The Interstate Experience
Baltimore Travel Blog› entry 39 of 96 › view all entries
Early start this morning as I had to get all the way down to Virginia by the evening.
After a brief breakfast, thankyous and goodbyes to my find host C, I headed out. Fuel stop first (or 'gas' as I will undoubtedly be corrected). Refueling the car has been somewhat of a challenge for me on this continent. Back in the UK you can just wander up to a pump choose the hose for the desired flavour (raspberry is mine but no one ever stocks it) and away you go.
In the states you have a number of strange lateral thinking puzzles to overcome before any gas is dispensed. For starters, you have to pay first if you're paying with cash. This I now think is quite logical as it stops people scarpering after filling up without paying. Next is the magic of the start button, without which you will be left scratching your cranium and looking like a wally (the latter I am now a past master at).
Finally I fuelded up and drove off to find route 95 which would take me most of the way to Richmond. Nobody warned me that there would be toll booths! A long list of factors complicated every approach to a toll plaza. After about the 5th I had the order of events sussed, but then the next one greeted me with a broken down van caught inside the yellow zone and the car infront of me motioning me to back up.
Next was the joys of the New Jersey Turnpike. I pulled off and called my Friend E (a different but just as important E as the other E to which I keep refering) as she used to live in the area. She agreed to meet me in Baltimore (meeting me in St. Louis wasn't going to work as we didn't know the lyrics).
Back on the '95 the traffic slowed to a grind and eventually filtered past two cars that had fender bendered. The cars were in the middle of the highway, perfectly drivable but the owners were swapping driving tips while the queue around them started to fume.
I got into Baltimore and entered a Stepford wives style gated community where a BBQ was going on. It was to this BBQ I was headed to meet up with E (you know which one)(no not that one, the other one). A couple of beers and some tiramisu later found me challenging all and sundry on the pool table. A sound thrashing from a guy from Rochdale sent me packing and we retreated to an apartment across town. I had the whole sofa to myself, unfortunately it was a might too short so I had to leave my legs outside. Thankyou to P for the use of his sofa despite its length. After a restless night I headed on to Richmond...