GNABRT Day 64 – What went right

What went rightIt’s retrospective time for the Great North American Baseball Road Trip, as the final week on the road ticks away yet another day towards my return home.

I spent the latter part of the day with my friend and her family in Oxford (the town next door).  I met their three large dogs and (thankfully) none of their cats and had a great time chatting away before a home-cooked dinner.

Especially awesome was the cucumber salad, which I haven’t had since Mom made it for me (I really need to learn how to make that myself).  It was great!  The rest of the meal was, too, but, c’mon, cucumber salad!!

On my way back to the hotel, I stopped at Wal-Mart for some coffee ice cream (I had a hankering…tough).

Today’s friend and tomorrow’s visit are both social media progeny, with today’s first met online and tomorrow’s reconnected via online.  It once again supports the idea that social networks can provide healthy opportunities for real live meetings.

Given the next two days are non-baseball visits with friends days, I get to spend some time considering the trip and the good and bad observed.  But before we dive in, let’s do our obligatory…

The City:  Henderson, North Carolina.  As with other small cities I’ve stopped in (Kalispell, Driggs, etc.), there’s not a lot of stories to tell about Henderson.

I can tell you it’s 40 miles north of the capital (Raleigh).  I can tell you the first “settled” home was by Samuel Reavis.  I shouldn’t need to tell you the city took off because of the railroad (you must know by now that boomed every town it went into).

How about that Reavis’ son, Lewis, named the town after his friend Judge Leonard Henderson (official in 1841).  Henderson’s big industries were tobacco, cotton and textiles.  Sadly, another thing I shouldn’t have to tell you is that the town was decimated by terrible fires in the late 1800’s.

The plucky endurance of 19th century Americans led to the rebuilding of the town, as in so many others, and Henderson thrives today, diversified into wider economic sources while retaining the sleepy small town feel.

What went right on the GNABRT:

– It cannot be stressed enough how gracious Mother Nature has been to me.  Despite inclement weather at several of my destinations, not a single day was adversely affected by bad weather.  Even the day I canceled to the Hall of Fame would have ultimately been fine had I enough stamina at that point to handle the rain-soaked driving.

– Though I may quibble with the schedule (see tomorrow’s blog), the path laid out fit precisely to my plans and afforded me a game in every possible advantageous clime.  Though it was unseasonably cool in California, it was still preferable to the potentially cold nights in the Northeast, if I had made those my first stops.

– My choices for snack items and drinks worked out effectively, including my last few containers probably scheduled to run out on or about my last day of the trip.  I kept the quantity of “bad snacks” to a minimum, important considering the fast food I was forced to eat so much of.

= The car was a smart purchase.  The handling was smooth, the gas mileage was excellent and the comfort was terrific.  I have some quibbles with the NAV, but that’s between me and the dealership when I return.

– I made a late switch to a new credit card just before I left (one that offered a higher % cash back).  I chose to use the old card at all the gas stations, since the new one had the chip and I didn’t know if every station could handle that.  The decision was also useful considering the credit limit on the new card versus all those hotel charges.

– I also guessed correctly on the amount of bath items needed for the trip.  Soap, shampoo and other items look to run out just about the time I finish the trip.  I don’t care for all the scented stuff provided by the hotels, in case you were wondering.

– Finally, my budget came in very close to right on.  It appears I may come in slightly better than projected due to lower food costs.  Keep in mind I revised the budget twice before leaving (ending up nearly twice my original estimate), but it looks like I was dead on with line items like hotels, gas and ticket costs.

As you’ll see tomorrow, there were many opportunities for improvement.  That said, the trip has been a phenomenal success.

4 days until heading home!

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