Saturday, April 20, 2013

Annual Road Trip South - Day One

The Hampton Inn Emporia Virginia

Okey dokey folks, here I am in a Hampton Inn hotel room in Emporia Virginia, calling the end to Day One of our Annual Road Trip South.

For the last several years Bill and I have been making this trek south to visit my father's birthplace in the mountains (Pigeon Roost - hillbilly county) of western North Carolina, my brother and his wife in Greenville, South Carolina and Bill's birthplace and where he grew up in Toccoa Georgia.  Yep, we make that big loop.  

We make the trip down the Delmarva Peninsula, through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (which both of us hate), then through that mess of roads that is Norfolk, Virginia then to open country.  The hardest part about the trip is always getting through Norfolk.  We messed up again today.  I always drive through Norfolk and have used my GPS and made it through.  Hairy and scary but I did make it through.  This time Bill "drew a map."  He says his maps are always better.  Uh huh.  Well, we "took the tour" today.  Nuff said.  Now at least he won't holler and scream at me when I make a wrong turn here and there whilst traffic is coming at me from all directions.

But let me back up a bit here.  We always rent a van from Enterprise.  This morning we show up at the door at 8:30 am.  They open at 9:00.  Well, it seems this morning there was a little problem.  The manager if the Enterprise store in Millsboro lost his/her keys and needed the manager of the Rehoboth Enterprise to open up for him/her.  Thus we stood out in the 50 degree temps with the wind whipping around us until about 9:20. Once the manager go there apologies spewed forth and promises of a discount (which we got).  

"Waiting for Godot" at Enterprise Rental in Rehoboth Beach this morning 

We lucked out this time.  Our van rental was a white Chrysler Towne and Country.  Only one "slight problem".......West Virginia license plate.  I don't think I've ever seen a West Virginia license plate in Gayberry Rehoboth Beach.  Oh well, we look like West Virginians anyway (look it up.) 

This year's chariot 

Just a note, if my narrative seems a little stilted on this post it's because I'm typing too high in my Hampton Inn hotel room.  My typing fingers aren't quite flying like they usually do.  I feel like a little kid reaching up on a high table for a cookie.

Back to the trip - we complete the paper work on our van and go back home to pack up.  Oh do we ever (me actually) take a lot of crap along.  I have my Macbook Pro, iPad, iPhone, chargers galore, underwear, toiletries, cameras including my SLR, Flip video, Find a Grave digital camera and those chargers, pads, and shirts and pants and socks and sneakers and loafers....oh well, you get the idea.

One big mistake I made so far this trip is I ate too much.  I had lunch (chicken parmesan hoagie with greasy fries) then dinner at Cracker Barrel and you know how they stuff you.  Of course our dining was accompanied by a screaming kid during more of our culinary repast.  This kid should have received an award, I think she cracked a couple of windows during two ear piercing screams.  Screaming kids and Cracker Barrel, sort of goes together like Republicans and government obstruction.  Just saying.

What next?  We arrived in Emporia, Virginia; our halfway point to Marion, North Carolina which we  plan to spend a few days in the "fatherland."  At the Hampton Inn in Marion I'm meeting up with my cousin Bob Tipton and his wife.  His father and my father were brothers.  Bob's never seen "the homeland."  I'm going to show him around (Pigeon Roost) and introduce him to one of our many cousins who still live up in them thar mountains.  Wanda is her name.  She is the granddaughter of the older sister of our grandfather.  Got that?  I've dug far enough and pretty well linked most of the folk up in those mountains to my family line one way or another.  Wanda and her husband live in our great-grandfather's house on Upper Pigeon Roost Road. His name was Ike Lewis and my father was named after him.  It's always a special treat to "soak up the mountains" when we visit.  Would love to live there but man oh man, nothing but nothing is going on up there except some spectacular scenery.  You won't see any Sea Witch Festivals or Polar Bear Plunges up there in those hollers.  Nice folk though and some fabulous family cemeteries which I hope to record with my camera and post to Find a

Well, I have a terrific case of indigestion right now (those greasy fries and too much food).  Time to take a shower (I'm starting to stink) and make my journal entry and then to bed.  By the way, Bill and I get separate rooms.  Not that we don't love one another, we just can't sleep together.  He goes to bed about 7 and I go much later, sometimes around 11 or 12.  Plus, I like to watch TV (won't be doing that here, this is Fox News all the time territory) or read.

So there you go folks, the end of Day One of Ron and Bill's Fabulous Road Trip to the Homeland.  This will probably be our last annual trip.  We're losing it folks.  Not the confident youngsters we used to be.  Two slightly nervous and increasingly forgetful old men making the trek.  We're not making an appointment at the Brandywine Senior Living Center in Rehoboth yet (like our friends Bob and Jim) but I can see that in another ten years if we're here, just could be.  In the meantime, we're making the most of every day.  Now if I just would have remembered to bring that acid reflex medicine with me.

Me at Cracker Barrel enduring the screaming little darlings


Jon said...

Two things that I really hate: cigarette smoke and screaming kids.I even hate kids when they're not screaming.
You've written the details of your journey so vividly that I feel like I'm there - - the only good thing is I don't have to drive.
Take care and have fun.

Ron said...

Thank you Jon. Receiving a compliment from you, who I consider an excellent writer, is a great honor for me. I just write the words (or type them) and they come to my head. No formal training or writing classes. However, I do wish I had paid more attention during my English classes. I remember our teacher, Miss Laird, often telling us student who weren't paying attention to all the adverbs and conjunctives that "You'll be sorry some day you weren't paying attention." Heck, I'm still not sure what an adverb is or a conjunction. I think an adverb is something that "moves" and a conjunction is "and, or, an", connecting two words together. And that darn old double infinitive. Still confused by that.
Oh the screaming kids. This kid tonight had a piercing scream that I'm sure did damage to some people's eardrums. My God, one would think the kid was being murdered. I like kids but man oh man parents, leave them at home.

Always good to hear from you Jon. Sorry about that little snarky comment I put in about the Republicans. Sometimes I can't help myself.


Anonymous said...

Glad it's going so well. Wish I'd realized you were an hour down the road, I'd have come harassed you!

I try real hard to ignore the screaming kids, my family had 3 of them (I was a charmer, I'm sure).

Great post, even if the typing was a bit higher than normal. Hope the rest is as uneventful. Oh, and I love the Chespeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.

Peace <3

nitewrit said...


How come you had to go to Enterprise. They've always come and got me when I rented from them?


anne marie in philly said...

kids - UGH! glad I never had any!

I sense a stop at CVS for some tummy meds. do try to stay away from the grease, honey; it ain't good for ya! and we ain't getting any younger either!

I would LOVE to hear bill's take on what has changed since he lived in GA. amtrak's "crescent" stops in toccoa (train between NYC - NOL), so I've "been there".

David Jeffreys said...

Marion, NC??? We used to have a summer home between Burnsville and the TN line. Sometimes as a shortcut, rather going all the way to Asheville, we would get off I-40 at Marion and take NC-80 up over the mountains. My son who was a teenager at the time called it "Barf 80" because all the hairpin turns made him carsick. Is that anywhere near Upper Pigeon Roost Road?

Amanda said...

Glad you made it so far in one piece!

Java said...

The first time I was ever on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel ( that I recall, anyway) was with Jay M. on our way to Lewes last month. I enjoyed it from the back seat of Jay's SUV.

There you are, heading toward my neck of the woods, and I'm in Florida. How long will you be in Greenville? We live in Greenwood, a scant hour south of Greenville. I won't be back home until late Tuesday or maybe Wednesday.

I hope you and Bill have a joyful and productive trip without too much unnecessary drama.

I find it amusing that you and Bill get separate rooms when you travel. I kinda like your relationship. It meets the different needs that each of you have.

wcs said...

Bon voyage, boys!

Anonymous said...

I’m enjoying reading about your trip. It will be especially interesting reading your impressions of the area where you are heading, places where I’ve lived and traveled a lot. I hope all your adventures are successful and enjoyable. The weather is looking good for your time there. Good luck!

Paul Forster said...

I think it's wonderful you and Bill are still going on holidays together! Look forward to catching up with the rest of your trip. Hate indigestion! Used to get it a lot but probably eat less fatty foods now!

Ron said...


Unfortunately Day Two of our trip wasn't as good. In fact a major problem occurred which I cannot write about until I leave the area. We are having beautiful weather though. Last time Bill and I were down it rained almost every day.


Ron said...

Thank you Walt.


Ron said...


Yes, we are having great weather, though a bit colder than I expected. We can handle that though, better than hot and humid.

Today we encountered a problem which I will write about later.


Ron said...


When I first rode through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel I thought it was fun and an adventure. But ever since I saw the movie "What Dreams May Come" where the Robin Williams character gets mowed down by a ten wheeler truck in such a tunnel, I'm not seeing the "fun" in this tunnel anymore. You might call it the "Psycho Syndrome".


Ron said...


Talk about all those hairpin turns. They were fun at first but not now. We didn't get sick but we did get tired of them. We hope to go to Burnsville tomorrow.


Ron said...


Didn't think of it but maybe that's what we should do the next time. Instead of my driving my car down to pick it up and then both of us driving cars back. Doesn't make too much sense does it? However, this is probably our last trip for renting vans. Especially after what happened today.


Ron said...


I'm not a fan of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel but I'll take that over going around Washington D.C. and the traffic of Alexandra, VA which is what we endured last year. What a nightmare.

Unfortunately the trip was not "uneventful" today. A big disappointment which I will blog about later in the week.


Ron said...

Anne Marie,

Bill says a LOT has changed. We'll be in Toccoa on Wednesday and Thursday. He loves the old Toccoa train station, so many memories.