16 January 2013

2013 SOUTH & EAST COAST to Michigan 23 - Headed Home Sweet Home

Alarm set for 7:30am. Woke naturally at 7:06a. Home was calling. Departed Providence at 9:45am on the 17th. Arrived home to Kalamazoo MI at 1:17am on January 18th.

Traveled 15-1/2 hours and 982 miles through seven states today--RI, CT, NY, PA, OH, IN, and MI. We weren't sure if we would make it all the way, but the closer we got, the more determined we were to get home. Mike drove 433 miles and, once sunset hit, Deb drove the rest of the 549 miles. I am absolutely sure that is the one and only all time high for Deb. Never ever came even close to that before and certainly not in the future. I don't know who we think we are--twen-teens? This is how we use to travel in the "old" days (or should that be the "young" days!).

High for the day was 39 degrees. The highest elevation we noticed was at a rest stop near Fishkill NY at 2250'.

Had almost a full tank to start our day. Gassed up in Lake Ari PA, with 330 miles on that tank and 42.8 MPG. Price was $3.59. Again at Broadview Heights OH, with 386 miles on that tank and 46.2 MPG. Price here was $3.24. The next day after getting home, filled up a partial tank. Drove 259 miles with only 39.1 MPG and Kalamazoo price of $3.30. Back to cold weather mileage.

Although it was 33 degrees upon departure in Providence, at least we woke up to dry weather this morning--no snow or rain overnight. Lugged our own bags down the three flights and fortified ourselves with the same hearty breakfast as yesterday in our B&B dining room. We haven't looked at the map yet, but decided to go home the most direct route as Deb's knees and shoulder are aching mightily. Not sure if it's from all the walking or change in weather. Anyway, we will let Garmin lead the way.

With that said, we will NOT stop in Slippery Rock or East Liberty as originally planned weeks ago. Sorry for last minute changes and updates, but we are yearning for home, having been on the road since Dec 27.

Much of this day is a blur. Traveled in seven states today--RI, CT, NY, PA, OH, IN, MI. That's an all time high for one day for us. Much of the route was on turnpike. We were going for speed, not sight-seeing. First stop was Whole Foods for some travel snacks. We bought Clementines, Odwalla protein juice (one of our faves which is produced in our old town Half Moon Bay CA), pretzels, and water.

Not much regarding RI as it is only 48 miles north to south and 37 miles east to west. We were going east to west and back-tracking on the route we had arrived on, so nothing really new to report. 

In CT we cut north and passed through some new territory on scenic highway CT-9. Passed through the small and pleasant town of Middletown. Near the west side of the state by Danbury, it started getting hillier and we saw several ski resorts.

Arrived at the NY border at 12:35pm. Passed a short distance through the "heel," south of the Catskills and north of the NYC metro area. Smooth sailing traffic here. Saw a new road sign that said "Headlights required when using wipers." Not sure what the safety benefit on that one is. Snow more apparent on the roadsides. Many creeks and small rivers. Crossed the very wide Hudson River near Newburg.

Hit PA at 1:15pm. Longest state trek was PA, 283 miles across. We think I-84 was in the worst condition of any road on our trip. Glad when we hooked up with I-80. We had forgotten how hilly and windy PA is. Some of this drive was through the Appalachian Mountains. Roads were clear but much snow everywhere else. Horses wearing blanket "jackets." Many barns with hex signs in farm areas. 

Almost made a side trip to the Ice Cream School at State College, but came to our senses pretty quick. Hit some snow flurries, but thank goodness they didn't stick. We got a kick out of a few "Beware of deer" signs. Someone had put a red dot at the tip of the deer graphic noses to turn them into Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer. Also saw a cute little bear carving at a PA rest stop. Noticed an exit for Grove City (around 7:45pm), where our cousin Matt hangs out, but no stopping us at this point.

Somewhere is mid-PA Deb took the wheel (at 5:20pm). And shortly after that was a glorious sunset. It seemed like a sign, a colorful brilliant "gateway" to our way home. That spurred us on. Later the moon was nearly half-size and again seemed like a guiding light whenever we were under clear skies.

Another coincidence was that right about this time, the radio started playing the Eagles tune "Standing on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona." We had done just that on our recent "out West" trip. This gave us pause to reminisce. It was a perfect tie-in for the end of this journey.

8:30pm entered OH, moon still ahead. There I-80 is the Ohio Turnpike. Every service area came from a cookie cutter. Kind of sterile feeling, but clean and full of services. Looked for a Taco Bell for the longest time (maybe 100 miles) starting in PA. It was amazing how many exits we passed without a TB. We finally found one in Broadview Hts near Cleveland. We were so hungry by that time that we each had a triple header (three items). The Ohio state line was farther west than I pictured. I thought once we got past Toledo area, we would hit Indiana, but the border is another 75 miles beyond. For some reason that 75 miles was torture.

In IN for a few short miles, hitting the MI border at midnight. It always puts a smile on our faces  when we see that beautiful Welcome to Pure Michigan sign.  Then just a hop-skip-and-a-jump to home. Arrived home at 1:17am. We were so hyped up that we stayed awake til near 3am chatting and giggling. Trying not to bother the neighbors.


This was a very long day. Lots of reminiscing and mindless chit-chat, but we came up with a new game. We were listening to PBS and they mentioned the Word of the Day. In the past we used to get the Word sent to us daily in an email. So the game would be to put that word in our blog each day. Today's Merriam-Webster word was vernissage, meaning a private showing or preview of an art exhibition. Our blog sentence is "We plan a vernissage of Key West trip photos to show our family when we get home."

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