We were the first to leave on Wednesday. Both daughters and Ryan had flights out of Harrisburg later that day, but we needed to make some road time. We had decided to take a route through Greensboro, North Carolina since it was an area we would likely be frequenting after daughter Julie started her new job there. It was recorded as a six hour drive mostly on I-75 and US 29.
It is so common for us to leave Pennsylvania in a dense fog. We traveled past the mountain overlooks with no views except swirling white clouds. One year I even took pictures of the fog. They’re not very exciting pictures.
I don’t like people to be miserable on my road trips. I try to stop regularly at the slightest provocation. Nevertheless, there are times when I overdo it. We stopped at another of Mom’s fast food restaurants, Wendy’s, for lunch. But since we were wanting to see Greensboro in daylight, and maybe get a little farther before dark, we kept going steadily. There’s a lot of pretty scenery in Virginia and North Carolina. Once the rain stopped, it was a nice drive all the way to the parking lot of Carolina Equine, the vet hospital where Julie will work. It was about fifteen minutes before closing so we drove around the building once and traveled on. I’m not sure what I expected from Greensboro, except to get the lay of the land. Dirt in that part of NC is orange, not my favorite color for dirt. Other than that, it looked like a nice medium sized city.
It got dark and time for us to stop driving but suddenly there were no more cities. We were no longer on an interstate so there were no exits with motels. I was tired and not sure I wanted to go all the way to I-95. And then there was Bennetsville, South Carolina which promised a couple hotels according to my GPS. They were not recognizable chains, which always tends to make me a little nervous. I checked a room in the first one and knew we would not be happy there. The second one was scarcely any better. And then the husband saw a Quality Inn listed on his phone. It was a resting place from God, really. It was clean, quiet and only a quarter mile from Kentucky Fried Chicken, the last fast food place on Mom’s favorite list. We had a party-like atmosphere going on with our bucket of chicken and a Dolly Parton Christmas movie on the tv in our room.
We could have made it home the next day, but going through Jacksonville, we decided to call daughter Julie and see how she was doing. She was overwhelmed with work, and needed help getting her personal truck out of the shop. There was no way we could help her and still get home to Bradenton at a reasonable hour. We were on our way out of town, thinking about how disappointed she sounded when Mom suggested that other option – we just stay a night in Jacksonville. We pulled off I-295 at Commonwealth where Julie’s office was located and made a plan to get her vehicle for her. Located conveniently behind her office was another Quality Inn, which felt strangely like home after our last night. We ended up having another party and Julie joined us.
I am sold on Quality Inn and it’s sister hotels. A great breakfast makes the price worth it, the room has linens and pillows better than I have at home, and the staff was friendly and attentive. They signed me up for a Choice Privileges rewards program and you can sign up too at this link or calling the number on the card above. They did not pay me to write this. They rescued us twice on this trip and I owe them.
We got home the next day by noon. It was an uneventful drive. The end of ordinary times and travel, at least for now.