Friday, September 17, 2010

BIG Road Trip to South Carolina

On Wednesday this week I set off on a work road trip. I drove through Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and on to Lyman, South Carolina, which is 500 miles. On Thursday I had my work meeting and then set off back for home. Blimey. I'm actually impressed that I can drive for 1,000 miles over two days and not get killed in a car crash or get kidnapped by toothless hillbillies, or run off the road asleep and end up upside down in a ditch. Now, I'm extra thankful that I didn't run into one of the tornadoes that ripped through Ohio. Ohio State's research station in Wooster was smashed and the Secrest Arboretum destroyed. It's such a loss.

My trip was memorable though. On Wednesday night I stayed at the Walnut Lane Inn B&B in Lyman, owned by Hoyt & David. It's a 1902 plantation house that farmed cotton, beef and crops, so lots of USA history. My bedroom was like something out of "Gone with the Wind". At breakfast the following morning, Hoyt and I made friends and we talked about life and ghosts! He told me that my room was the most haunted. Thankfully he didn't tell me pre-check-in about the giggling ladies in taffeta or I'd have spent the night fully dressed, eyes wide open in bed with a pen in my fist ready to poke some ghosties eyes out. For breakfast he made me a Monte Cristo, then gave me a hug and sent me on my way to my work appointment at 8am . . . .

My work appointment, who I had driven 9 hours to meet, made me take my shoes off and wash my hands before we greeted each other. I was gracious and did as he asked. The appointment was worth the drive. I learned more in 3 hours than I would have learned on my own in 3 weeks. When it was time to leave & I said "cheerio!" to him and shook his hand & he said "would you like to wash your hands before you leave?" and I said "No mate, no need". Strange but very intelligent man.


On the drive home I had a couple of moments that were interesting to say the least. Firstly, I learnt not to overtake the sheriff of South Carolina doing 85 mph while he's doing 70 mph. That makes sheriffs a teeny bit angry. He pulled me over & gave me a very stern verbal caution and then let me off. I apologized at least 4 times and had the shakes afterwards for 15 miles. Phew. And then, after 18 hours of driving, I suddenly realized that my music taste has totally changed over the years. My love has always been pop and rock and Indie music but I am now drawn to music from my past and to current music that is really different. Now, I want Duran Duran, not Lady Gaga. I much prefer Johnny Cash to Katy Perry. Queen and the Beatles over Maroon 5 and Eminem. But good grief - radio channels get worse as you go south. Ohio was very cultural and played great music but by the time I got to South Carolina most stations were all about talk-show hosts being very pious and judgmental and talking about everybody's "seens" (sins). Makes me want to commit one just listening to them and you can't help feeling that most of them go home and beat their wives & watch porn.


So anyway, enough about the oddities of my journey. My favourite part of the trip was the scenery. I travelled through the Appalachian & Blue Ridge Mountains and it was breathtakingly beautiful. The leaves were just turning and the roads were empty, so I could wind my way over the tops and in the valleys and through mountain tunnels as if I was a Formula 1 driver (hence Mr. pissed-off sheriff). At one point I was breezing along a huge curving mountain road in Beckley, West Virginia, one of mine & Craig's favourite places on earth, and I sang along to "Take me Home Country Road" by John Denver which is a wonderful song but oh, I do wish I had heard this version ....





A great trip then - HUGELY important for my job. It was great to get home though and see Craig and the boys. As much as I love going on these adventures, there is no place like home.

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