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Heading South

It's early Monday morning. Well, it's early for me. 8:00 a.m. is early, isn't it? The truck is packed and full of gas. The Lovely Louise is taking a final walk around the house and wondering what it is she's forgotten. I don't care what I've forgotten; if I really need it, I'll buy another one. (As I will discover later Monday night, what I did forget to pack was a toothbrush. Yeah, I know. Don't even say it.)

It's now 8:40, and we're headed out the driveway on our 1,500-plus-mile journey to our home on the “other” Cape—Cape Coral, Florida. Twenty-five or so hours of driving, plus stops for refueling—both for the truck and for me. Well, I’d better get Louise something too or she'll just eat mine. What follows is my state-by-state impression of the never-ending drive down Interstate 95.

Rhode Island: This state is so small, you almost forget you're in it. By the time you realize where you are, BOOM, you're in Connecticut.

Connecticut: The worst part of 95. The road is terrible. There's no interesting scenery and you get to drive right through the middle of New Haven. Didn't Yale pick a lovely place to build a university?

New York: Over an hour delay trying to get over the George Washington bridge. I knew we should have taken the Tappan Zee. Not a nice area of New York. Lots of graffiti, abandoned buildings, homeless people … you know, the uplifting parts of the city. Never mind. Off in the distance, we can see Manhattan and all that money and power isn't very far away.

New Jersey: Uhmmm … well … enough said.

Delaware: Wait. Was that Delaware?

Maryland: Okay, we're south of the Mason Dixon Line. Does that mean we're in the South? Not really, and the only good thing about Baltimore is the Orioles, and even they're not that good.

Washington, DC: The seat of power. Wave to President Obama, Louise. Yes, I'm sure he can see you and he actually does know it's you. The Beltway seems to be nothing more than the world's biggest used car lot. We should be in Virginia in just a couple of days.

Virginia: The sign says “Virginia Is for Lovers.” Since the Lovely Louise and I are in a committed relationship (we should both be committed), we decide we don't really need to find another lover, and so we just motor on. Richmond. Nice city, so we stop for the night. Hard bed and the free breakfast really isn't worth what you pay for it.

North Carolina: Hey! Jesus is on the radio and he sings Country! I know we're in the South because it seems that every mile there is a South of the Border billboard. Scenically, the trip is starting to get more interesting, and the driving is easy.

South Carolina: Home to Pedro at South of the Border. I stopped here once when I was twelve years old and it was a little diner with some fireworks. It's now a small city with hotels, restaurants, and every cheap tourist item they can make in China. Say goodbye to Pedro, dear.

Georgia: Love to try some Georgia Peaches … and maybe some of the fruit, too (yeah, Louise doesn't think I'm very funny at the moment, either). How about some of Jimmy Carter's peanuts? Why would you boil peanuts instead of roasting them?

Florida: I can tell it's Florida because they planted a lot of palm trees. The other way you can tell it's Florida is because it's flat. You could ride a bicycle without having to change gears. Quick trip across the state, hit Tampa, turn south on 75 and we're only about two hours away.

Arrive about 11:30 and straight to bed. The start of another winter season at Casa Hagberg South. It's only once you arrive that you start to think the drive was worth it.


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