OMW: I-95 Adventures, Vol. 57


OMW: I-95 Adventures, Vol. 57

M.D. Wright

3.24.2011

I’m going to do this one rather quickly, because I’ve got business to handle. Given that I haven’t written all month, due to a hectic interviewing schedule, case study due, fatigue and March Madness, I find this time to be appropriate. Besides, I always share my road trip adventures, and since I got my license in 1999, I’ve made 57 of these NY-to-NC/NC-to-NY trips. This is the latest version.

Premise

We’re on Spring Break from March 16-27 so I decided to use the time to truly press hard to find a different job, as I am most likely not going back to the Y! I’m also going back to Real Estate now that the high season is in full effect beginning April 1.

I needed to be out of the apartment on last Saturday, due to a party my friend was having, so I had to rush and make plans. I could have gone to Bronx to chill with a friend, but I really needed to get away from New York for a while. I don’t know how to relax and if I never leave home, I’ll never be able to relax, as I’m always planning, strategizing, and running all over the city on various missions. It takes its toll on me physically, mentally and emotionally, so it was time to get away.

I gave plenty of people a head’s up that I was going to head down south. Initially, I had no concrete plans. I got a good rate as a Hertz Gold customer, so I rented a little Mazda 3, got some gear and kicks together in a bag, threw them in the car and just drove.

and as usual, the adventures began.

It was a Saturday and many people failed to look at the Weather Channel that day, thinking that because it was 80 on Friday (even though the winds of change came right around sunset that night, and it got chilly before midnight), that it was going to be just as warm Saturday. The Turnpike was loaded, so I detoured around it. This was the ONE TIME I wanted to take the Turnpike because I wanted to get to a relative’s crib in time to watch Connecticut take on Cincinnati at 9:45 PM that night. I had left home right around noon, so I figured I would be right on that time if I took Route 1 (which is what I do 90% of the time heading south).

BIG MISTAKE.

Route 1 was clogged as well, and I nearly got run off the road by some Masshole lunatic who was trying to get to Newark Airport. Detoured, came back around and took the local through Elizabeth and was getting caught at every light until I darn near got to New Brunswick.

I normally will take Route 130 from there or I-295 southward, then go through Philadelphia instead of paying the Delaware Memorial Bridge toll, but again, I was trying to make time, and going through Philly is an extra 20-30 minutes.

When I made the turn off to get to 130, I decided last minute that I was going to try to take 295 anyway, because the traffic was just causing me to get caught at every light.

BIG MISTAKE.

I made a wrong turn in the loop and after driving for about 25 minutes (it doesn’t take long), I began seeing even more signs for Monmouth, Freehold, BELMAR and I saw bridges and water. DEAR GOD. I had made the wrong turn, but being a navigator, you’d THINK I would have realized that 295 was only 5 minutes away, not nearly a half hour and I should have realized it BEFORE I got to Belmar ha. Turn around, speed back, duck all the cops and finally I ended up doing what I probably should have done to begin with, which is take the Turnpike. It took me 3 hours to get out of Jersey SMH.

I didn’t eat until I got near Baltimore.

From there, the trip was smooth until I got to northern Virginia. Construction nightmares galore just outside Warshinton and again just north of Richmond with two lanes merging to one. That was the final straw. Despite my foibles in Jersey, I was still in position to get to at least Henderson, NC by 9:30 before I ran into the Virginia construction traffic.

By the time I get to the other side of Richmond, it was almost 8:00. FAIL.

I was able to do 70 for the rest of the state (the only good thing about driving through VA is the speed limit is 70 outside of the city limits of Richmond, Fredericksburg, etc.) and got to the North Carolina State Line at 10:00 sharp. I didn’t mind much, I had only missed what, the first 5-6 minutes of game time? My cousins live only about 15 minutes from there, so I could catch the final 7-8 minutes of the 1st Half and then watch the 2nd, right?

My uncle was in bed early, because he had to go to work early the next day.

My cousin Craig was at my cousin George’s crib, whose house I have not been to in about 4 years and didn’t have time to be trying to navigate around the country to find.

By then, I gave up, after contacting my cousin Josh and finding out I wouldn’t be able to stop by there either.

At this point it was nearly 11:00, and since I was heading to Raleigh anyway, I just took NC-39 to Route 401 and chilled there for a few hours, since I was exhausted. Caught up on the times with a fellow UNCG alum friend and then had to catch my parents before they went to church that morning.

I SLEPT FROM 8:00 AM UNTIL 3:00 PM SUNDAY HA.

I went out and tried to catch up with the homie Nickie, but that was a study in epic fail for several reasons, and I just decided to watch a little hoops, went to see my cousins, since I hadn’t been to their house since they got married two years ago and used that time to spend time catching up with my parents. As usual, everything is about Church and Bible and jokes from my dad. I came away from that feeling justified for not having been in church in over 3 years now ha. People disgust me in the church and while my own rebellious slave behavior is foul and I know it, I’d rather interface and fellowship without being around a bunch of wiccans who do not even realize they’re practicing witchcraft.

I couldn’t sleep that night for whatever reason, even though I was still exhausted, despite the 7 hours of sleep I got (the most I’d get for days). I finally fell asleep around 6 AM Monday morning and got up at 11 AM. From there,  I did not sleep again until 4:30 Tuesday afternoon.

My parents are always on the go, so I knew Sunday night was going to be the extent of my visiting with them. I caught up with emails, applied for jobs, reached out to the Career Services Center at Mercy, then showered and girded up my loins, because I was on a MISSION from there.

I left my parents’ house at 3:30 PM, headed over to UNCG, then Starbuck’s, then over to stale-ass Four Seasons Mall, tried to hit up my homeboy Solomon and then hit the road to Raleigh. I needed to get gas, go to Smoker Friendly, go to New Bern Subs (formerly my FAVORITE spot, Miami Subs — and they still have those fries that I loved even back when I went to Smith High) and catch up with my sister.

Sounds simple, right???

Some of you may have seen me exclaim, “Raleigh is so confusing”. Even though I have been on most of those roads many times in my life. I took I-40 to New Bern Avenue. Simple enough, except I took the DOWNTOWN exit. I ended up all the way at N.C. State, so I stopped through and chewed the fat for a few minutes with the Wolfpack faithful who were aghast initially at my blasting “Bottom of the Pussy” by Cam’ron loudly through campus ha. I wanted to know where the outdoor basketball courts were, because my son Greg Jordan has been trying to get me to come through and hoop for about two years now.

I went to get my gas, thought initially to go by my cousin Rhoda’s crib, as I was about 3 minutes away when I came back off Gorman St., but I hadn’t gotten my MENTHOL CLOVES YET, and if I didn’t, I was going to assail someone.

I come back up New Bern Ave., then forgot where the Smoker Friendly shop that I had gone to before was located. I had to Foursquare it, then it gave me several confusing locales. One of them, I had just passed on Hillsborough near N.C. State and failed to make the turn, so I headed back toward downtown Raleigh.

Why did I end up in some town called WENDELL before I realized I was out of my element ha?

I took the road back through Rolesville and got on 39/401, which is where I came in from Henderson on Saturday. By that time, it was about 7 PM and I think Smoker Friendly closes at around 8, so I was panicking.

I was speeding up Capital Boulevard and frantically trying to find the nearest Smoker Friendly (their Cloves are cheaper than all the other tobacco outfits). Since I was near Millbrook, I saw that there was one located in the shopping centre there so I go in with 5 minutes to spare.

From there, I needed to go to New Bern Subs.

I ended up doing a 30 minute, COMPLETE circle because the directions from Millbrook were awful. I realized I was right back at the Smoker Friendly at about 8:45 PM.

I finally got to New Bern Subs at about 9:15, grabbed my #1 combo, wolfed it down like the wolf that I am, and headed on I-40 to go to my sister’s crib.

I get there, her car isn’t there, no one answers the phone, so I went to Greensboro. It was 10:15 PM.

KEEP IN MIND, I’VE BEEN IN THE CAR NON-STOP SINCE 3:30 PM.

I had about 10 minutes to speak with my parents, get my things and hit the road. I had to stop in Henderson to see Josh and my aunts Phyllis and Cynthia, who I haven’t seen in about two years.

I hit I-40 at 12:15 AM, got to Henderson at 1:30 AM. We chopped it up for about 90 minutes and with Josh giving me the drop on some big things we will be working on this summer, I left feeling great. My parents always pray with/for me when I head back home, and so did my aunt and Josh. That’s probably what kept me awake, because I was exhausted when I left my parents’ house that day and was only even more tired by the time I hit the road from Henderson at 3:15 AM.

I was making excellent time. I did about 80 from there until I got to Warrenton, VA, where the Washington, DC early morning rush was stacked up. BEFORE 6 AM. Yes, I made it from Henderson to Warrenton in 2 1/2 hours. I ain’t dry snitching on myself, but do the math about how that happened (for those who know about that drive ha).

Traffic was backed up 20 miles from Washington, so I sat in that for an hour, made it through to Baltimore and sat in about 30 minutes more of stacked traffic. I was going to Camden to see the homie Catherine and my goddaughter, who I had yet to see, so I took 95 to Philly instead of the Turnpike (got pushed into 95 instead of 495 by a tanker). By this point, I gave up any chance to get the car back to Hertz by 11 AM (11:30 with the grace period), because it was nearly 10 AM. That’s how bad traffic was. Philly to DC is only a two hour  trip. It took me THREE AND A HALF HOURS to get to Camden from there.

After leaving Cat’s crib, I wanted to avoid the Turnpike, because that’s odee. $6 for the toll and then another $8 for the George??? So I took 295 to Route 1 and dealt with the ridiculous traffic. By the time I got to Jersey City, Route 1 was under construction (which it has been for as long as I can remember in my LIFE, and since I went that way going down, you’d THINK I would have remembered this, but I was wild tired). Traffic was backed up from Fairview, NJ to darn near Jersey City. Took me an hour to get to the George from Tonnele Avenue in Jersey City, when it normally takes 15.

The Bridge was moving at 70 MPH, so I zoomed through, came up the block with ease, unloaded the car, dropped it off, grabbed a bite to eat and CRASHED.

I had been up 72 out of 80 hours and spent LITERALLY 24 HOURS STRAIGHT in that car driving. I feel like a truck driver. I could definitely do that job.

I slept from 4:30 PM Tuesday, until 9:00 PM, then couldn’t sleep until 8:00 AM yesterday. I woke up for good at 11 AM, went back and forth with two people from Mercy about jobs and financial aid, and got the drop on a new job with BronxWorks that I am being considered for. With three internal people recommending me for it, you’ve GOTTA HOPE this is the one. And it is working with the people who I want/need to serve most, as I can truly empathize and will go the extra mile to get them on their feet.

At any rate, I finally got a full night’s sleep Wednesday night/Thursday morning and I’m still tired. These trips are harder and harder to recover from when you’re in your 30s and beyond. The last time it took me a week to fully recover.

I don’t have that luxury with Real Estate on my plate, having to find a friend an apartment, looking for another gig, moving next month, beginning a new class next week, applying for Ph.D./MBA programmes all April, planning a Mother’s Day trip as well as a Memorial Day trip and STILL trying to socialize with my boys and friends in general at Knicks games (Game 3, we will be in the building at MSG, hopefully) and last but not least:

MY BIRTHDAY IS NEXT WEDNESDAY AND I’M CELEBRATING THAT JUMPOFF FOR TWO WEEKENDS, B.

Hope you enjoyed reading and aren’t as exhausted as I am for the trip, but as always, it was good to see everyone who I managed to get to see.

And what have you…

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