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Day Eleven - Churchton to Raleigh
The Southern Part Of Anne Arundal - Sharon's house is in "South County" and is the third one from the community dock on the Chesapeake Bay. (I know, crappy location.) Run around corner to get film; return to dock; snap 360 standing at end. Learn Chesapeake is Indian for "great shellfish bay." Duck into Deale; schlep around crowded (but empty at this hour) commercial marina. Also find firehouse. In fact, keep passing-- or being passed by-- fire units. Ambulances here, an Engine Company there. 11:50 a.m. Big K, for more film. No tanks tops needed. Did laundry last night. Plus, choosing not to expose Sharon to my sexy, hairy, Greek-American chest. [Sharon: "To which I am thankful." ] Also find a trio of newly-released Simpsons action figures: Barney, Chief Wiggum, and Ned "Howdy Ho" Flanders. (The latter includes such accessories as a miniature, Bible-looking book and a chef's cap lettered the "Bishop of BBQ!")
If I Won The Lottery - A common expression, usually used when describing what we'd really like to be doing with our lives. You know, "I work as a proctology assistant, butt, if I won the lottery, I'd move to the coast and study frogs." And an expression that begs the response: "so what are you waiting for?" Now, the "lottery wish" presumes that instant wealth is merely the least-resistant path to enablement. Such as, say, learning to play the timpani by dropping everything, moving to New York, enrolling in Julliard, and undergoing the necessary training. What instant wealth isn't is a magic lantern. Rubbing a pile of money cannot make you instantly smarter, stronger, happier, healthier, taller, thinner, more talented, or suddenly immune to death and taxes. (Though I've heard that high-priced plastic surgery can go a long way for one or two of those things!) Until recently, my lottery wish was to "ride around the country, seeing fire stations, meeting people, taking pictures, and writing about all of it."
Well, I Just Finished Doing That - Ten days on the road, with
nothin' to do but experience things and write about those experiences.
(And, not surprisingly, gravitating toward malls and fire stations and
laptop connections.) Don't know, though, if this'll remain my wish.
Home is sure sweet. As are routines. Movie-going. Movie reviewing.
Obsessing over slight changes in display case-placement of die-cast fire
trucks. As people, as opposed to amoebae, we're also comforted by local
acquaintances, familiar surroundings, and those friends and/or family
members we see every day, week, or whenever. Hell, comfort can be no more
complicated than the privilege of driving our own car! I may have satiated
my see/shoot/write wanderlust for the time being. May have. Plus, I still
have an awfully long "laundry list" of other Things To Be
Done Before Dying. Like publish a book. Or write another 1000 movie
reviews. Or even open a fire memorabilia museum. After all, most anything is
The Original Big Drive - Sharon also drove across the country. Ten thousand miles in June of 1997, in-between being an undergrad at the University of Maryland (double major, Biochem and Marine Biology) and a grad student at Duke (Fisheries Management). For four weeks she tooled around in a 1992, forest-green, stick-drive, 65K-already Chevy Blazer. 'Twas also her first Really Long Trip. (Prior was Annapolis to Key West.) Slept in her truck, with occasional campground or hotel room. Her route started north to Illinois, west through the Dakotas, up to the Pacific Northwest, down the coast of California, and finally due east on I-40. (The five things she liked the most: the badlands; Devil's Tower; Blue Mounds State Park in Minnesota; feeling great after getting over the loneliness; hiking the Grand Canyon.) Sharon is the same age, size, and height. (Though, ah, with different proportions). Her hair is blonde, her eyes are some color, and her hobbies include boating, country dancing, and driving around in that fire engine-red Dodge Durango of hers.
Listening While Driving - 6:10 p.m. On the road, one last time. Another 250-ish miles to go. Four hours, if I floor it. Four hours, till indulgence ends and "real life" resumes. Traffic on the Beltway is fine, if aggressive, until the I-95 merge. That is, until three miles before the I-95 merge. Later and farther south, the pace picks up. Still an amazing volume of traffic, but the average speed is high. 75 or 80. Radio stations suck-- and surprisingly so, for such a huge metropolitan area-- so car's CD player is put into use. See, my preference for LWD is talk radio. And only those hosts or shows that are personal favorites. If that's not available, then gimme music of my choice. Ten or twenty CDs from the collection. And if those aren't available, I'll revert to either random radio music or a less-favorite talk program. Hence the purchase of two portable players on this trip.
Life Resumes Anew - Two hours taken to Richmond; dinner 20 miles north, in some smaller town. Cracker Barrel again. Laptop open while picking at honey-baked ham, double dumplings, one-point-five corn muffins, and a Diet Coke. Remaining ride dull as Hell. Total darkness. Total radio-station suckage. None of my thirteen new CDs is "just right," either. Get gas in Henderson, North Carolina. 11:10 p.m. Mercifully, a scratchy 'PTF signal breaks through, breaking boredom with Dr. Dean Edell. (Medical information and answers.) 11:55 p.m. Pull into driveway. Route was easy. Took I-85 to US 1, south. House is six blocks west of highway, just before US 1 crosses I-440. Felix the Cat sleepily greets. Unload rental car. Fire off mail message. Then walk around house in amazement, at size, smell, floor colors, and room decor of the Place I Call Home. Wow. I'd, like, totally forgotten how way-cool the "pad" is. But that's half the purpose of travel, no? Both to see new things and re-see the old ones. Guess I passed with flying colors.
Total mileage today: 296
Total damn mileage total: 4075
Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
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