By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 11/15/2019
Occurred: 7/19/2009
Topics/Keywords: #Travel #Florida #Georgia #SouthCarolina #NorthCarolina #Virginia #Zachary Page Views: 4011
That's me, my husband Michael, and our 10-year-old grandson trapped in a car for twelve hours.

Today was a driving day, spent in the rental car driving from my sister's house in St. Augustine, Florida to our hotel in Herndon, Virginia. That's me, my husband Michael, and our 10-year-old grandson trapped in a car for twelve hours.

I shouldn't make it sound so bad. Actually, Zachary is a joy to travel with. Few adults travel as well as he does. He keeps himself entertained, he looks around, he asks just the right amount of questions to indicate interest without being annoying.

I would much rather go for a long drive with Zachary than, say, Sarah Palin—not only because I know Zach will remain in the car for the entire trip.

Still, it is a long time to be stuck in a car. Ideally, we'd have left about 6 am. That was our intention. We actually drove out of Louise's driveway about 11 am.

The good news about that was that we were long past rush hour when we drove through Jacksonville, our only major city until we reached our destination.

I've made this trip so many times before that the only fun in it was pointing things out to Zachary, like the gradual change in roadside environment as we left subtropical Florida behind for the swamps of Georgia and South Carolina.

A highlight for anyone driving I-95 is South of the Border, an over-the-top fireworks stand and tourist trap just south of North Carolina with a Mexican theme. The garish and often witty billboards festoon both sides of the highway, with increasing frequency as the establishment is approached.

We stopped, of course; and even though he knew he couldn't bring them back home with him on the plane, Zach just had to spend some of his money on sparklers and something we assumed were bottle rockets. We then ate some extremely overpriced hot dogs, filled up the gas tank (that price, at least, was competitive for the area, and about 30 less a gallon than in Arizona) and continued into the forests of North Carolina, where we watched the sun set between the trees. Night found us covering the piedmont of Virginia, passing through Richmond without slowing down, and, finally, picking up my daughter Karen at her townhouse in Reston.

Karen raised Zachary for several years so the two were extremely happy to see each other and hugged nonstop as we drove our last 10 minutes to our pre-paid hotel in Herndon. We spent little time bringing in the stuff from the car. Tomorrow we have to get up early to meet my other daughter, Dorothy, and my granddaughter Cailey for a tour of the world-famous Smithsonian in Washington, DC.