Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Moment of Bliss

North on I-95, preparing to cross the James into Richmond (My photo)
The photo above likely means nothing to you, unless you're a road nut.

To me, it represents sheer joy.

Let me explain.

We began the rather arduous drive home at the back end of another fun and fabulous time in Fayetteville (and Raleigh), North Carolina on Sunday. We left Raleigh at 7:30 that morning, with the stated goal of trying to reach Fishkill, NY by 6:00 to drop Sean off. My son, rising freshman, needed to be at Orientation at John Jay High School the following morning.

We coasted over to a Sheetz in Rocky Mount, NC for a break before hitting I-95. I promised Sean that this would be a long stretch without a break, though I tend to stick to breaking after approximately three hours. Yet I got on a roll, and had every intention of steamrolling past Washington, DC.

I did. We didn't stop until we hit Gettysburg, PA* on US 15 roughly four and a half hours later. Only the need for food and gasoline stopped me.

* Incidentally, we also stopped at Sheetz in Gettysburg for sandwiches. Don't get me wrong -- Sheetz is just fine and dandy -- but Wawa wins by a landslide.

North of Gettysburg (I took US 15 to get away from the coast and the beach bums heading home on Sunday), the ride became a quagmire of rain and slow cars. What looked like a possible 9.5 hour drive became 12.5 hours. I got Sean home just before 7:30 that night.

But back to the picture. My affection for Richmond, Virginia is quite obvious if you've read Exit 55 since the beginning. One of my closest friends, the great Jon (and Rebecca and their amazing daughters) live there, as do a few other friends. It's why I've long-considered it a place I would move to if the chance arose. It's comfortable.
Getting closer to the James River Bridge, with RVA in the background (My photo)
So now take that and add in the view beyond that sign. Crossing the James into downtown Richmond is truly one of my favorite entrances into any city. While it doesn't beat the WOW moment of emerging from the Fort Pitt Tunnel in Pittsburgh, there is something magnificent about how the city of Richmond just sits right in front of you.

Now cue the music. I still enjoy turning the dial to hear what local radio plays, and was doing just that when I found one of RVA's classic rock channels. While a lot of the usual stuff played, it was the sounds of "Come Together" by The Beatles that made this moment complete. It was the right groove for my 70 MPH drive through a favorite city, thinking about the friends I have there.

It was bliss.

That's rare.

(One last note: my road photos were used on a web page. Go here to see the work that Robert Malme put into making my pics of the Fayetteville Outer Loop look good.)

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