Sunday, April 16, 2017

Day 20 - Home again but not without a lot of driving

My confidence in making the right decisions to travel swiftly being broken by my experiences on this trip I set out early to be sure I made it to my lunch date with Tony and Gale a couple who figured in my cross-country blog last summer.   Between when we saw them in Utah and now we did spend a couple of days with them in Barcelona besides and found them exceptional company.  They were at the Maryland shore and they agreed that a lunch together would be fun so it was arranged but now I had to show up on time.  And I did!  Well I almost did, being two minutes late, mostly because my car mislead me as to where to park and I had to walk a couple of minutes down the street.

Tony and Gale are early retiree travelers who do it right.  They do not just visit places for a day or two.  They stay for at least a week at each stop and really explore an area.  They have great insights into places and I should have talked to them about Kitty Hawk before I went there.  They will be gone on their current East Coast trip for 3 months.  The next stop will be Washington DC which they have never visited so will be there almost a month.  We will be down there next weekend and will get to spend another day with them.  In any case to prove how compatible we are we all had the same lunch right down to the unsweetened iced tea.  It was certainly worth the side trip and the two hours out of my day to chat with them.

Having left the Maryland shore I got to drive over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel for the first time in 40 years.   The least time involved the most unlikely coincidence in my life where I had met my family in New Jersey for breakfast and was following my father down to my grandfather's place in Virginia.  I split Christmas that year between my family in the morning and my girlfriend that night I had gotten very little sleep.  Taking my brother with me, not to help with driving, as he could not drive a standard, we left the restaurant in the pouring rain.  We did not even make it 100 feet down the road when the wipers quit on my car.  As my father disappeared in the driving rain we limped to a gas station where the guy was too busy to help us but did allow me to borrow some tools.  I got them working again but you did have to occasionally kick the motor up under the dashboard.  We then proceeded towards Virginia figuring we would call for directions when we hit town.  However when just starting over the first bridge I saw in my rear view mirror my father pulling out of a scenic overlook.  Merry Christmas.
It is a little spooky to look ahead and see the bridge end abruptly.  Sorry for the quality but the windshield was bug splattered after 3000 miles of spring travel.  One of the disadvantages of not getting gas is not getting to use the windshield cleaning stuff the gas stops provide.

Although the bridge looks the same all those years later, some things have changed. First cars are actually more dependable now.  While three of my first four cars had a windshield wiper failure, the fourth being just a summer car that I barely drove, none of my subsequent cars have lost wiper function.  Now before leaving for a destination we plug the address into a GPS either in the car, or on our phones, so there would have been no problem finding our way once having lost the lead car.    Standard transmissions are dwindling in numbers in the US but my brother now owns one so he could have driven that day.  In addition, this time my car drove itself over the bridge sections. I drove into and through the tunnels as they are one lane and there is a merge going into them that I did not trust the car with. The Tesla is a rocket ship compared to the Volvo 144 I drove over the bridge the last time.  Actually in fact the Tesla has more computing power than the space vehicles of that era.

In any case this travelogue ends here as I got home about 10:30pm safe and sound with 15 miles on the battery.  Tomorrow we remove the bugs from Hobson's snout and windshield, pay bills and get back to life in the slow lane again.
I was there, shortly, just like I promised


Norfolk VA - This was in a ginormous (just so you know the spellchecker did not flinch at that word) parking lot between two long strip malls of stores.  This is the epitome of the new trend for placing lots of stores in one big area.  Alas there was no place to get breakfast but Walmart and I would rather starve then give them money.
Stores as far as one can see on both sides.  It is similar in front of the car too.

Salisbury, MD. - This was at a mall which like most malls in the US has seen better days.  One anchor store was empty and one of the surviving anchors is Sears which I do not expect to be around much longer.  The mall fad seems to be ending leaving these monstrous empty buildings.  I wish I could figure out a good use for them.

Hamilton Township, NJ  - Yet another one of these large shopping plazas carved out between major thoroughfares that are taking the place of malls.  This one had more character as it was not just a single parking lot lined with stores like Norfolk.  The chargers were also next to the Barnes and Noble where I could get something to eat and hang out.  This was one of the nicest places for a supercharger I have been to. 

Darien, CT - Last one for the trip.  This one was baffling as the map told me there were four chargers but I only saw two.  I hooked up to one and looked up to see a Tesla drove right past.  It turns out there were two more on the other side of the building where I did see his car.  Not the best set-up fior either of them as they are too close to the rest stop building so at a couple of points the other spot was ICE'd in both places.  Tesla usually places them far from the buildings so nobody but us will park there.  It also gives us some exercise.  They did have a soccer game on in the rest stop so I watched some of that while picking up the charge I needed to get home.

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