LA/XC-3 DAYS TWENTY-SEVEN AND TWENTY-EIGHT: CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA; ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, AND WESTPORT, CONNECTICUT
Day Twenty-seven mileage: 260
Day Twenty-eight mileage: 304
Total LA/XC-3 mileage: 7,978.4 (FINAL!)
Road music: Sirius cycle; Eric Church (Carolina, Chief, Sinners Like Me); Hank’s 200 Favorite Songs Of All Time playlist
Weather leaving Chapel Hill Tuesday afternoon: 84 degrees and brilliant sunshine
Weather arriving Westport, CT Wednesday evening: 75 degrees and balmy — especially considering it’s October, for crying out loud!
Two-day state tally: 7 (North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut)
Gas money to date: $1,579.95 (FINAL!)
Earlier today, did my 13-mile round-trip bike ride for iced coffee and egg-and-cheese at Jack’s, my home-away-from-home-away-from-home (this is actually
precise terminology; c’mon, figure it out!) in Amagansett. Had made it back to Westport Wednesday at 6:50 PM — and 43 hours later, was in the car again on the road to Montauk. (Took Matt’s Corolla this time; am getting very adept at switching cars.) As Ilene, my Teaneck High School friend by way of Los Angeles commented when I took off for Vermont just four days after returning from LA/XC-2 last year, “You aren’t just Beagle Man, you are clearly Wanderlust Dude, too.” Maybe she’s right. Clearly, the Beagle Man doesn’t like to let grass grow under his feet. This afternoon I was watching the Atlantic rolling up to the sand just a few feet from my beach chair and thinking, hey, I just finished driving across this whole country from that other ocean.
Ricky, by the way, did not make this Montauk trip. That was a Mrs. B decision, although I have no doubt I’ll be reading in an upcoming Roof Rack Report that somehow it’s my fault.
Didn’t leave Jeff & Joan’s house in Alexandria on Wednesday till 1:23 PM. You might expect, with such a late
get-away, and with Westport and The Finish Line in my sights, I’d want to sprint home as fast as humanly possible. But my thinking was, why stop being obsessive now? I’m going to go to Hank’s Oyster Bar in Old Town and take a photo — just as I’d always intended. But when I arrived at 1026 King Street, it wasn’t Hank’s Oyster Bar at all; it was Revel Style, an edgy “Los Angeles-influenced” clothing boutique. There was absolutely no “Hank’s” to be seen. Bummer. At least the indicator on my dash said I was heading north, so I didn’t waste a lot of time on the boondoggle.
And even if I had, what’s 5 more miles in the scheme of an 8,000-mile road trip?
Moments later, an amazing thing happened: I spotted a sign for 95 NORTH/NEW YORK, and while I was reflecting on my mini-recorder (there are actually four of us in this thing together on the road trip: Beagle Man, Ricky, Lady Garmin, and Mini) how nothing makes me feel more like home than signs to I-95, I see something that makes me feel even closer to home: a sign for WESTPORT!!! Of course, it was Westport, MD, a neighborhood of south Baltimore that was being referred to. But still . . .
And now, a few wrap-up-style observations (Ricky warned you this would be coming):
• My famed LA/XC Diet has been yielding diminishing returns with each rendition of this trip. The first year, when I hadn’t figured out how to drive my 300-500 miles a day and also manage to eat, I lost 7 pounds. Last year, I dropped 4. This year . . . just one measly pound. My final meal on the road was a truly lovely dinner with Jeff & Joan and Maggie & Philip at the Chart House in Alexandria, overlooking the Potomac. I had a Caesar salad, a lobster tail, and two glasses of Pinot Grigio. This was all too typical of my meals-on-the-go during LA/XC-3. I’m wondering how this didn’t result in massive weight loss.
• I’m all right with the motels that charge a pet fee of $10, or $15, or even $25. It’s when they charge up to $100 (happened several times!) that I get a little peeved. And what really gets me ticked off: When they call these fees a “pet deposit.” It’s not a deposit: A deposit gets returned. No, this is a pet penalty. Or pet extortion.
• And while I’m on pet peeves: Since it often takes one truck an entire freaking state to pass another truck, how ’bout the passing truck looks back to see if there’s maybe a nice little old car that might want to squirt ahead before the two trucks form their hour-long blockade? (You can probably tell I’ve been on the road a bit too long . . .)
• I often claim that one of Ricky’s best traits as my shotgun pal is that he never, ever complains about my choice of music, or the volume. I have to admit though, that on Day 27, when I played Eric Church’s “It Ain’t Killed Me Yet” — my 112th favorite song of all time — and turned the volume way, way up, Ricky finally dove for cover in the well under the front dash
• And the winner is . . . Linda G, from Colchester CT! Of the thousands upon thousands of entries in my LA/XC-3 Guess-the-Total-Mileage contest, Linda’s entry of 8,464 came closest to the actual total of 7,978. Since Linda happens to be a student in my Trinity writing class that starts on Wednesday, I’ll be able to deliver her special prize in person! (I’ll crunch some more fascinating trip numbers for y’all in an upcoming post.)
• Wanna hear something absolutely amazing? I did not read a single word on this entire trip that was not related to my next stop. Not word one! Not a newspaper, not the one issue of Rolling Stone I brought with me, not the book I left home still in the middle of. What with putting in the mileage, and keeping up with Ricky’s meds, and sight-seeing, and visiting, and posting on Beagle Man . . . not a whole lot of discretionary time left over. (Also, didn’t run, except for a couple of days in Santa Monica when Carol was there to look after Ricky, and didn’t do my herniated disk-related back stretches once.)
• Maybe even more unbelievably, I did not have a rainy day — did not use my wipers on anything beyond intermittent — the whole way across the country and back!!! Therefore, once again considering using the Jeep Wrangler for next year.