OMW’s I-95 Adventures, Vol. LXIX
I actually did not do an OMW’s I-95 Adventures for Thanksgiving, because it was pleasantly dull and uneventful. The only real “excitement” was the amount of rain I ran into on 95 South in southern Virginia, and having run into the protesters in Newark before I even hit the road (following the Mike Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions.)
This trip was a riot, and I nearly had two major pile-ups, if not for following advice my dad gave me before they allowed me to drive dolo a few months after getting my license:
— Always look 4-5 cars ahead.
— Always check both mirrors and blind spots periodically in case you have to change lanes to avoid a crash.
My cabbie was the usual, and got me to Newark Airport in 15 minutes flat, which is a feat. He was on two wheels on 78 at times. After a couple of hiccups with the Hertz representative who clearly hadn’t awakened more than 30 minutes before I arrived at 9 am on the dot, I hopped in the car and headed home to pack my things into the car and hit the road.
Smooth sailing that morning, although I realized that I needed to get cash for tolls, to pay my cousin to do my hair, and the cabbie on my way home on the return trip. I made a quick stop in Woodbridge to pick up a few items and then made a personal stop in Piscataway before getting cash in New Brunswick and took 295 the rest of the way. I needed my coffee, and stopped in Bordentown at Starbuck’s before locking in the rest of the way. The car I had got great mileage (one tank got me all the way to North Carolina, and refilled in Oxford on the return trip, and that tank lasted me all the way back, including a foray onto Staten Island to drop off my cousin, and to Elizabeth, where I filled up just before getting back to the airport to return the car), which made it easier for me to make great time.
Or so I thought.
Delaware is always just a dash, since it is only 10 miles on 95, and Maryland was swift, no tie-ups or major volume. Once I got past the Van Dorn exit, I literally sit in bumper to bumper, 20 mph maximum speed for the next 2 1/2 hours. I moved a total of 30 miles in that time. I had officially hit the road at 11 am, and it was well past 6 pm once I got through Richmond. To contrast normal volume, in that same timeframe, I would have normally been just a few miles outside of Raleigh by 6 pm with that departure time.
95 south of Richmond was a breeze, though. 64 west into Raleigh was a breeze. I had to make a stop at Walmart to pick up some thermal gear, because it was colder in NC than I expected, but other than that, I had to make my normal Raleigh stop at New Bern Subs (best burger in NC) and then to my cousin’s house to get my locs treated. I was later than normal leaving there, and got to my parents’ at 3 am. This was supposed to be a stop-and-go trip, because I had some loose ends to take care of, and stock up on smokes and Crown Regal Apple since both are cheaper down south. The following day, I scooped up new phones for my parents and myself, and ran every errand that I can’t take care of back home without a car, and was right back on the road on Wednesday morning.
I had to run to Durham to get my cousin, who was going back home to Staten Island and stopped to chat with his mom, who I haven’t seen in a couple of years now. We hit the road at 11 am, and after getting a fill up in Oxford, didn’t stop again until getting food in Fredericksburg. I was on a mission the entire way. I won’t post what my speed was, but I was driving ultra carefully, until I ran into a pack of Virginia’s notorious ultra-retard drivers; people who drive well below the speed limit in the left lane and force everyone to pass on the right (which is everyone’s ultimate blind spot, leading to wrecks galore in that state). I nearly got sideswiped in one instance, and then, about 20 miles south of Washington, some chick dressed like Patti LaBelle was yapping away in the middle lane. I was following from a safe distance and looking as far ahead as possible (we were heading downhill, which obstructed my normal 4-5 car ahead visage). Then, out of nowhere, she comes to a dead stop after doing 75 MPH. I had to slam on brakes and swerve into the left lane (without spinning out and losing control, expertly). I had been checking my left mirror every few seconds as per usual in heavy volume, because you never know when you need to shift lanes. There had been an SUV on the left about a car length behind me, and thankfully he sped up and passed me before I had to swerve, or else there would have been a massive pile up.
Once we got past that broad, I shot her a look, and she looked petrified, with both hands on the wheel (in that EVER-DANGEROUS, wreck-in-the-making 10 to 2 fashion — the worst drivers on the road, in my opinion, contrary to driver’s ed instructions to drive this way), and she would not look my way. She knew she was wrong. She had some other broad in the car with her. They were probably arguing about reality TV garbage and failed to realize that she was about to rear-end the car in front of her. I used some pretty vulgar language, but eventually got back to business: making great time.
We cleared Maryland in an hour flat, and got through Delaware and most of the Turnpike with no slow-downs. We made it to Exit 8 (always the barometer) in about an hour (do the math, not gonna dry snitch on myself), and the last major hurdle was going to be peak-hour Garden State Parkway traffic off Exit 11. Surprisingly, there weren’t many people out there, even it being New Year’s Eve. We had gotten from Durham, NC to East Orange, NJ in six hours flat. Probably the quickest time I have ever made. I have made it from Charlotte, NC to Harlem in eight hours flat, as well, albeit in overnight hours with no traffic, BUT with limited visibility for ticket-happy cops, as well.
After unloading the car with the help of my cousin, I dashed out to Staten, caught up with my aunt and cousin out there for a while, and scrambled to the gas station (gas is inching closer to $2 in New Jersey) and dropped off the car at the airport. Habibi was waiting outside Terminal A, and I got home in 20 minutes, exhausted and no desire to do anything, despite my homegirl being in town and wanting me to take her sightseeing in the city. It was me, and the shot of Tullamore at midnight, and I was in bed shortly thereafter.
Only to watch my Noles fumble the ball away and go in with yet another flawed gameplan by our rookie defensive coordinator. To the delight of millions of mentally ill sheep around America, they got what they wanted, after staying up late and hoping for it for weeks: a Florida State loss.
Happy New Year, your purposeless, miserable slags.
I’m just glad I got home in one piece. I never take anything for granted when I hit the road anymore. People were literally both hands texting on their phones and reaching over in the passenger seat with their vision completely off the road doing 70+ MPH in spots, so I am extra vigilant while on the highway nowadays.