Tuesday Adventures

I woke up at 7am in order to pack up, eat free continental breakfast, and be on the road (alert & ready) before 8am. I think I checked out at 7:50, so definitely on time. I made it to Savannah, Georgia around 9:45am (also ahead of schedule) and found a parking spot on the street right next to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace House. It was metered parking and I didn’t have a single quarter on me. I did manage to parallel park quite beautifully, though. There was a woman standing on the sidewalk, waiting for something, and I asked her if she had quarters in exchange for $1. She had a really deep southern accent and the kindness/hospitality to match. She had three quarters and three dimes and I was good for an hour. I snarfed a little while waiting for the house to open (there were a half dozen snarfs within sight of the house). Then I got change inside and went out and put a little more $/time on the parking meter.

The tour of the house was perfect. There was just enough info to be really interesting and time in every room where we were allowed to just look around at things and ask questions one-on-one with the tour guide if needed. A wonderful balance. I learned a heck of a lot I didn’t know about the founder of the Girl Scouts and it was really amazing to see the house where she had been born and grown up. There were also a huge number of original pieces owned by Daisy & her family, and a ton of artwork done by Daisy as well. It was so neat to see her things as well as her creative skills. I’d been wanting to visit this place ever since I was a brownie and heard that troops took trips there. I’m glad I finally made it. It was well worth the $8 price of admission for the tour. Highly recommended.

After that I put another half an hour on the parking meter and walked 3-4 blocks down through the streets to take photos of more snarfs. In that little area, snarfs were even more abundant than in Washington, DC or Philadelphia. There were signs literally feet from each other, as well as plaques and statues and monuments everywhere. I didn’t go far on my snarfari so I only got a few handfuls, but a few handfuls in just a few minutes was amazing. And it allowed me to see a little more of the town. I was especially taken by how green and lush it was—there were Spanish Moss trees everywhere. So gorgeous. A homeless man sitting on the bench in one of the parks (there was like a town square park on every single block, each containing a 3-6 snarfs) was amused by my taking Eeyore out at each marker and taking a photo of him. I explained I hunted historical markers and Eeyore was my mascot. He asked me for change and I honestly didn’t have any cash ON me except for a few more quarters I’d gotten for the parking meter. I gave those to him and he seemed a little insulted at first they weren’t bills. But then he said every bit helped and thanked me.

If it hadn’t been so hot, I would have stayed much longer. But I stopped by Jimmy John’s for a sub and drink and when I went to drop it off in the car, the car was BROILING hot and I got seriously worried about the state of the chocolate frogs I was carrying. So I just went and snarfed a couple more signs that were within my line of sight and I grabbed a book I’d forgotten to leave at the house the first time (a children’s biography of Juliette Gordon Low).

I left Savanah also right on time, around 11:45am. That would put me at the hotel at 7pm if I didn’t make any stops (which would be impossible, I knew, but the point was the time frame was good and I had 7 hours of driving ahead of me).

As I approached the boarder of South Carolina, I saw tons of hand-painted signs advertising peaches. I decided at the last moment to just go ahead and get some real Georgia peaches for my family. I stopped at the little tent by the side the road. The peaches were a heck of a lot more expensive than I’d assumed, but I have a feeling I was supposed to haggle (either that or they were taking advantage of me). Either way, I didn’t care enough to negotiate a better price and I figured they could use the money more than I could. Plus I got a free sample of a peach and it was delightfully nummy.

I stopped about 10 minutes later in South Carolina to get gas because I was on my last quarter of a tank and wanted to leave a BookCrossing book in every state I visited. I pulled up to the pump in my car, got out, and realized the gas tank on the rental car was on the other side. I moved over to the other pumps and got out and realized there was no little latch or catch to open the gas tank door. I went back in the car to look for a gas tank release button and couldn’t find one. I looked absolutely everywhere—on the dash, on the side, near the pedals, on the passenger side—but I couldn’t find it. I even checked the glove compartment but there wasn’t even a manual there to tell me how to open the door to the gas tank! I went out again, wondering if I could somehow pry it off or if I’d missed something. And then, for some reason, I just tried pushing it. Yep, that’s all it took! It sprang open and I went to fill up.

It was at this point in the journey that I stopped listening to Wizard Rock a while and put in the second book in a young adult series I started awhile back, The People of Sparks, the sequel to City of Ember. I finished the book that day on the drive and liked it (it was a tad more predictable than I had hoped, but there were lots of great moments and it was nice to know what happened to the characters after the first book).

After filling up the tank, I used Gillian (My GPS) to find a nearby historical site to snarf. In addition to wanting to leave a BookCrossing book in the wild in every state I visited on my trip, I wanted to snarf something in every state. I’d left a book on the gas pump in South Carolina, so now I just needed to find something historical to take a photo of. The closest things that came up were sites in Savannah, the second on the list being the Juliette Gordon Low House. It took a few pages of scrolling to find something ahead of me, not behind me, but I ended up heading to some historical society. On my way there, I saw a brown sign for a historic district and followed the arrows to an old house/museum. I didn’t go into the museum but there were free pamphlets outside for a walking tour of Historic Bluffton. So I ended up taking photos of a handful of things on the tour, starting with the house and then on the way over to stop #16, the Oyster Factory. None of my photos of the factory came out terribly well, but I’d never seen in-action commercial fishing boats like those in real life, so that was actually a bit mesmerizing and exciting.

I resumed my route toward Virginia Tech and passed a real South Carolina state historical marker along the way. I pulled off to snarf it and about half a dozen roosters were walking around the adjacent property, crowing loudly. That’s South Carolina for ya. I took a photo of one of them, though.

I drove through the rest of South Carolina without too much incident. I started getting sleepy around 3-4pm and I tried pulling off at a rest stop for a nap, but it was too hot in the car, even with the windows down for a cross-breeze, and I worried again about the integrity of the chocolate frogs. So I ended up buying (new vegetarian-friendly) Skittles (there’s a rainbow of flavors—maybe even a DOUBLE RAINBOW! heehee). I discovered that if I keep eating constantly, I don’t notice I’m tired. So I just kept stuffing my face. During the trip home I consumed a year’s worth of junk food in the span of 2 days: a whole big bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans, Burger King Onion rings (2 larges), a bag of Skittles, huge bag of Cheetos, etc. I did have some healthy things as well (a few plums, a peach, saltines dipped in peanut butter) but mostly junk food. I ended up actually pulling into a Burger King and napping in the car with the air conditioning on for about 20-30 minutes before going in for a drink & the aforementioned onion rings. I felt better after that.

Then I refueled and saw that I was getting close to Charlotte, North Carolina. (Oh, I was afraid I would miss crossing into each state, but I didn’t miss a single one and gave each one a loud “Hello -insert state name here-“. I had a book with a main character named Charlotte to release and I figured that was as good a place as any to snarf. So Gillian found me the address of a train museum in Charlotte and I set off on the small detour. I never did find the train place. But I did find a series of “South End” signs in front of more than a handful of buildings, so that worked for me as snarfs. I left the book in front of one of them (it was entitled Drive Time; highly appropriate for a road trip release). It was almost 6pm by the time I left Charlotte. When I was done earreading the book, I put in the dropcard songs I bought at the WRock concert on the 12th in DC from Skyway Flyer & The Remus Lupins. Also on that mix CD was a Bella and le Strangers EP. But I only got through a few songs before I got to the motel.

I got to Christiansburg around 8:30 and was amazed at the development in the area. Wal-Mart, which used to be a huge landmark, was so hidden behind so many strip malls and other stores that I almost missed it. Man, I wish they’d had these stores back when I was a student there! I checked into the Micro-tel and was shocked by the room. A whole kitchen area with large fridge and microwave and sink and table, a sitting area with a couch and coffee table, and a bedroom area with drawers and a cabinet… for less than $60 a night. I’m never staying anywhere but there from now on.

I went to Wal-Mart (my old stomping grounds; we used to do midnight trips there, what, 3 times a week? More?) and the place was almost the same. They moved things around a bit, but it wasn’t until I was walking around in there that I really remembered how things used to look. It all rushed back to me. As I passed automotive, for example, I remembered all those oil changes I waited for. I ended up getting the new Morning Star Farms sweet & sour not-chicken and a handful of other things (including forks). But the Wal-Mart (in addition to being slightly rearranged) had also increased quality. I was especially in awe of the scrapbooking area with $100+ kits & equipment beautifully displayed. Man, I would have gone broke if that had been around when I was a student there.

I got back to my room and checked a little e-mail (took me forever to get connected to the Wireless, but I got there in the end after a few reboots… and then a few more). I turned on the TV for the first time since before I’d left (if you know me, that’s an astounding thing; I usually sleep with the TV on and usually watch 5-8 hours a day on work days alone). I watched a repeat of the Good Wife that I’d already seen (yes, it turned out exactly the same the second time around) and watched an hour of Rachel Maddow.

I’d also like to mention that at some point when I stopped for gas (can’t remember where I was, but it was just off the highway) I filled up for about $2.4599 and as I was getting back on the highway, I noticed a gas station with gas for $2.29. There was only one car there; it was a BP gas station. Even after dropping their prices that much no one was going to get gas there. That’s pretty telling.