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Life Upgrade: Going Mobile

I mentioned my plans in this post, but here are more details: this Thursday afternoon I am getting on the Amtrak and going up to Raleigh, North Carolina, and getting a car that a kind person has offered to me. Then I am going to drive back home to Central Florida. This is possibly a crazy thing to do. The car is not new, but it is in drivable condition, which is all I require. It's also a manual shift, which I'm not used to driving, so it may take me a week to get back as I drive down tiny country roads in first gear.

Just kidding.

Anyway, back when I lived in Miami I would never have done such a thing. I'm not sure how I got that "incompetent, needs keeper" stamped on my forehead but I had become used to being told that I shouldn't even consider doing this or that because (insert disaster scenario), so I ended up doing nothing on my own. Finally I realized the trap I had fallen into, and commenced doing a number of things that the rest of the country considers normal but my so-called friends considered insane, such as getting a boyfriend, moving out of Miami, breaking up with the boyfriend, moving out on my own, buying a new car on a part-time salary (not such a good move as it turns out but that car was sweet while I had it), driving up to Kentucky to see a rock band just because I wanted to, etc. Also I found some better friends.

Anyway, I'm going to catch the Amtrak on Thursday. I've already got my ticket -- it wasn't necessary to pick it up but I wanted to hold it in my hot little hands -- and I went ahead and set the insurance up. A friend is going to come by to feed and dose the cats. All I have to do is drive back. I'm hoping to get back Saturday evening (I'll find a hotel room Friday night), but if I get too tired (I'm not used to shifting gears, so I may wear out sooner than I do in an automatic) I may have to make another stopover.

Comments (14)

CGHill [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I wouldn't worry too much about the gearbox. I've been dealing with automatics for twelve years now, but it takes me about ten, maybe fifteen minutes to get back into the groove when I'm faced with a stick. The hardest part is getting the seat into a position where you can move both legs with more or less equal ease, and if you have better knees than I do (which most people do) this will take no time at all.

prairiecat [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Road trips are a bit alien to most people, it seems. I drove out to Montana in '04, made a huge circle from MD, to Indiana, Kansas, Montana, Colorado, Texas, Florida, then back to MD, it was the best time I've ever had...except for this year's road trip. This year I had time & money constraints I didn't have then, so I flew to Denver, rented a car, drove around Wyoming & Montana for 10 days, then back to Denver & flew back to Jax. Awesome trip. Yes, by myself. Nearly everyone I know says they'd love to do that but they're too scared something awful will happen - robbery, murder, kidnap, rape...guess they don't know that stuff isn't real common on a highway in the daytime?

Used to drive back & forth to MD from Jax several times a year, too, since My Chief was stationed there but Home Base is here. Did it with my cat 3 times. Great times...

I am envious, I love road trips, have a beautiful time. If the car has a cd player or tape deck, stop at a truck stop & get an audio book, the time just flies then. South Georgia's the easiest part of the drive, I think, cuz most of I-95 there is 3 lanes, & big trucks can't use the fast lane.

I have pretty strong legs. I couldn't do the walking I do if I didn't. At least, I hope they are strong enough.

I love road trips. I hate flying -- when I was a child we did road trips to Georgia and North Carolina all the time, and we also went to Tennessee, and my father took my sister and I to Washington DC back when I was eighteen. (Our car at the time was a '74 Datsun which of course was completely manual; that was the first manual car I attempted to learn how to drive, but my father was too nervous -- anyway, on that road trip he ended up burning out the clutch, in the middle of South Carolina. Bad things tended to happen to us in South Carolina so I'm hoping that was my father's bad luck, not mine.)

When I was in my twenties and thirties I started traveling around with a friend, but she hated road trips for the most part, preferring plane travel. I hate plane travel. I put up with it because I thought we were doing "cool" things (like flying out to Philadelphia to see The Cure in concert, flying out to LA to see Bauhaus when they reunited... junk like that), but when the friendship ended in mutual recriminations etc. I declared that I would never fly again. I like trips to be fun, not an ordeal of fear and discomfort.

CGHill [TypeKey Profile Page]:

My road trips are just this side of legendary: six in seven years, each over 4,000 miles. (There was a seventh, or an attempt at one, but the less said about that, the better.) I'm ready to do it again in '08.

Annalucia [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Have a wonderful trip, Andrea. Personally I love riding trains even if they're not on time: *someone else* is doing the driving and I can read, or doze, or visit the dining car. Maybe even enjoy watching the scenery go by.

And as CGHill says, once you've learned to drive a stick, it will come back soon enough. If you're sticking to country roads you'll certainly have room to practice.

Hope you've got a cellphone BTW, just in case of trouble. Last month my Marine son's car died in the Mojave desert fifteen miles from nowhere, but he was able to call and get it towed.

BAW [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Hey, enjoy Raleigh! Wave at the University as you drive by - I'll be stuck there in 7 hours of on-campus video shoot hell!

Are you going to have time to sample any local restaurants?

Oh I'll have my cell phone, definitely.

Re: restaurants -- I've been told of a Korean place that just opened. I loves me some Korean food. What other eating places do you recommend, and more important (almost) -- what coffee places? Though I can cope with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. In fact Dunkin Donuts has the best coffee...

BAW [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Depends on where in Raleigh you'll be - if you're near downtown, just head to the Glenwood South area. Some trendoid garbage, but also lots of unique eateries - everything from sushi to all kinds of chili to irish pubs to tapas bars to mexican or italian food - or head over to 5 points and check out the Hayes Barton Cafe' and Dessertery: servings of homemade cake and pie the size of your head, and decent coffee (or a coffee bar called The Third Place) is right around the corner...

North Raleigh's got lots of restaurants, too, but I don't get up there as much.

And we do have plenty o' Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks scattered around.

If you get to the new Korean place, let me know how it is - I didn't know we were getting one, and I'm also a fan.

Mmm. Cake. Coffee. Kimchee. All the necessaries.

Hey, I'm here! In Raleigh that is. I have a request (I don't currently have access to my email) for Big Arm Woman -- can she email Dr. Weevil (curculio@curculio.org) with her email address? (Or, well, can you email him with your email address... Hi there...)

The train was a minor hell. I forgot about: the bathrooms, and the babies. And the a/c kept at meat-locker temperature. I'm still thawing out.

BAW [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Arg! Just got online today (at 8:30 p.m.). Sent along my addy to Dr. Weevil - hope there was nothing too time-sensitive there.

Hope you enjoyed Raleigh!

Nope, not time-sensitive; at least, he didn't say so.

Re: Raleigh. Well, I would have enjoyed it if I didn't have to drive through it. In a car with a stick shift -- something I haven't touched in about twenty-five years. During rush hour, because as usual I dilly-dallied around and lost track of time.

Seriously -- Raleigh was beautiful, the weather was beautiful -- I've added it to my list of cities to move to when I make my out-of-Florida move. Even more in favor of the Raleigh area is some friends of mine are planning to move up that way some time next year. I can't say I learned my way around the city, though. I was much too addled... I just kept on driving until I hit what looked like open land. More about that anon...

BAW [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I'm an NC native, but I've lived in/near Raleigh for about 15 years now, and really can't imagine myself anywhere else. It's got a good economy, it's big enough to have cool stuff to do but small enough that you actually know people, and it's pretty much in the middle of the state, with the beach about 2 hours away (if you can settle for Wilmington over the Outer Banks) and the mountains reachable in 4.

Only drawback? Oak and pine pollen in April. Seriously. The whole city gets coated in yellow powder. But if you've got Claritin, you'll be okay.

Glad you made it back - and that you have a car. Got in touch with Dr. Weevil, as well.

We get the same pollen problem here in Central Florida: oak and pine. When the oaks are pollinating you can literally see clouds of the stuff blowing off the trees and falling like yellow-brown rain. I figure any place with plant life is going to have something that will irritate me.

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Don't worry, he's just chopping broccoli.


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