The Grand Road Trip – final thoughts


Swiftly bringing to a close the grand road trip ramblings because now it’s time to get ready for Halloween, my most fun holiday of the year!  Check out my YouTube videos all week for a look “inside” the making of a JMD Halloween.

So, since this is a “wrap up” post, we’ll stray from the usual format and jut do some classic bullet pointing.

  • A last note about the Avalon.  The car performed above my expectations.  I got the smooth, comfortable ride I was familiar with, but the gas mileage exceeded my previous standards.  During the drive from North Carolina to Washington, the car averaged nearly 35 mpg…and that’s over mountainous terrain.  Show me how many other luxury cars can pull that off…let alone at 7 years old!


  • I am awfully glad I have satellite radio.  When I first thought about paying for radio, I was typically “no way will I ever”.  But the variety and ability to change from music to talk to sports to news was valuable in helping my drive the long distances alone (critical, during my final marathon run).


  • Likewise, my navigatin system was a flawless companion, helping ease any nervousness going into unfamiliar territories.  Since I followed her directions precisely, the voice guide never got cross with me (I could swear she gets an edge in her voice when I don’t take the turn(s) she suggests).


  • Along that same line, it is somewhat strange to look down at the turn list and see my next turn (off I-95), was not for 792 miles.  Just a little longer than my usual trips.


  • One thing that is the same everywhere…I-95 is I-95.  Be on that road near a city at rush hour and it’s the same snarls as back home.  Plus, it seems the road always has to be under construction at some point in every city as well.  That’s one little piece of home I could have done without.


  • People are different.  Yeah, no duh.  Seriously, down here, I can say “hi” to people on the street and most will say “hi” back.  This was mostly the case in Jacksonville, too.  Not as much in Atlanta but back to most in North Carolina.  Almost no one in D.C. responded, resident or tourist.  Odd.


  • I can’t decide, but I think I prefer driving alone even though it’s a rigorous effort to stay focused sometimes.  I guess the only way to find out is to take a long drive with someone next and compare.  Still, I don’t need to stop much, eat much or drink much, so I can get between point A and point B pretty fast…even at speed limit.


  • There’s a lot to see in this beautiful and amazing country of ours.  I think the only way to do a road trip right is probably to have no actual return date set…maybe not even any real destinations.  I wish I could have stopped at all the little towns along the way to talk with people (assuming they would) and see what the “rest of the country” is like.  I don’t know if I have the stamina for that, but it’s an appealing idea.


  • Despite the inclement weather and crazy roads, I think driving is much more relaxing and free than flying.  In fact, my one concern about midway through the trip is that I might be too comfortable in my car.  There was a lot of extra space to buy stuff and not worry about cramming suitcases or extra fees to bring it back home.  I also liked bringing my pillow along (a pain to bring on the airplane).


  • Finally, I learned I better start practicing before my big trip to every baseball park in North America.  Just like any other exercise, I need to work my way up to riding around in the car for six months!

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