Archive for September 19, 2010

Day 112: This is it

September 19, 2010 7 comments

Location: Endwell, NY (HOME)

Miles Driven: 236

Total Miles: 25,821

112 days.  Wow.  Originally when I set off from Atlanta the day before Memorial Day, I figured the trip would be about 90 days in total.  I’m glad I had a flexible schedule and could extend it, for no roadtrip should end in haste, especially one where I’ve been lucky to see so many incredible places and meet up with so many friends.

But let’s not talk about the end too much, I still have at least one or two more posts after this to recap the trip.  So now, let’s pick up where I left off, in New Jersey.  The prior night was Sam’s party for successfully becoming an attorney, and I woke up at his place early to get my stuff together (and play some video games) before I hit the road one last time.  Around 10AM I left Sam’s and met up with my buddy Nachiket for breakfast in Mt. Holly.  Always good to see this great friend I’ve had since grad school (2006), and he’s been pretty helpful getting me prepped for the upcoming trip to Nepal.  We had a good breakfast (I ate way too much) at a Cracker Barrel.  By the way, their fried apples are amazing.  Thanks again, Nachiket!

From there, I headed towards Philly to meet a friend I hadn’t seen since some point in 2009, I think.  I made plans to meet up with Jen at a Starbucks near her home in downtown Philly.  I had never been to that section of Philly; in fact, I’ve been to few places in Philly.  But it turned out she lives in a very historic area.  I was surprised to see the “Betsy Ross House” a block away from where I parked my car, and directly across the street from the Starbucks.

After catching up a bit, Jen and I went to walk around some of the nearby historic sites.  I had only seen these places in the movie “National Treasure” before, so needless to say it was great to experience them up close.

Ben Franklin's grave

Independence Hall

Tomb for unknown soldiers who fought in the Revolution

After a good bit of walking we meandered back towards my car. Glad I got to meet up with Jen.  When I return from Peace Corps, I think I’m going to hire Jen as my physics tutor if I decide to go study astronomy.

I left Philly on a course direct for home. I only had about three hours to go, total.  My final arrival time was pushed back a bit, as I encountered some traffic and needed to stop for a nap.  I then realized that was probably the last nap ever I’d take in the Mazda.  Ahh, it’s been so comfortable for me.  It wasn’t too long before I saw some signs pointing me home…

I’ve always enjoyed the drive through Pennsylvania, and it was especially nice this time as I had good weather and the leaves were starting to change on the trees.

The drive went by fairly quickly.  Before I knew it, I crossed the PA/NY border and was soon in Binghamton.  Only 15 minutes later I’d arrive at my home where I’ll stay through the end of the year.

Home sweet home

And with that, I pulled into the driveway.  Definitely a mix of emotions putting the car in park, but it’s certainly a comforting feeling to be home.

What a ride.


Day 111: Don’t you dare put “esquire” after your name

September 19, 2010 2 comments

Location: Haddonfield, NJ

Miles Driven: ~150

Total Miles: ~25,356

I left Matt’s apartment around 10AM to get started with the driving for the day.  I needed gas, so I had another reminder of life near DC again after paying $3.09/gallon.  I used the last of my Exxon gift cards – once again, I owe a big thanks to my friends in Owego for those.

My plan for the day was to make it up to Sam’s area in NJ, but first I’d stop in Baltimore to see some people.


My first stop was to visit my buddy Jon who attends Johns Hopkins University.  The timing worked out well, as I arrived a little before his afternoon class, so he showed me around the beautiful campus.


We took our turns posing for photographs, Asian-style.

It was great to walk around a college campus once again, especially one that looked so nice. Hard to believe you could have a campus looking like this right inside a big city like Baltimore.

Jon took me to the Physics and Astronomy building, and there I got a good look at the Hastings refractor, a large telescope used back in the late 1800s.

And for some perspective on how big this thing is…

And we walked to another section of the campus…

Then Jon had to get going to class, so it was time for me to head out.  Great to hang out with my old officemate, and I’m excited to see where this future doctor is going to wind up in the next few years.  Best of luck with your senior year, buddy.

My next stop was an area of Baltimore called Hunt Valley.  There, I met up with my cousin Devin, and we realized it’s been more years than we could remember since we last saw each other…probably at least eight or so years, if not longer.  He has since caught up to me in the height department.

We grabbed some bbq lunch at a local place called Andy Nelson’s.  I highly recommend this to anyone in the Baltimore area.  Great food.  And be sure to try the cornbread.

my pulled pork sandwich with slaw topping

Great time hanging with Devin…I should see my cousins more often.  Good luck in B-more, man.

And with that, I was back on the road headed towards NJ.  It was an easy drive (pretty much anything under 5 hours I view as “easy”).  Got to Sam’s house, and a few hours later we were off to his celebratory dinner.  Sam is now a full-fledged attorney (I know…hide your groans), and definitely worked his ass of to get to this point.  He has earned that “esquire” suffix to his name, though I told him I’d punch him if he ever introduced himself that way. 

For the celebration, we had a private room set up at the nearby Seasons 52 restaurant, and we all enjoyed a great meal with lots of good stories shared.

Rachel, Sam, and his dad

Rachel ordered some specialized M&Ms for the occasion.  Brilliant idea:

As much as I wanted to preserve those M&Ms, I made sure to take the above photo so they would be remembered forever after I devoured my little baggie.

Just a great party.  Here are some more photos from the night:

Sam's parents

rack of "mini indulgences"

family shot

Sam and Rachel

Thumbs up for passing the bar exam

After the dinner, we headed back to Sam’s place for some dessert.  I never had a Cold Stone ice cream cake before.  Great call by Rachel, it was delicious.

What a great way to spend my last full day on the road, celebrating my best friend’s well-deserved achievement.  Couldn’t think of anything better to do.

Tomorrow, Saturday, is it…I’ll be back home in NY Saturday afternoon.