Thursday, August 14, 2008

Home to Hershey

I wanted to take a brief second to recap the driving portions of our recent vacation trip out to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Carolyn did a nice job of talking about the vacation itself, but for some strange reason she barely mentioned the trips to and there.

And while I have already documented the counties / routes in a spreadsheet, I wanted to just mention some of the things that I found / noticed, to pave the way (pardon the pun) for future travelers.

Day 1 was Friday July 25th. We had made the decision to pack up the whole car the night before to try and ensure an early start. Initially I had wanted to just throw the kids in the car in their pajamas ear-lie and change at the first stop but in the end, we decided to just try and make it snappy in the mornings. We put the kids in their backup pajamas (so we wouldn't have to pack them) and made them sleep nightlightless.

We got out of the house at about 8:09 and set up I-71. Carolyn had wanted to stop for fruit somewhere but there was nowhere good to do so nearby, so we decided we'd stop in Columbus. Apparently she cannot live off the standard traveling 3 square meals a day of pop tarts, sandwiches and cookies. It took us awhile to find a store in Columbus. As we circled around I-270 to I-70, I was getting a little worried we would soon be running out of civilization, so we got off the highway and eventually we found a Kroger Marketplace like 2 miles south. I think it was the one near Pickerington but I'm not sure. I should go back and check my receipts for historical accuracy. Except I threw them all away.

I also tried to find some postcards to send to Carey who is collecting one for every county but Kroger nor the CVS nearby had any. Jerks.

I was able to take a picture to contribute to the Ohio Highway Ends project

Anyway, one annoyance of Kroger is that their fruit is dang expensive. And indeed, grapes were $1.99/lb. Grr. We got out and wandered around stretching ye olde legs and such and then got back on the road. One bonus of Kroger is that we spotted a Florida license plate. I had created and printed out a 50 state find the license plate game and my son was enjoying it. This was definitely our best day of the 4 traveling days due to the extensive Interstate-ness of it all.

I was originally going to post my Word doc of all the license plates on here so people could download it if they wanted but it was like 7 MB so if you want it just email me or leave a comment and I'll send it your way.

Anyway we continued on I-70 east into West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Actually had to detour on I-470 near Wheeling since I-70 was closed to through traffic. Passed my aunt's house where I stayed on a previous county trip. Went through the various tunnels on the PA turnpike. We stopped for lunch at the Bedford Travel Plaza. I bought an array of postcards to send at various places in Pennsylvania but tragically 2 of them ended up being duplicates. I also found a penny on the ground - bonus!

We got off at Exit 201 and snagged Cumberland County and then came down PA 696 into the lovely megalopolis of Shippensburg. I enjoyed the sites of an old-school town (not to mention some old schools). After a jog on I-81, we went back on PA 997 to US 30, which we followed into a little town called Gettysburg, where I amused myself (and surely no others) by talking in my Rhett Butler voice for hours.

I even found the post office (after we drove right by it) and dropped off the postcard. I chose to follow the signs for the visitor's center rather than my maps and that confused me for awhile but we eventually got to the right place. We took the 20 minute tour of Gettysburg (about the kids' attention span) and then headed back in the car. Gettysburg was also very handy for the license plate game - we found a bunch of good ones here (CA, AL, and probably a few others).

Then we had to keep going south to snag the annoyingly LCC-d Carroll County, Maryland. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing towards our ending destination of Hershey, Pennsylvania. As we started coming up US 15, the traffic started. Not only was it rush hour, but there was a Jonas Brothers concert there. We went stop and go for awhile with vans full of hordes of pre-teen girls. Luckily our hotel was on the west side of town so we were able to get out of traffic a bit earlier. Also Carolyn spotted a sign that said "The churches of Hershey welcome you" - we couldn't grab a pic, but she definitely thought that a chocolate-based religion was one she could definitely get onboard with!!!

We walked to Hershey World and took the free tour. It was pretty cool. We hung out there for a bit and then took the free hotel shuttle back to our free hotel rooms. Definitely should have taken the shuttle over there instead of walking. We drove over to a disgusting Wendy's (food was fine but things were so sticky and dirty!) Got everyone settled in for bed and went to sleep to the melodious sounds of the Jonas brothers. We had gotten 2 rooms and had planned on having a boy and girl room but our rooms were adjoining so we just put the 3 big kids in one and Carolyn and I and the little'n in the other room. It ended up working okay.

Total for the day: 27 counties - 7 new ones (for me)

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