and told him what I was doing and he offered to help, and see about digging up some "Slim Jims" as those lock picking thin metal things are called. And we went out, each with a slim jim, and started working on the door.
I'm kinda proud to say that I opened the door before he did, but he wasn't being as rough with it as I was, probably a comfort thing, since it wasn't his vehicle. I thanked him profusely for his help, shook his hand and he walked off. I sat with my head on the wheel and uttered a prayer of thanks and asked that he be blessed for helping me, and continued to Lewiston. I arrived without further event.
Now I've got some sleep to catch up on, a job to procure and a car to move every hour!
Wish me luck!