We had gotten a good start, earlier than we had anticipated, Cappy having gotten off a day early. The dogs were at their doggy camp with "Aunt Mary" and a myriad of other dogs to play with, and so it was just Cappy and me heading off down the road. We only got a couple hundred miles when we pulled in for the night. The next day we only had coffee for 'breakfast' then put another five hundred miles or so on the odometer, 'til Cappy said it was time for supper. He likes to set goals, like keep driving til we get to the next interstate where we are going, then eat. Oh Come On! Everytime I'd complain, he'd unwrap another granola bar for me to stuff in my mouff. Well, we finally got 'someplace', so he said to pull off and we'd look around. We couldn't find any place, so he said to stop at this car repair place, cuz surely, "the ol' boys workin' there would know of a good local place to eat". The good ol' boy who came out, looked like Dan, our son.
He and his wife told Cappy of a real good place to eat that was popular with everybody, but it was kinda on the back road. We went and found the place. It used to be a gas station, but they converted it into an old-fashioned diner, which did seem to be pretty popular. It just so happened that it was the owner's mother, Edna's 80th birthday, but there she was hustling food to customers from the kitchen. They said, "You couldn't have kept her home even if you'd wanted to...she wanted to be here". They had a big poster/birthday card that everybody was signing, even us. The insides of the place was delightfully old, but painted up in a warm yellow. The special of the day was hot dogs and saurkraut and maybe liver and onions...that sounds about right. I swear the place took me back to when I was a kid and my grandma was a waitress in an old diner like this. A time warp slice of history. I had a hamburger 'steak', which was just a hamburger pattie, and asked for a little bit of the saurkraut to go on it, cuz the ketchup wasn't the kind I could have. Cappy said it was better for me not to mention what he had, or how he liked it. Well, the ambiance fed me well, and that of the people who worked there. Cappy even 'flirted' with Miss Edna, telling her she couldn't be cuter, which made her blush and giggle like a school girl.We got back on the road and made over 700 miles that day, 'til we got just past Roanoke, Va. and fell into bed at a hotel I can't even remember, I was so tired. The next morning Cappy grabbed a couple of bananas for me for breakfast, and a cold frappacino from a gas station...and again, he fished out a couple of granola bars to shut me up. Poor guy, I don't think he even ate anything himself, just coffee...oh he MUSTA had something. We made good time once we got going and when Cappy saw a sign where we were supposed to cross the Potomac River, he said we had to get a picture of the sign. The speed limit was 65 in high traffic, so I accidentally whizzed right on by it and onto the bridge. "Noooo, ya gotta turn around and go back, so's I can get a picture of the sign!" I got off the interstate and noticed the town was Falling Waters, West Va....where my Uncle Duane and Uncle Spike used to live and work in the coal mines. I was delighted in that! My Uncle Duane had passed, and I don't get to see my Uncle Spike nearly as often as I'd like. I miss them both dearly, so for some reason, being in the town where they had lived, was just a good feeling for me. (Uncle Spike lives in western NY now) Cappy said as long as we were passing by, we might as well fill the tank, before our swing back across the bridge into Virginia again. After tanking back up, I pulled back onto the interstate heading toward the Potomac River again, but again, the traffic was thick with semi trucks and fast. He said, "Pull over...pull over...slow down, so I can get it!!" Nope...whizzed right by it again. "Oh man...turn around again, and this time find a place to stop...I'll tell ya where". Oh yow! The speed ruts, or whatever ya call them on the side of the road were loudly complaining and so was I, because I had to swerve to get onto the tiny, narrow shoulder out of speeding, honking cars and trucks. Cappy gets out and strolls along the guardrail as though he were in a quiet shady park toward the sign, which was only a few feet off the road. The wind from a passing truck blew his straw hat off into the weeds over the guardrail. He got his picture, but not without me holding my breath and praying loudly, because he didn't seem aware of how close he was to the road at his back. Just one wrong step....(I know he knows what he's doing, but I worry so). So he got his photo. And a couple of the River. I don't know the significance just yet, but I'm sure he'll tell us sometime.
We got into Pennsylvania; Quaker and Amish country. I don't know what brought it up, but his straw hat came into question as to whether or not he might be mistaken for an Amish guy wearing it in that neck of the woods. That did it...he never put it on again up north. He opted to wear the canvas one I had gotten him for Christmas. He does look good in either of them...he's a "hat" guy, for sure.
We kept 'rockin' and rollin' toward New York City. "Hey! That sign sez New York City...we aint going thru there are we???" I said that I didn't think so, but we were supposed to skirt around it according to our AAA maps and itinerary. "Well, I sure as heck don't wanna go to New York City, no matter what", he said adamently. I was starting to worry, because I know how cities spread out, not showing how widespread they are on maps. We just kept following the road signs, on into New Jersey and headed north.
It was beautiful weather for a long road trip. All bright and sunny everywhere, except for that dark cloud way up ahead that we looked like we were going to miss whenever we would turn east onto the NYS Thruway toward the Tappan Zee Bridge that would take us into Connecticut. The interstate wound up and around small mountains and the dark cloud kept flirting with us, getting closer and more angry looking all the time, until, for some reason the traffic came to a stop, then a go, then a stop, then a go...but each 'go' was slow. It was then that the cloud revealed itself to be a big old thunder and lightening storm...aha! It had us. It had all of us! "Wishy-wipers" were all going full blast, but that was the only thing going full blast; the storm notwithstanding...it too was going full blast, raining sideways in buckets, lightening cracking around everywhere. We crawled along with everybody else, made the turn onto the Thruway, still crawling. Dang! I had wanted to have the fun of gawking around as we went over the Hudson River. Instead, big hail stones began hitting the windows and the SUV so hard, I was sure the windshield was going to break. The sky turned a sickening pukey green, and the wind picked up worse than ever and it was hard to see where we were going. I was shaking so hard that I was glad that I had the steering wheel to hang onto. The whole mob of traffic inched along, and as we crossed along, on the long bridge, we kinda got ahead of the storm. Meanwhile I could see the bumper to bumper cars on the other side of the road heading toward the storm, just parked almost, like sitting ducks waiting for the worst of it...a tornado, or whatever to come and get 'em. I prayed for those people.
We managed to get ourselves into Connecticut, then found Route 95 North. The darned storm was a threat even then, having moved east and found us again. I was terrified at that point. We did like we did before, tho'...creeping along. Then to make matters worse. People let big spaces open up everywhere in standstill traffic because most everyone of them were texting away, sitting there, not even looking at the road. For miles. Sitting there looking down, typing away, with big enough gaps for twenty cars to fill. How can they live like this? How can they do this every day, sit in traffic for hours for no reason, except this stupid stuff??? There were no accidents up ahead. Just texters holding up three lanes of cars and trucks ...and us, who were tired, hungry and wanting to 'get the show on the road' and get to where we were going. Cappy said, "For a sweet little granny, you sure have a lot of road rage", and I wasn't even doing anything, except for griping, like I was just was now to "yall". Finally we decided to get off the main interstate onto a secondary interstate, and found other texters and gaps, so we opted to just drive on Route 1 up along the coast and find a place to have supper and a hotel. We found "Chops" restaurant in West Haven, Conn. and were even more excited when we saw that they had a banner outside that said, "Twin Lobster Dinner". Lobster was one of the main reasons for our trip north, and here we were actually IN lobster country!! We had made it, finally!