Road trippin’

So last week I shared a few teasers from our moving road trip, and yes, we did go North before going South, and yes, we did have to visit a mechanic (though it’s the best “needing a mechanic” story we could have hoped for). Here’s the scoop…

Map route

It’s been many years since we took a long driving trip anywhere.  I’d much rather take the train or fly than spend a ton of time in the car. So I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed our road trip from Virginia to Florida. ABF picked up our truck on Thursday, August 1st, and we spent that evening and the following day tying up loose ends around town.  We ate at the Dumpling Window and Kohr Brothers one last time, went around town collecting our belongings or returning things we’d borrowed, and said a last farewell to quite a few people.  Then, on Saturday morning, the three of us headed north with our air mattress, unpackable liquids (propane tanks, motor oil, etc.), important items we didn’t want to put on the truck (like family photos and my computer), and my car hitched to the back of the Jeep.

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Yup, we headed north. We decided to swing by NJ and visit my in-laws while we were still driving distance away. We aren’t sure how often we’ll get up there with Scottie, so we wanted to take him, but mostly we just wanted to see them. We were there from Saturday evening through Tuesday morning. We enjoyed time relaxing together and celebrating Chris’s dissertation defense.

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Heather and Dave grew this bad boy!

On Tuesday we packed everything up and started making our way to Florida. We took our preferred western route to DC – over to Harrisburg, PA and then south through Frederick, MD. No tolls and way less traffic. We passed through Harrisburg around lunchtime, and we were starting to get hungry. I really wanted to hit up our favorite pit-stop, Al’s Pizza & Subs, but our usual location in Carlisle was a little out of the way. Luckily, the magic box (a.k.a. iPhone) told us there was another location right along the way in Mechanicsburg. Woot woot! We made our way there, and when we arrived I went in to hit up the restroom. When I came out I saw that the hood of the Jeep was open. Hrmmm. Turns out a radiator hose busted and coolant was pouring out of the car. So we ordered some food and figured out a plan. Chris knew that he could fix it easily, but it was raining, and the thought of getting covered in coolant and dirt from laying under the car at the Autozone and then getting back on the road wasn’t too appealing. The magic box found us a shop, Jim’s Automotive Repair, that was only 2 miles away. We called Jim up and explained the problem, and he said he’d have the part brought over and to come on by. We let the car cool down while we ate, and then we slowly made our way over there with a close eye on the thermostat. Good ol’ Jeep Jeep… he had no trouble, even with another car on his rear! We sat waiting at Jim’s for about an hour while he did the repair, and he charged us a reasonable price and sent us on our merry way. Seriously guys, how is it possible that it was that easy? Definitely keep this in mind for your next road trip… if you’re going to break down and need a mechanic, make sure you do it in Mechanicsburg, PA.

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Unphased by our little detour

We’d intended to make it to Durham, NC that night… Chris needed to make a quick stop at the Research Data Center to work with his data… but while our car trouble was super convenient as car trouble goes, it did extend our day a bit. So, we made it almost to the VA-NC border. We did get to Durham the next afternoon, and after the quick pit-stop there we headed on down to Charleston, SC.

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We stayed in Charleston Wednesday and Thursday nights. Our ol’ Clemson pals, Justin and Maya, along with our new puppy pal, Dexter, were very gracious to put us up even though they’d just had a lightning strike/fire/flood of the guest room (that’s a crazy story for ya). We are forever grateful for their hospitality! After arriving Wednesday evening we met up with two other ol’ Clemson pals, Jon and Julie, at Mellow Mushroom.

Thursday was our beach day! We took Scottie and Dexter to Folly’s Island with us for brunch at Rita’s (they have a serious plate of shrimp and grits). Then we headed for the lighthouse but discovered we couldn’t take the puppies. Oops! So we switched gears and took them to the dog park by Justin and Maya’s house. After some fabulous playtime there we dropped them off and headed back to the beach ourselves. We had time for a little fun in the sun and dip in the ocean, and then we were off to Jon and Julie’s for the amazing dinner that Jules whipped up and so Chris could see their house (he hadn’t made it down to Charleston since they finished building). Chris joined in on Jon’s kickball game after dinner while Julie and I spectated, and then we just sat and visited until late in the evening.

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Friday, a.k.a. Flori-day, arrived a bit abruptly. We’d called the day before for a status update on our ABF truck delivery, and they’d reported that everything was set for Friday. Nonetheless, that morning we awoke to a phone call from them telling us that our truck wasn’t going to make it that day. This was not good, as my folks had driven up to Tallahassee to receive the truck for us on Friday, and we had unloaders scheduled for Saturday morning (ABF doesn’t do deliveries on weekends). Much drama and a flurry of phone calls ensued, but by lunchtime Chris had taken care of business and everything was sorted out… he even got them to make a special Saturday delivery for us somehow… love that guy. We drove the last leg to Tallahassee and arrived at our new home to be greeted by my mom and dad, flowers, freshly baked cookies, presents, and delicious hard cider. It was a great end to a great week!

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