Thank God for safe travels and yet another great road trip. I'm finally back and full of stories to tell. I've decided to share every last detail this time, not because it'll be interesting, but because I need to get back into the habit of writing again, so here goes.
After filling my tank with gas, I set off on my journey at about 4:30 on the morning of July 22nd, heading east on I-694.
Okay, this isn't going to work. How 'bout I just stick to the highlights, yes?
After spending the majority of the first day on the interstate, and being harassed by Tollbooth Willie on my way through Chicago, I decided to pull off and get on some two-lane roads for a while. This is the best way to really see the countryside along the way. I stopped in a little town in Ohio the first night, and then made my way to Canton the next morning to check out the Hall of Fame.
I spent two and a half hours inside, but I could've spent all day. I ran into another guy from South Carolina there who was also making a cross-country road trip and hitting all three of the major hall of fames along the way. This was his final stop after hitting the hockey HOF in Toronto(?) and the baseball HOF in Cooperstown. One of the most interesting things about my RTs is the people you meet along the way and the stories you get to share with each other.
After leaving Canton, I headed east again and made my way through Pennsylvania. I was a bit shocked to see a whole family of about eight or nine Amish people getting out of a minivan at a gas station in PA. Perhaps there's some kind of reformation going on amongst the Amish because I was hoping to see some horse and buggies.
After spending a night in eastern Pennsylvania, I headed for Connecticut where I met up with Jerky. Jerky's in-laws live in Hartford, CT so he and his wife go out there every year for a visit. They live right down the road from all this historical stuff but whenever Jerky goes out there all the women want to do is shop. So this year I was summoned out to rescue him and we spent a day driving up and down between Hartford and Northampton, MA looking for anything related to Edwards.
First we visited JE's birthplace in East Windsor Hill, CT. Nearby is the spot where Edwards' parents are buried, along with some of his children.
How cool is that? JE is actually buried at Princeton in New Jersey, but there are markers for him all over the place. The locals seem to still have a healthy respect for him despite the fact that they've long since abandoned his theology.
After East Windsor Hill we made our way up to Enfield, CT to see the spot where Edwards preached his famous sermon, "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Here's Jerky standing in the spot:
Jerky is actually a direct descendant of Jonathan Edwards through one of his daughters (Esther I think). And not only that, but he's also the one who evangelized me five years ago in a true Edwardsian manner, so this picture is rich in meaning for me.
Nearby this spot is the church that was built to replace the original church that stood here.
I wonder if Reverend Linda has ever read any Edwards. Or the Bible for that matter.
Then it was on to Northampton, Massachusetts. We had to stumble around for a while to find what we came for, but when we did it was well worth it.
Standing before the grave of David Brainard was a particularly moving experience. Having just read his biography and diary over the past year, it was really something to see that there's a real grave marker and a real person behind the story of grace that I had been reading about. Right next to this was the grave of Jerusha Edwards and Solomon Stoddard as well. No doubt they were all rolling over in their graves a few years ago when their town celebrated the election of its first lesbian mayor.
The next day Jerky and I parted ways and I headed up to Maine to see some family. My uncle Larry and aunt Cathy live up there in the town of Bucksport, which is a quaint little town of about 5,000 people right off the coast.
They live in this old house that was built in 1832 which they are in the process of restoring.
As uncle Larry was giving us the tour he assured us that the house was not haunted...
...but then suddenly the picture on the wall changed and we were all left wondering!
Aunt Cathy filled our bellies with lots of good food all weekend.
Unfortunately I was only able to muster three bites of lobstah before giving up. Just not for me.
And then I headed back home. I intended to stop at the baseball HOF in Cooperstown, NY on my way back, but when I got there it was too crowded to even find a parking spot. I also intended to stop and see Niagara Falls, but by this time I felt that I had seen enough for one trip and decided to just head for home. I decided to drive over the top of Lake Michigan this time so I could avoid Chicago and have another chance to drive over the Mackinac Bridge again.
And then I drove through Wisconsin and made it home about 18 hours before the 35W bridge collapsed. Total mileage: 4,063.
Now for the introspective part of my recap...
I can't quite explain why I am so drawn to driving across the country. It never gets boring, and whenever I'm done I want to do it all over again. I've found an incredibly strong desire growing in me to drive to Alaska lately. Perhaps that will be my destination next year.
Part of the reason I love road trippin' so much is that it feels like such a daunting task when I start out, but when it's finished there is a sense of amazement that I've made it all the way through it without getting into any kind of a major accident or anything. I always have this sense when I start out that this is going to be the last one and I am probably going to die in a fiery crash somewhere along the way. I begin my trip very carefully, but after a couple thousand miles I begin to ease into it and I realize that I can't die until God wants me to and that worrying is not going to add a single cubit to my span or a mile to my trip. There's always at least one instance of a deer or something jumping out in front of me somewhere along the way. This time it happened in western New York. I was cruising along at about 70 and didn't even miss a beat as I swerved onto the shoulder and back again. It felt good to look in my rear-view mirror and realize that my life is in God's hands and that worrying will not help. Cliff Burton died because he drew an ace of spades. At least five people died because they crossed the Mississippi at 6:05 on Wednesday evening. My days are numbered by God alone.
So thus ends the great Road Trip of 2007. It was another successful one. Check out my photo album to see the rest of my pictures.
Next year: Alaska?