The Great American Road Trip II - 30 - The Last Full Measure
We got an early start and headed out of Alabama, soon making it to the Georgia state line and the Eastern time zone. From there we headed up to Atlanta, where I learned that tales of the city's traffic had not been exaggerated. We took the beltway around the city instead of going through it directly. I cannot imagine what kind of mayhem we'd have run into if we'd gone right through, as the drivers on the beltway were crazy enough. (I learned why signals are so rarely used: as soon as you turn one on, some bozo cuts you off.)
Eventually we meandered around Atlanta and arrived in the suburb of Lawrenceville, home of the triple-A Gwinnett Braves, where we located the stadium and collected our pennant as well as pictures of their nearly-new stadium. Soon we were back on Interstate 85, bound for our penultimate stop of the day: Greenville, South Carolina for a pennant from the Greenville Drive, the single-A affiliate of the Red Sox. Our arrival there was greeted with the similar brand of eerie wariness that we'd received elsewhere on our deep-south pennant chases, but we got a pennant and headed for the North Carolina border.
Outside of Greenville we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A to eat. We used up nearly the last of our cash getting chicken strips and a sandwich - the only bill left was, quite strangely, a 100-dollar bill. With this as our only cash, my dad's after-snack peach milkshake was bought using it, which prompted nearly the entire restaurant staff to check and double-check the bill for accuracy. The comical nature of the counterfeit concern was apparent from my perch at a booth across the building. (The bill, of course, checked out.) My mom proved our trustworthiness to the cashier by returning a phone left in a nearby booth by the store manager - and while I cannot be entirely sure, I think they may have been using the opportunity to test us.
We'd gotten no more than a few miles over the NC border before, in the span of about five second, it went from 90 degrees and ominous to a 60 degree downpour where we could barely see a foot in front of the car. We exited near Bessemer City and wound our way westward out of the storm. Using dad's dog-like navigational skills, mom's GPS and iPad maps, and my studious analysis of a road atlas as old as I am, we navigated north and east on secondary roads and followed the storm the rest of the way home. Our route took us on NC-150 through the Lake Norman area, where we saw - amongst other stupidities - folks water-skiing while lightning struck and thunder rolled. I understand the reports of Lake Norman deaths now.
Before we knew it, we were home and unloading our things into the house. I'm glad we sprayed for bugs before we left, as a number of them are curled up. We've gotten rid of the ones along the main walkways in the house, but we didn't get them all and as such will need to vacuum them up tomorrow.
On this trip, we covered more states and provinces than we did last year (26 to 25) in more days (30 to 28). We traversed the continent in a manner that would nearly encircle last year's route, but we somehow ended up with less milage (8252.2 to 8355.4). Total mileage for both trips combined comes out as 16,607.6. The number of car fixes increased (3 to 1) and we ended up with more pennants as well (17 to 15, though we got four free ones in Vancouver).
Tomorrow: we sleep in. Our trip has come to its conclusion earlier than we had planned, but I would prefer it this way, as the similar scenery of our southern excursion increased our anxiousness to get back home.