tuesday, may 17th, 10am-ish - getting the hell out of suffolk
left suffolk as fast as humanly possible, after a less-than-relaxing night at the rodeway inn. we didn’t even stop for coffee before leaving. the road out of suffok brought us through franklin, va, which smelled even worse than suffolk.
when we crossed out of virginia into north carolina, we cheered. north carolina welcomed us with a sign and the best rest stop yet (although there was also this weird sign about people approaching us for money... apparently the panhandlers in NC are a mobile and enterprising bunch).
12:30am - durham, north carolina
oh durham, how i love you. durham is a beautiful little city, lots of greenery and super friendly people. we parked the car and wandered a bit, asking about wifi. we were sent to the edges of the duke university campus, where we settled in for a bit at madhatter's cafe. initially their connection was down but i coaxed a nice man into climbing into the ceiling for us to reset the router. then i realized it was actually a user-error - me being on the wrong network. oops. i am a doofus. kate and i were wearing matching red sox t-shirts, rolled up jeans, reef-like flip-flops and sunglasses on our heads. we got a lot of funny looks from the north carolinians, many of whom probably thought we were some real live massachussetts lesbians. but the t-shirts started a lively conversation with precious, a bronx-born yankees fan who served us delicious coffee, cookies and sandwiches. thanks precious! you're the best (because hey, it's not your fault you're a new yorker... ;)
from the madhatter we posted a bit and then their connection went down (for real this time!), so we gassed up and headed toward tennessee. mid-north carolina proved to be pretty boring. then we hit them - the great smoky mountains. for all you doubting thomas' who asked, "dollywood? tennessee? why?" lemme tell you... the smoky mountains are stunning. just breathtaking. the road over/through the smokies of NC was both thrilling and terrifying - thrilling because i felt like i was in a car commercial on one of those really fun windy roads they always show. terrifying because I40 is apparently a huge trucking route, and we were surrounded by massive tracter trailers on windy roads and steep inclines. unfortunately, we don't have any good pics to share because we forgot to clean off the windshield in durham and the windshield was a bug graveyard. proof - here's the pic kate tried to take of the 'welcome to tennessee' sign.
yup, that's right - we made it to tennessee yesterday at around 8pm!!! quite the accomplishment, i think. the driving was epic, totalling about 500 miles yesterday alone. right now, we're at about 1200 total miles. we got into pigeon forge, TN around 8:30pm. and then the adventure really began.