the trip home

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 – We had the option of spending most of the day on the cape, but when we got up and looked outside it was still very grey and foggy so we decided to turn towards home rather than driving out to the tip of the cape. Our first stop was in Newport, RI where we got some travel information at the visitor’s center and then took the scenic ocean drive among famous mansions such as “The Breakers” after returning along Bellview before leaving town on the Pell Bridge. There would have been much more to see and do in Newport but the city was quite congested due to a large folk music festival going on this week. We decided to continue on our southerly route into Connecticut rather than back through Massachusetts. Driving through Connecticut we realized that we wouldn’t be far from Yale so we should stop to see that school as well. Yale was much more like Mom envisioned Harvard would be like, lots of old stone buildings surrounding a common green area leading up to a gothic library. We poked around the campus for a bit including looking at one of the last collegiate library paper card catalogs still in use. While there we asked a librarian for a local pizza place frequented by the students and she gave us the name of two places to check out. We settled on Yorkside Pizza, a typical college town pizza place paper cups and plates to boot. The pizza was quite good, but nothing fantastic; I thought it was quite similar to Pizza by Evan. On the way back to the car we stopped to hear the six o’clock Caroline bells which played “The Entertainer.” Though both Mom and Dad preferred Yale to Harvard I disliked it very much, it was too secluded from the town with it’s gothic architecture and high walls. I like schools that become an integral part of the community; it does wonders for community spirit, and brings about a sense of ownership in the community. I dislike schools such as Yale that seclude themselves with lofty walls and imposing architecture, it creates a false world where you learn without experiencing the real thing which makes for a nasty shock once you get out. In any event we left Yale and decided to continue eastward into the southern tip of New York skirting New York City rather than the upstate route we had originally planned on. During this leg of the trip it was Noah’s turn to watch a movie and he chose to watch National Security an action comedy that, in my opinion, has no value to it whatsoever and contains a lot of immature (cheap) comedy that only rots the brain. Instead of watching the movie I continued to work on writing these descriptions of what we did on the cape catching up on all the days I was behind on. After we got a bit further on I took over driving while Anna watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the back, one of Shakespeare’s best and funniest comedies. Watching the sun set over the hills as I pushed west into Pennsylvania (one of the most scenic states in the East) was a great experience. Eventually I ended up stopping in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 14, 2003 – After much discussion last night we decided to try and get home late today and to take a southerly route through Pennsylvania on the turnpike, then through mid-state Ohio with a stop in Champagne/Urbana, IL where our uncle George will be teaching this year. We got an early start to the day getting up at six and on the road by seven in the morning. The fog has definitely gathered in the valleys this morning, as I look out the window I can see a huge oval shaped ravine off to our right filled that looks like a lake of fog. Pennsylvania is one of my favorite eastern states to drive though; it certainly has some of the most interesting scenery to look at. We had forgotten how long it takes to drive across Pennsylvania and were surprised to be in the state as long as we were. Noah was anxious to take a turn driving so he drove from Beford, PA to Washington, PA. Then Mom took us through West Virginia and into Columbus, OH where we stopped for a late lunch. During this leg of the trip Josie chose to watch The Parent Trap, if you ask me the original version is better. Everyone other than me stopped at a Wendy’s; however, we have some friends who moved from the Columbus area and love Cincinnati Chili which isn’t available outside of Ohio so when we stopped at a Skyline Chili restaurant I ordered two cheese conies and a cheese skyfries. For those not familiar with Cincinnati Chili it’s a soupy chili without beans, basically beef and spices, and a cheese coney is a small hot dog in a deep bun with Cincinnati Chili, onions and cheddar cheese on top of it. The other common way to serve Cincinnati Chili is called a 3-way, 4-way or 5-way which is spaghetti with chili, cheese and (depending on which one) various other toppings. If you’re ever in Southern Ohio I highly recommend stopping at a Skyline or Gold Star Chili restaurant and trying either a 5-way or a cheese coney. After making these stops in the Columbus area Dad took over driving until we got to the West side of Indianapolis where I took over and drove us to Champagne-Urbana, IL. We stopped in Champagne around 7:30 to visit Uncle George, take a very brief tour of the University of Illinois where he will be teaching law in the fall, and get a slice of pie. When we got there he also was the first to inform us of the major blackout in the northeast that hit at 4:11 yesterday, apparently due to a plant problem the grid was overloaded in that area causing cascading outages. After leaving Champagne I continued driving until we reached Peoria, IL where we decided to stay the night after almost 17 hours of driving (including the stops in Columbus and Champagne.) We drove over 876 miles today which is certainly the most in a single day for this trip and just over our previous record of Washington, D.C. to Chicago, IL in one day.

Friday, August 15, 2003 – We got on the road this morning by eight and will certainly make it home today. From Champagne home is roughly nine hours and we’re an hour out of Champagne as of last night. We’re going to attempt a different route home this time, rather than cutting up through Chicago and Wisconsin or taking I-80 West to Des Moines and up I-35 we’re planning to go through Iowa City then North to Waterloo and on to Rochester, MN which (in theory) is a more direct, if possibly slower, route to take. Luckily we’ve been able to shake the bad weather that’s been following us for so long and finally have some blue skies to look at; unluckily we haven’t had any rain up in Minnesota since we left. Anna, Mom, Josie and Noah are finishing Minority Report which they started late last night on the way to Peoria. We’ve now returned to the familiar scenery of soybeans and corn so familiar to those passing through southern Minnesota and Iowa. Dad continued driving until we were just outside of Waterloo, IA where we stopped for gas. At that time I took over driving on the two-lane road stretch leading to Rochester, MN, although it’s somewhat slower than the interstate (but more direct in this case) I often prefer driving on the two-lane US highways as they tend to be more scenic. Between Waterloo and Rochester the backseat theater was showing Maid In Manhattan. We stopped at Culver’s restaurant in Rochester for a late lunch, but we decided we wouldn’t have time to stop in and see Uncle Greg and our cousins. After lunch Noah offered to drive us the rest of the way home. I also noticed that I received a few text messages on my phone from my server at home stating that our power flickered a little after nine this morning, hopefully when we get home everything will be working fine. The rest of our trip home was uneventful and we got home around 4:30 this afternoon, got some groceries and filled the car with gas to prepare for another adventure…the return of school.

Comments are closed.