Yesterday while others were resting after the Thanksgiving feast, or enjoying Black Friday shopping, or just going about their usual business, we were northbound on I-81, returning to Pennsylvania from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. That's a 14-hour drive for us, with stops to stretch, use the facilities, and stop for coffee. Of course, lots of coffee.
(Just an aside: the "Welcome Centers" (aka rest stops) along I-81 in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia are welcoming indeed. We've stopped at all of them, I think, in the 5 years we've been making that trip. They are comfortable, clean, decorated for the holidays, and just all-around pleasant places to stop.)
But how can a day spent on the road be almost perfect?
We started off in good moods. It's always hard to leave the grandparents after a too-short visit, but we were also ready to get home. Our first-ever artificial tree is waiting to be decorated. Our dog is waiting to be picked up at the kennel. We have things to do at home.
We had Christmas music. A mix of secular pop music tunes, Christian carols, some Freddy Clarke guitar, and bits of Handl's Messiah. All that was missing was Nutcracker. I put the mp3 player on random play, and let it go. I admit it can be a bit jarring to go from one of the solos from Messiah right into "Blue Christmas," but... it worked.
We had a Christmas story: Jim Dale's reading of A Christmas Carol. We've been reading this book together for years, and this time went with a new reader instead of Dad or Mom. It was so good, and took up three hours of our time!
We found a great place for a quick, cheap, road dinner: Sheetz gasoline and convenience store. We felt a little guilty loving it so much, being the Wawa fans we are, but as far as I know, Wawa doesn't serve pizza by the slice, which is what half of our number were craving. My BLT was perfect, and I hear the pulled pork sandwich is pretty good too. About $15 and change, and we were fortified for the rest of the drive home.
I won't say the trip went quickly, because 14-hour drives just don't. But it went as well as it could. We're safely, happily home, and in the Christmas spirit!
How about you?