Escaping winter is my account of a road trip from Tewksbury, Massachusetts to my new home in Tucson, Arizona. The crew includes my fiancee Jess and my first-mate Erik, armed with a shopping bag full of motion-sickness meds, Advil, anti-diahreals, toilet paper (in case the last one doesn’t work), gummy bears, beef jerky, and enough chocolate to kill a diabetic 10 times over. The goal is to make it to Tucson without dying and/or being kidnapped and/or arrested.
11AM-West Chester, Pennsylvania-Brian’s House
We broke our rule of “leaving at 9” by actually leaving at 11. We had a long road ahead of us, about 10 hours to Lexington, Kentucky, our next destination.
Showers were a must, as we would be sitting in the car for as long as it takes to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, minus the entertainment.
SIDE NOTE: I’m still not sure why sitting in the car for hours makes you feel like you’ve been bathing in filth all day. It’s not like you’re actually doing anything. But anyone who’s had the experience knows that after a long car drive, you feel and smell like you’ve been wrestling wild pigs all afternoon.
Due to the awful weather at the moment, we’re trying to skip down south as fast as possible. Before leaving Brian’s, Jess asks if we’ll be going through any mountains, which I should probably know, but I don’t. Before this trip, I wasn’t even sure which states were between Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Funny how much you can learn about geography when you need to.
We pass through rural Pennsylvania, through Lancaster, Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Chambersburg, and any other burg that you can think of (except Pittsburg, no Pittsburg). We’re treated to lovely snow-covered landscapes and Mennonite furniture stores.
At our first stop, we buy an atlas, which becomes my obsession for the entire trip. The thrill of passing a state line becomes more intense than winning a Nobel prize.
On the atlas I notice that West Virginia has an awful lot of green. Green means mountains. And also that West Virginia is known as the mountain state.
I think we were going through some mountains.
Around 3:30 we pass the West Virginia border. First up, it’s a quick dinner in Morgantown, where the land is still relatively flat.
After dinner, we get on the road with just enough time to see the sun set. It turns out to be perfect timing. Luckily we beat any bad weather, all dry on the mountains, which is a good thing because it’s tough to blog when you’re lying in an Appalachian ditch.
The mountains of West Virginia are as frightening as they are beautiful. The hills rise and fall like a roller coaster (only with less safety precautions).
And the best part is you get to see sunsets like this:
We make one more stop about 3 hours outside of Lexington at a two-floor truck stop, whose restaurant is packed like it’s Nobu on a Saturday night. Erik thinks about buying a $13 giant Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup simply because it exists, but thinks better of it. He drives the rest of the way, relieving Jess for the first time.
We arrive in Lexington a little after 11, everybody ragged from sitting in the car. The Hobbit comes out tonight and we consider seeing a midnight show…back in Pennsylvania. By now it was out of the question, and so was seeing the rest of Lexington.
Lexington, Kentucky, at least for us, would be for sleeping. But tomorrow we’re going to find some good bourbon and head on down to Memphis, where the meat is slow cooked and the King still lives.