10:00 a.m./71 degrees. I began the day in Lumberton, N.C., filling my gas tank (10.5 gallons @ $3.66.) at the Sun-do Kwik Shop. (Btw, what’s up with the word Kwik? Does it imply something faster than Quick?) They’re getting ready to vote in the Democrat primaries there, and inside the Kwik Shop Al Gore lighters were outselling Bill or Hillary Clinton lighters two to one. No sign of any Obama or McCain lighters. I didn’t ask if they were sold out or not available.
Driving I-95 in the Carolinas is an exercise in patience. The highway drops to two lanes and trucks, buses, and motor homes more spacious than my apartment jockey for space with cars. It’s particularly frustrating when one large slow vehicle passes another large slower one, thus hogging both lanes — usually on a long uphill stretch of highway.
In Virginia, I did something I usually never do on a long trip and that is deviate from the route. Approaching Petersburg as my stomach was rumbling, I remembered that my friend Kathy’s nephew runs a cool little theater in the historic district, and I had the (not so bright) thought I could stop nearby for a non-fast food lunch and perhaps say a quick hi to Christopher. I mean, how big could the place be? I got off at an exit with brown signs indicating historic battlefields, and followed my nose. Forty minutes later — after enduring a major traffic backup near a shopping center and stopping unsuccessfully for directions at a dry cleaners, a gas station, and a highly-secured government facility — I got back on the highway, grumbling.
But lucky me! While stopping for gas at the next exit (12.8 gallons @ $3.57), I stumbled upon a family rib-joint in a mini-mall and ordered ribs, collards, and mac n’ cheese. I’d list the name and town but seem to have lost their menu.
I reached my destination, friends Rege and Jeannie’s house in Woodbine, Md., in time for cocktails and a sunset tour of what they call the “farmlet.” Here’s a portrait of one of their docile Sicilian donkeys. They also have a rescue horse purportedly once owned by Wayne Newton. After dinner, we headed to a nearby roadside bar named the Friendly Inn and heard some kick-ass bluegrass music by a band called “Drive By.” Mileage: 417 (including detour.)