Road Trip Day 1: DC to Dayton

After an emotional week that included even more hard stuff than we planned on, we finally had our entire apartment packed into a truck, and had said goodbye to dozens of friends, co-workers, neighbors, and church family. This morning we got up, finished cleaning up and packing a few last things (of course the internet connection was the last thing to take down), said goodbye to a few neighbors, and finally drove off.

We left the DC area around 10:30, a bit later than planned, with Jenn driving the 16 foot yellow Penske truck and Dave following in our Ford Escape Hybrid (both packed to the gills with all our stuff).

Day 1 photos can be found here.

MD CountrysideThe trip was basically uneventful – just typical driving nuttiness. We drove all the way from Maryland to Dayton, OH – about an 8 hour drive not including stops for lunch, gas, and restrooms. We made pretty good time, following the directions that Google suggested. There wasn’t much traffic, especially since we were driving through hills or countryside most of the time. Other than the Beltway, the worst traffic we hit was in Columbus around 6:30 pm, and through the construction in downtown Dayton when we got there.

There were a few insane people on the road, though, and it’s amazing how they pop up more than once on a long trip like this. When we were driving through Maryland – I think near Hagerstown – there was a little red Ford Focus hatchback with a crunched back bumper. We were all driving down a steep hill, where the speed limit was either 55 or 65 (which meant that most of the traffic was going no slower than 75 mph because of the incline). The person driving this car was braking the entire way down the hill, seemingly trying to achieve something like 40 mph. Dave and Jenn – separately – each thought to ourselves, “Wow, that’s dangerous.” No surprise that the rear bumper would be in that condition!

But we hadn’t seen the last of this person! Outside of Morgantown WV, there was some freeway construction that brought all of the traffic down to one lane, and the speed limit was 55 mph. Unfortunately the entire mile-long line of cars was forced to go 35 mph because of the one slow person at the head of the line – the same red Ford Focus hatchback! Thankfully they exited the highway instead of slowing down traffic for the entire four miles of construction.

Unrelated: We also saw what looked like a drug bust, but who knows what it actually was. Not long before crossing out of Maryland, there were a number of sheriff cars that had several cars pulled over to the side of the road, and all of those cars’ occupants were sitting on the ground in front of their cars. Hard to tell what’s going on, on the other side of the freeway when you’re driving by at 70 mph. Maybe it’s related to this.

One more amusing observation: When we crossed over from MD into WV, the speed limit goes up from 65 mph to 70 mph. You can deduce that this means the speed limit drops when going the opposite direction. There was a Maryland State Trooper just waiting at the border to bust people who didn’t slow down. “Welcome to Maryland – now give us money.”

Stimulus-funded RoadworkWe’re going to try to count all of the freeway construction sites that benefit from the stimulus funding (marked by signs that say “Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”). So far we have seen at least two: one on I-270 near Germantown, and the other on I-79 (I think) about 10 miles from Wheeling. We will keep you updated on your tax dollars putting Americans to work.

We got to Dayton around 7:30 pm and were thrilled to see our friends Ryan and Elyn, their adorable 2 year old Mollie, and their sweet little dog Emma. We had a yummy relaxing dinner and watched some Home Run Derby. It’s nice to sleep in a real bed instead of camping out on our floor using an air mattress. =)

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