This past week, my oldest daughter Michelle and I took a road trip to visit a college she was considering attending, West Virginia University (WVU), in Morgantown, West Virginia. On the map, it doesn't look that far away and Mapquest said it was a seven-hour drive.
We had told Michelle that she had a four-hour time radius in which to find a college she wanted to attend. She found two, one in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island that had her preferred programme, which is Speech Pathology and Audiology.
I did break that four-hour rule by agreeing to visit WVU. I thought it would be a good idea as a back up to the back up. Little did I know what I was to happen? I got onto the computer to find that easiest way to West Virginia.
Here's the problem with on line mapping services, which I've encountered in the past. They don't take into consideration weather and traffic conditions, including roadwork. The app for phones that do include such considerations is Waze. The problem was I just couldn't get it to give me a good route to West Virginia. It insisted on taking the long way around.
I also couldn't get MapQuest and Google Maps to cooperate, so I used Maggie Magellan, my almost eight-year-old portable car GPS system. She gave me the route I wanted both ways. I did have a little glitch coming back, when I removed one-step and the directions went crazy, giving me the worst route possible.
I did the only thing I could. I cancelled the original route and started over. What a pain in the ass.
Michelle got home from school Thursday at 2:30 pm and we were on the road at three. As soon as we got past Kennedy Airport, on the Belt Parkway, we hit a lot of traffic, which cleared up after we got past the mall exits.
We flew through New Jersey and hit some more traffic in Pennsylvania; there was a huge accident on the other side of the highway and the police had closed one lane, on our side. Rubbernecking is not one of my favourite things.
We stopped for dinner at a Cracker Barrel in Harrisburg around 7 pm and hit the road an hour later.
By the time we got to Hagerstown, MD, I was dead tired. I decided to stop at The Hampton Inn there, instead of driving another two and half hours to Morgantown. I went inside and asked if they had a room. Could someone call the Morgantown Hampton Inn and cancel reservation there?
Yes! Shauna and Katie at the front desk took care of everything. All we wanted to do was hit our room and go to sleep. They were so friendly and helpful after a long day on the road.
The next morning we're up early at 6 am, get down to breakfast and on the road by 7:15 am. Oh joy, another two and half hours in the car.
The strangest thing happened as we were at the end of the Maryland highway just before West Virginia; it started to rain, and then snow. Thank goodness, the road was empty. I hate driving on highways in bad weather. We stopped at the West Virginia visitors center for a quick bathroom break, took some pictures and off we go on the final leg of this journey.
We get to the WVU Visitors Center at 9:55 am and meet briefly with the Assistant Director of Admission, Christine, whom Michelle had been emailing. Then we went into a meeting room, with several other people, for a PowerPoint presentation.
After that, Ryan took us on a tour of Morgantown and the campus. From the looks of it, Morgantown developed around the school. The university has several different campuses around town, all within a mile or so of each other.
I kept asking myself, why did we come here? There is no way in hell she is going eight hours away from home for college.
We were supposed to meet with someone from the Education Department at 1 pm and we wouldn't be on the road until 2 pm. We decided not to waste our time and left.
Across the road was a gas station and fast food chain, Streetz. I filled up the car and Michelle got some food. I wasn't hungry. There were snacks and water in the car, I'd be happy with that.
We made several pit stops on the way home, and it took us eight hours to get home. We had one incident at The Verrazano Bridge. Some idiot wouldn't let me into the right lane so I could go on the lower level; I was stuck on the upper level. There is construction going on, so the lanes are very narrow.
There is a moron behind me flashing their bright headlamp! What do they want me to do? I did what any native New Yorker would do, I flipped them the bird and tried to pass the truck on my right.
It's changing lanes, which is illegal in a solid white line construction zone, figuring out how to pass me. That wasn't going to happen so fast. It's still flashing its bright headlamps and I'm getter madder and madder. When it passes us, it turns out to be a woman and both Michelle and I flip her off. I wanted to get behind her, and flash my bright headlamps, but she went straight while I went left.
Karma is a bitch, and she will get what she deserves sometime soon from another driver she'll piss off.
She said just to see WVU; it was good bonding time, too. I told her we bonded when she was born and the four-hour rule now holds harder than ever.
These long drives are tedious, tiring. As I get older, I find it harder to drive at night with all the idiots on the road.
My advice to all parents, with kids that want to go to a faraway college, let them drive the entire way or just say, “No.”
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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