On November 1st I packed up my newly purchased, and slighted used 2009 Honda Accord in Philadelphia. Six days and 2,872 miles later I was in Los Angeles. My Dad and I drove cross country on a father-son bonding trip. We plotted out the trip to drive 700 miles a day, and alternated taking two hour shifts for roughly twelve hours a day.
Here’s my journal of each day.
Day 1: Philly to Indianapolis
I said goodbye to Sean – my boyfriend of nearly seven years, and my roommate for two. The night before on Halloween he was the life of the party as the Long Island Jew, Linda Richman, but at 6:30am he was in a bathrobe and was a sobbing mess.
I picked up my Dad from the University City train station and we drove west on I-76. We hit a ton of traffic getting out of Philly, but once we got past King of Prussia, it was smooth sailing. The five hour trek from Philly to Pittsburgh was uneventful, except for the snow. Hurricane Sandy had decimated the Mid-Atlantic, but it brought several inches of snow to the central part of the state.
It’s funny thinking about snow now, since today’s high in LA was 79 degrees as I write this. But there was plenty of snow near Allentown and west through Harrisburg. The snow stopped once we got closer to Pittsburgh. The tiny sliver of West Virginia that we drove through was blink-and-you-miss-it, and not much to report, but Ohio was vast and open. There were fields, sky, and scenes like this:
By the time we rolled into Indianapolis we had traveled 643 miles and felt every one of them. We went to a sports bar that my aunt suggested to celebrate our first leg of the trip with a few beers. I always feel out of my element in sports bars. Although I consider myself competitive, I’m not a huge sports fan. My Dad, on the other hand, loves sports – at home in Delaware he has a basement dedicated to Philadelphia sports memorabilia including signed Eagles jerseys, rare Phillies Baseball cards, and seats from Veterans Stadium. In that way, we’re the father son odd couple I guess.
The waiter at the sports bar told us he loved Philly when he asked where we were from (I guess he could tell from our accents, or lack thereof) and said his favorite bar was The Nodding Head, which coincidentally also happens to be my favorite as well. We walked around Indianapolis, and we were approached by a man who claimed to have been stranded and all he needed was $15 to get on a train. My Dad fell for it and shelled out his money, while I shook my head.
The jaded Philadelphian in me has seen that trick a hundred times, but my Dad felt genuine pity for him. I guess that’s the difference between being hardened by a city and being a trusting suburbanite. The midwest has a sense of charm about it. Good people, doing good things, in God’s country. Oh yeah, there was a lot of God and religion once we kept driving further west, but that’s for the next post. I’ll leave you with this gorgeous view from our hotel window in Monument Circle.