Monday, April 16, 2018

The long grey ribbon

Petersburg, VA – We are just south of Richmond tonight, having crossed three states, and we are tired. By our calculations, we’ve covered about 445 miles. Some of them, especially in Georgia, were pretty rough, with a broken surface or striated with grooves that made the wheels whine for miles. The grooves were to prepare the highway for a fresh paving job, but by my estimation we’d have to wait till well into the summer to enjoy that driving pleasure. This time of year, it was orange cones, road work signs, narrowed lanes and the occasional road crew actually working in the road work areas.
After checking weather forecasts for the days of our trip before departure, we actually expected rain every day. Yesterday we got it from about 3 pm onward, but today? Not a drop, thank goodness. The day dawned clear and bright, and although grey clouds drifted in as the hours passed, they behaved themselves.

No earth-shattering events took place in our world today. However, it was fun to watch the vegetation change from very southern greenery that includes palmettos and Spanish moss, to forests with just deciduous and evergreen trees. By the time we got to North Carolina, I was delighted to see blossom trees from time to time – particularly dogwoods, but also cherry trees and something else that resembled lilacs in bloom (but wasn’t lilacs).

Southern country it remained, though, judging from the highway signs. Ads for boiled peanuts, gun shops, fireworks, and southern cooking prevailed, plus two huge Confederate flags that I didn’t manage to capture with my cell phone camera.

There were also tons of huge signs for “South of the Border” that counted down the miles to the site with corny word tricks and pictures of Pedro in a sombrero every two miles. Finally, we came to a curve in the highway and there, high above the treeline, was a huge sombrero marking the long-awaited (by some) site! It was an enormous Mexican theme park. Whew, I thought to myself, no more corn-ball signs. Then? “Adios” a mile later! Argh!

We took a short break at a lovely rest area after crossing into Virginia. It was beautifully landscaped and clean, and gave us a welcome chance to just stretch our legs and enjoy the day. It never got very warm today – I think 18C was the warmest it got, and that didn’t happen till quite late, and there was a constant wind that swirled through the trees all the way. I know we will have to pile on more layers the further north we go, but I do love the freshness of the spring air.

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