The Great American Road Trip - 28 - The Journey Home
Today, seeing that the storm system we outraced in St. Louis was catching up, we got up early and on the road quickly. Our first stop of the day was backtracking to the stadium of the Lexington Legends, the first team we met that is so disorganized as to not have a pennant. (At least the Missoula Ospreys had a pennant, except there, we just couldn't find it for a long time.) However, they did have "circular pennants" as the fellow called them. He was most likely unaware that pennants are pennants because of their shape and a circular pennant is impossible. We got one, as their mascot is a guy with a handlebar mustache, and handlebar mustaches are cool.
We got back on the road and headed all the way into Charleston, West Virginia. We made the obligatory stop-by-to-get-a-pennant deal at the stadium of the West Virginia Power.
Now, this was a funny story, and a lesson in how not to run an organization. Their team store had a sign on it, which told us to go up to the next floor to find the Power offices. We went upstairs and found the offices, where the woman there redirected us again ... back downstairs. We went down again and knocked on the door, where a lady opened the doors.
She was the textbook definition of someone who was totally and utterly spaced out. (I have no reason to believe that she was mentally impaired genetically.) The conversation went something like this:
"Hi! We'd like to purchase a pennant from your shop."
"We've been all over the country and are heading home now, but we collect these things. We must have about 15 of them in the trunk."
"Do you have any pennants here?"
"Sure ..." [turns around and points out window] "They're in storage."
"Oh, that's too bad. Do you have a key or something?"
"Looks like there are video game consoles out there."
"I can't move them ..."
"That's alright, we can move them."
"That's not a good idea ..."
At this point, she walked out of the room, muttering something about storage. We followed her into a storage closet, where she told us in the most forceful tone we could elicit from her to get out, we weren't supposed to be in there, etc. Other strange and otherwise awkward moments occurred in the rather one-sided conversation we had with her as we checked out - but hey, we got our pennant (and a hat to boot).
While the stadiums of both the Princeton Rays and the Bluefield Jays were both along our route, Princeton was too far off of the road for us to bother with them. However, Bluefield was not, and we got into the Bluefield parking lot at 3:59, one minute before they closed up. We got in, and while they did not have a pennant, their hats were very cool. The folks there were very nice and apologized for their lack of a pennant. We shared some of our pennant collection stories with them, and they didn't seem surprised when we told them the gritty details of our experiences with the teams that are not well run. The Ospreys and the Power must have infamous reputations around the minor leagues
We stopped for a quick bite to eat in Bluefield after we walked around a tank that, for some reason, is parked outside the ball park. After that, we didn't stop until we got all the way back home. We ran into some rain on the way, but nothing that slowed us down considerably.
Our total trip distance came out to a staggering 8,355.4 miles. Going along Interstate 90 - the longest Interstate - from Seattle to Boston and then back to Seattle again is a mere 6,198 miles. Interstate 40, which runs from the North Carolina coast all the way into California, is 2,559 miles, could have been traversed three times with our distance (7,677 miles) with 678 miles left over. The discontinued but still famous Route 66, which covered 2,451 miles in its day, could have been traveled three times over as well, with 1,002 miles as a remainder.
Overall, the distance we covered is equivalent to 5.6 percent of the combined distance of all the U.S. Interstates.
Are we crazy, or what?
Tomorrow, we get to sleep in, and wake up in our own beds. Tomorrow would have started our fifth week, which might have been too much to bear.