linking up with…
In 2010, I spent the spring semester of my junior year studying at the Winthrop University in South Carolina (with my good friend Kt) as part of a National Student Exchange program. It was a great time – we went on roadtrips, spent a weekend or two at the beach, took some interesting classes, and met some cool people including our southern sweetheart of a pal, Joanna, and Josh, the man who will become Kt’s husband in a mere 16 days!
But eventually it was time for us say goodbye and head back to Illinois. Below is the record of our trip home.
I thought this was perfect for this Throwback Thursday because Joanna, Kt, and I will be reunited after 3 years at Kt’s wedding this June!
The Final Chapter: SC to IL
Composed by: Katie and Megan (also know as the BTs)
Contents: commentary during our journey home (Rock Hill, SC -> Illinois!)
Duration: long hours of driving over 2 days
Departure: 7:48 pm ET on Tuesday, May 4
Return: 3:18 pm CT on Wednesday, May 5 for Katie, 7:30 pm CT for Megan
And the beginning of the end begins…
- Day 1
- (Recorded by Megan)
- 7:48 pm ET: Our finals are over & the car is packed. Stopped for gas on the way out of Rock Hill, SC. Have to drive by and visit Joanna (Katie’s Roommate, and our friend) at Kmart. This one last stop and then we’re on our way home! Our goal: stalk J (Katie’s boyfriend) to Virginia. He & his mom left a few hours prior and are driving the same route we plan to take. Perhaps we’ll even stay at the same hotel they will! Ooo… and surprise them at breakfast? Haha…we are such creeps!
- 8:06 pm: said a teary farewell to Joanna. Stocked up on Redbull & 3 liters of H2O. Put Katie’s Ficus plant in the cup holder on the dash so he can “feel the wind in his leaves”. I thought it would be nice for little Schmorgyborg the ficus. Katie thinks not. She thinks it’ll fling dirt in her face.
- 8:28 pm: Man gave us an odd look for dancing/jamming in the car. Our song of choice: “Shut it Down” by Pitbull. “I hit the jackpot ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ching!” Just passed Charlotte, NC.
- 8:33 pm: Katie was reprimanded for yawning so soon into the trip. She said not to worry – that it was just hyperness leaving her body. We’ll see….
- 8:38 pm: Having second thoughts about stalking Josh but then decided that we do this sort of thing all the time anyway. Case in point: Stalking Joanna ‘round campus. Stalking people on Facebook. Why not stalk Josh across a few state and to his hotel?! lol. As stalkers Katie says we’re moving up in the world. Our next victim? It could be you!!!
- 9:02 pm: passed by a Sheriff. aka “Cherub” as Katie and I say after an auditory mistake made months ago in the cafeteria.
- 9:04 pm: Katie yells “Slow Down!” at a passing car because of the Sheriff ahead of us. The speeding car she was warning turned out to by yet another “Cherub”. Ha!9:09 pm: Scary Man Alert!!! Weoo Weoo! Scary Man was spotted wandering on the side of the interstate. It was very dark and he was wearing a blue shirt, navy or black trousers, and was balding. Sorta creepy, not gonna lie.9:15 pm: Katie and Megan fantasize, and drool over, their midnight snack at McDonald’s. Only a few more hours til Satiation Station!9:45 pm: the Red Bull has been opened for sippage.
9:46 pm: Virginia!!!
9:48 pm: We appear to be driving in the mountains now. We dunno though. It’s dark.
9:48 and a 1/2 pm: Our hypothesis was correct. We are indeed in the mountains. Evidence: the sign we just passed that said watch out for falling rocks and crosswinds! Poor Tanya (Katie’s car)…she doesn’t like these steep climbs.
9:49 pm: Exit 8 for Fancy Gap anyone?
10:02 pm: A Walmart semi was driving for minutes down the exact middle of the road. “Roll Back” into your own lane buddy!
10:06 pm: Minor annoyance: Our ears keep popping due to elevation changes
10:13 pm: A secret bet was made about Katie’s future. Code name: Operation Peach Ring. Which happen to be delightfully delicious candy sweets as well.
10:29 pm: Traveling through the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel. Wicked cool! Almost 1 mile long…and no we sadly saw no mole people!
10:33 pm: Exit 52 to Bland, VA anyone?
10:35 pm: truck escape/runaway truck ramp was spotted. ah, gotta love the mountains!
10:37 pm: Switched tunage from FOB to MCR. For you old fogeys: We switched that newfangled iPody thing so it would play My Chemical Romance instead of Fall Out Boy – both bands that are sure to sounds like garbage, lawn mowers, or whiny boys to old ears or those who are unappreciative of their amazingness!!!
10:40 pm: driving through the Appalachian Mountains at night is so cool. like huge dark shadows on either side of the road, looming over the tiny crevice where cars wind amongst tall formations, lighted by only road reflectors and stars.
10:44 pm: 7 miles to West Virginia!
10:46 pm: Another tunnel! So excited! Sadly we will have tunnel withdrawal once we’re back to the Midwestern flat lands. This tunnel is brightly lit and extra long. It is sort of like driving through a kaleidoscope+strobe light. Or like driving through that tunnel in the Dark Knight/Batman movie.
10:47 pm: West Virginia sign has been spotted. “West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful”. Sounds like a stripper joint! Wonder if Peaches and Krystal are there?!
10:53 pm: Off on an exit to gas and food up. Passed a real stripper joint brilliantly named “Southern X-posure”
10:58 pm: McDonalds! Scary clown, great fries!
Katie begins to write
11:17: Josh knows that we are in West Virginia. Not sure he believes us. But hopefully we can convince him tomorrow at breakfast. haha. Chicken nuggets are delish and we are less than 80 miles from Charleson, WV now.
11:33: Passing semi after semi. Megan is letting the fry taste settle in her mouth and won’t drink any water.
11:38: Hit road construction south of Charleston. Saw signs for Exhibition Coal Museum. Also, other billboards for coal instead of oil. Megan says “We’re going into the abyss Katie.” We are really into the mountains now and our ears are popping crazy wicked right now. Only 51 more miles to Charleston. Our next mission is to find that the exit that Josh is staying at. Megan says, “Tanya and her downhills. She needs a runaway car lane.”
11:50: Katie is starting to get the night time giggles. 2 semis were tied with each other and we decided that the drivers were mooning each other. More road work ahead. We are ahead of schedule right now. Megan – “Feels slippery, but I like it.” Talking about he new road we were driving on.
12:15: Toll plaza worker woman was very mountaineer like. Looked like she was from the mountains, AKA a hillbilly. Passing through trashtastic valley. Houses run down/shacks. Keep on passing semis. Few cars to be seen. Hope to find hotel soon to rest our precious eyes. Now passing big mountain on left and river on right. Even in the dark, the landscape is nice.
Megan says that her tummy is tired. Telling Megan that she needs to go to sleep. Only 14 more miles, hopefully. I sort of feel like Jimmy Fallon when he writes his thank you notes as I read this aloud as I write. Hopefully we will be in bed by 1:00.
Exit 89. Marimet/Chesapeake there is a huge factory/refinery that goes on for what looks like miles. Huge!
12:41: Arrived and we are leaving Charleston already. Wanted to stop at the Days Inn and we were already to stop for the night, but the desk clerk informed us that we have to be 21 to rent a room. She asked us how old we were and we told her 20 so we thought everything was good, but as soon as she looked at Megan’s ID she said that we had to be 21. So we moved on with our lives because the state of West Virginia has a law that you have to be 21 to rent a hotel room. On to Kentucky we go. Getting a little tired, but we shall push on. Our stalking was an epic fail. Maybe we can try our luck another time.
1:09: Feels like we are in a green screen car. All the signs float on behind us. 24 more miles to Huntington.
1:18: Came up with the idea for conveyor belt for cars so we can sleep. Then realized that it sounds like a train is a similar idea.
1:27: Wish that Tanya had a bigger gas tank and we had bigger bladders. Still in West Virginia.
1:38: Great pun about cargo. Katie said we should take a plane that we could just put Tanya on. Hence… car go.
1:40: Huge refinery and entered Kentucky! Yay!
1:43: Katie messed with the defog button and accidentally fogged up the whole car. Oops. Still in the damn road construction. Spotted mysterious road kill. Our bodies have switched over to central time. Katie has a slight case of the giggles. Stopping for gas now.
Megan resumes writing.
1:51: Declined a room at the Days Inn because all that was left were smoking rooms. Back on the road and we are mad!
2:06: Stopped for gas and snacks. Talked to two lovely ladies at the gas station. Very sympathetic of our situation and had some great accents.
2:13: That’s right. 2:13 am. So the Red Bull we drank at 9 is still in effect. Too caffeinated to sleep.
3:00pm: After yet another full hotel! damn construction workers… we finally found a Super 8!
That night we didn’t sleep well and woke up early to start our driving once again.
- Day 2
- 8:50am: On the road again. Ugh… so sleepy! Only got like 4 hours of sleep.
- 8:56: With $6 in tolls in West Virginia and $2.95 gas in W.V. and Kentucky… they are robbing us blind!
- 9:37: KT informs me that Joanna was sad because she forgot to take us fishing this semester. damn…. The BTs love fishing especially because BT can stand for bait and tackle or bass and trout.
- 9:38: Lexington, KY 9 miles.
- 9:44: McGuiver moment! Motor oil in the front had fallen during the night. Spilled on the rubber floor mat. Why they didn’t make a more secure cap we don’t know. Anyway, problem solved with a little inspiration from the Saudi Arabians.
- 9:54: Katie screamed “Horse Country!!!”
- 9:55: Ponder being safe in a cave during a tornado.
- 9:56: Epic fail by Katie to stop swearing before she gets home and is scolded by her mama.
- 10:01: Katie used the word “nurse.” hahaha. Her exact sentence: “I’d kind of like to nurse a Red Bull right now, but I don’t think that is a good idea.” Here nurse means to drink/sip not nursin’ babies! bahahahaha.
- 10:06: 5 minutes as I predicted. Katie decides to drink, or nurse if you will, half a Red Bull. Her other half she shared with me. She had me pour it into her cup and realized that it was not clear or red as we had assumed but yellow. Urine colored to be exact. Dehydrated urine.10:08: In Distillery Country now. If only we had a designated driver or an extra birthday under our belts. That would have solved our West Virginia hotel issue too.
- 10:11: Katie said “I do love bourbon for breakfast.” Though she has never actually had bourbon or any alcohol for that matter.
- 10:13: Katie wishes dinosaurs were still alive.10:16: Katie once again fails to keep her cursing in order. If she were to pay ten cents a word, we would have a nice half dollar by now.
- 10:20: Katie says she needs to “fandangle” this, aka pass a car strategically.
- 10:28: Dear World, never ever ever ever ever call Katie, Kathy. Ever. If you value your life.10:32: Just saw a Red Bull truck. We toasted our cans to them.Disclaimer: In no way is Red Bull healthy or should it be consumed daily but on long road trips or in a crunch, it is liquid gold.10:44: Through a short tunnel, but a tunnel never the less! yay!
10:48: Entered Indiana, the state not the Jones. harhar.
10:53: Saw man arrested and a billboard for a gun show. We really are in Indiana now.
11:05: Crazy, rogue, one headlight out, “drunk semi” swerving lanes like it was a Porsche.
11:06: 92 more miles to Indianapolis.
11:11: That is all.
11:14: Katie swears she saw a dead roadkill sheep. She said it was large and fury. Although now she supposes it could have been a carpet.
11:36: Katie probably owes about $1 now for her filthy language…. haha
11:37: We hate stupid tour buses that can’t drive.
- 11:38: If careers in psychology and nutrition don’t work out for us, Katie and I are hittin’ the road to drive the BIG RIGS!
- 11:42: Katie swears she saw a dead beaver. Who knows. Although we did just see a dead deer. Ah, roadkill.
- 11:48: Finally passed that obnoxious tour bus. 10 freaking minutes later. In case you didn’t know, BIG ASS VEHICLES like semis and tour buses go on the right, slow lane. That includes you, large bus!
- Changed our clock to central time to get ready for Illinois. Katie starts writing.11:30: Back on the road after getting some delicious Subway. When we got back into the car it reeked of greenhouse due to the ficus chilling out in the cup holder. We will be to Indianapolis soon. Central TIME!!!11:39: Megan and I were very excited to see that the crazy drunk semi from earlier was pulled over. “Revenge is sweet.”1:02: Finally in ILLINOIS! WEEOOOdirty windshield…Illinois!!!
- 1:19: Megan commented that when we are 21 we can rob that kind of semi. Talking about an alcohol truck.
- 1:25: I started making inapropro kissing noises at Megan. She declined my offer.
- 1:30: Megan eating chips says, “Sometimes I like to pretend to be a giant eating human baby bones” Crunch, crunch, crunch.
- 2:26: Caught Megan weaving the car like a NASCAR driver. She is really bored.
- 2:28: Texting with JoJo for fun and giggles.2:32: Feels like we are never going to get home. Flat Illinois land continues. Megan said, “Look at the smokestacks.” I thought, “Look at the juice box!” Apparently, I could go for some apple juice. Looks like a train being held hostage in the woods.
- 2:38: Ended up being a big shed on fire with big black smoke and angry flames saying, “yum, yum barn.”
- 2:44: Wind turbines have been spotted. Have to be getting close to home now.
- 2:53: Dwight! We stopped and got gas and we are now back on the road. Almost there.
- 3:18: MORRIS!
- This is where our Roadtrip ends.
- Katie met up with her family here & Ryan picked me up to take me the final 2.5 hrs home to Mt.C for the summer.
- Boy, what a fun semester!