Matt and I drove straight home from Winston, and made it all the way there in a little more than eleven hours. As nice as it was to get it out of the way in one day, I knew that when I went back by myself (with the pupster) I’d want to break it into a 2 day trip. Fortunately for me, the roads from Pittsford to Winston are littered with far-flung friends and relatives. (I meant littered in the nicest way possible, far flung friends and relatives.) I decided to stop in Fredericksburg overnight, which added an extra hour to both days, but meant that I’d get to stay with my aunt, who is both a gourmet cook, a heavy handed wine pour and a fabulous storyteller. She’s also got two wall-to-wall bookshelves and heavy slant towards cookbooks and food writers (Michael Pollan, Nina Plack, Mark Bittman.) In other words: oasis, much?
I got on the road Wednesday after a late start, delayed by the threat of snow flurries. With Buddy buckled in the back seat, a bag of road trip snacks (grapes, apples, and Wegmans gummis) besides me, and a fully charged iPod we set out. Using a map. That’s right, I decided to forego the all-knowing TomTom, which wanted me to take major highways to F-burg, in favor of the route my Dad highlighted on a map 11 years ago when he first took me down to look at Wake Forest. While you give up 70 mph speed limits, you get New York Finger Lakes, rural farm lands in Pennsylvania and horse country in Virginia in exchange. The 35-mph towns would probably frustrate most people, but I rarely do road trips with a deadline in mind with my propensity to stop for Mt. Dew refills every 2 hours anyways.
I arrived in Fredricksburg after 8 hours on the road, and I was welcomed by my Aunt, her excited Cairn Terrier and her affectionate one-eyed kitty (a rescue from a kitty mill). She poured me a glass of wine, as I hung over the counter in her kitchen and watched her put dinner together – roasted Cornish Game Hen, cranberry rice pilaf and roasted beets and shallots over arugula and goat cheese. (Yes, Mom, I asked if I could help and I did put my dishes in the dishwasher.) After dinner, we curled up near a roaring fire and she entertained me with family stories, including telling me about my Grandparent’s first encounter, first date and marriage proposal. We talked until I had to prop my eyelids up, and then I shuffled off to bed. That night I slept under a quilt made by my grandmother, flanked on either side of me with my own little pup dog and one-eyed Kee Cat.
I barely got on the road the next morning, held up by more ice, more stories from my Aunt and the most delicious latte. I did finally pack up the car and say my good-byes, and got back on the road. Only before I could get to Winston, I had one more pit stop.
When I was reviewing the route with my Dad, I noticed that one of my many options of Fredericksburg to Winston included passing near or through Charlottesville. One cannot travel mere miles from a wino without stopping in to say hello! I pulled off the highway in Charlottesville and zig-zagged through the mountainous streets until I found Jess’s house. As Buddy and Ivy forlicked in the snow (from 2 weeks ago!) in her backyard, Jess and I cuddled up with a cup of coffee – a break from writing her dissertation, a break from the growing monotony of the highway. I could have stayed all day, but I knew I’d regret it as night fell and I was still on the road.
I made it home around 5 that night, road-weary and completely uninterested in anything but eating dinner, taking a shower and going to bed. Sad to admit though, since it was New Year’s Eve! Matt and I cooked dinner together, and toasted to the New Years with Crystal Light, as he prepped to go to work and I was completely wine-d out (what?!) form my week at home. He headed in around 10, and I clicked the lights off at eleven. When the ball dropped on 2010, I was far gone into dreamland, putting another long but lovely journey behind me.