The Road Trip Day One January 26, 2013
I left New Hampshire on Friday night for my friend Mary Jane’s in Rhode Island. The forecast was calling for snow late in the evening. We woke to a dusting of an inch or two of light, fluffy, powdery snow that I easily swept off the windows early Saturday morning.
Before getting in the car, we recreated our own version of the iconic Thelma and Louise photo, then hit the road minus the gun. Although we were not heading towards the Grand Canyon, we agreed we would give Brad Pitt a ride if we ran into him along the way. On the road by 8:30 AM, we were just a half hour later than our planned ETD.
Despite the blue sky and bright sun, the electronic traffic alert signs were warning of black ice all the way through Connecticut. We took it slow, trying to keep the speed at seventy miles per hour but as Mary Jane pointed out, I do tend to have a lead foot and kept inching up towards eighty before she would reprimand me.
I had brought along a box of over one hundred cassettes I recorded back in the eighties when we were living in Boston. Lots of Elvis Costello, The Clash, English Beat, and mixed party tapes. As the miles flew by, we chattered on and on about guys we had dated and drunken, stoned nights at parties we barely remembered.
Before we knew it, we were in D.C. by four p.m. We wanted to attend the March for Gun Control, but couldn’t find parking. For some reason we found this hysterically funny and kept saying, “We would have marched, but we couldn’t find parking.” We also couldn’t find parking at the Martin Luther King Memorial so we continued on to a spot across from the Jefferson Memorial, snapped a few photos, then got back on the road to get a few more miles under our belts before the sun set.
Thomas Jefferson has been always been one of my favorite presidents. I have visited his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is definitely responsible for my never-ending belief in the pursuit of happiness. As Sophie says in The Reverse Commute:
“My favorite part of the Declaration of Independence has always been the pursuit of happiness. What other country in the history of the world guarantees their citizens the right to pursue happiness? Sure seems hard to attain these days though, doesn’t it?”
Her dad replied, “Just because they give you the right to pursue happiness, doesn’t mean they guarantee you’ll find it….”
Before getting back on the road, we each had a shot of a Five Hour Energy drink which carried us all the way to just outside of Richmond, Virginia, where we decided to call it a day. We found a Motel 6 for forty-five dollars, including free breakfast, and ate dinner at an Applebee’s, the only restaurant in town serving alcohol.
Back at the Motel 6, we slept in the shadow of Kings Dominion, the home of the giant Anaconda roller coaster, the first looping roller coaster in the world to feature an underwater tunnel. It was closed for the season and looked eerie against the dark night sky. I slept well, vaguely recalling a dream where I was driving a dodge-em car that I was trying to parallel park near the Washington Monument.