Emergency Road Trip IV

Sleep makes me feel better.

The trip yesterday didn’t go quite as planned, but it was, in general, a good trip.

We left Raleigh at ten, as planned, but my grandmother didn’t want to go back to Rocky Mount and the hospital to see her sister, so I didn’t force the issue.

It was a nice day for a drive–low 70s in Raleigh, low to mid 60s up to Baltimore, very few clouds, very little traffic.

We were making great time, even on the stretch of I-95 between Fredericksburg and the Washington Beltway. We stopped for gas a little north of Fredericksburg–the same Wawa where we stopped for gas on the way down–and my grandmother became convinced that we had been following an SUV all the way from Raleigh. Even after pointing out that the SUV turned off 95 at Quantico, she still thought we were behind the SUV somewhere outside of Baltimore.

The worst part of the trip, traffic-wise, came on the Washington Beltway. Traffic came to a stop south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and it took forty-five minutes to go four miles. Once on the Maryland side, however, traffic moved at a brisk pace, and we arrived in Baltimore and my grandmother’s driveway just past four.

I wanted to drive back immediately, once I’d unloaded the car and settled her back in her house. She thought I needed to rest some, possibly even spend the night and drive back in the morning. We compromised–I’d stay, eat some dinner, and then leave about six.

Waiting until six was actually a good thing. Rush hour traffic on the two beltways–Baltimore’s and Washington’s–had dwindled away.

It was an easy drive back. I made three stops. The first was in Fredericksburg, to stretch my legs. Right off I-95 is a Borders I shopped at a time or three–I bought a few Doctor Who novels there and David Brin’s Foundation’s Triumph–though I hadn’t been in that particular Borders since October 1999. The second was in Richmond for gas, a 7-11 on Parham Road. The third was at the North Carolina Welcome Center on I-85 for a bathroom break. On the ride up my grandmother and I listened to some Beatles albums–Magical Mystery Tour, Paul’s Flaming Pie, and George’s Cloud Nine–while on the trip back I listened to the first four Faction Paradox audio dramas.

Left along with my thoughts I may have solved a plot problem that’s been haunting me for a while. And come up with an interesting characterization quirk that makes everything hang together. Or, I may just be madder than Mad Jack McMadd.

One observation. Richmond has a downtown that looks like an urban downtown should look–row upon row of skyscrapers. Raleigh doesn’t.

I hope not to have to repeat this trip any time soon. But if I do, I hope the weather is as nice as it was these past few days.

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