Day 1: -Ville to -Ville to -Ville

25 Jun

Welcome back, road warriors! Crazy Momma’s Road Trip: Summer 2019 – US History Edition is now in effect! This morning at 10:15am, we rolled out of our driveway to start one of our most epic adventures yet. It will follow a fairly typical path, with some exciting new experiences ahead.

It was a relaxed start to our adventures this year. Only thing on the docket for day 1, a fairly easy jaunt up to Greenville, SC, to visit with my best friend from college and her brood. So we rolled out of Jacksonville without too much urgency, knowing we had a fairly easy day ahead of us. The weather was glorious – bright, open blue sky without a rain cloud in sight. Of course, I wasn’t thinking it was all that glorious as we stepped out of our car in Orangeburg, SC, and nearly melted into the tarmac. But in terms of clear weather driving inside my temperature-controlled minivan, conditions were ideal. The only problem was, and I think Sartre stated it most succinctly, “Hell is other people.” When is it that people stopped being taught how to drive? Seriously. Is that the problem? That no one bothers to talk about those unspoken (and sometimes mandated by law!) rules of the road? Most importantly, and I really am having to restrain myself from using all caps here, the far left lane is for passing only!! Holy smokes. It’s an issue, people. A safety issue. When I was a kid my best friend, Julie, had this awesome pad of signs that you could show to other drivers. It was shaped like a paddle and you could flip over the message you wanted to show. They were innocuous sayings, to the best of my recollection (which some could verify does seem to be shockingly spotty these days). But I recall us laughing in a very silly manner, and surely we wouldn’t have been allowed to play with it if it was inappropriate, even if it was the early 80s. Anyway, I thought of that today because I desperately wished I had one of those paddles. Every time I used the middle lane to pas a car moving at speed limit in the far left lane, I wanted to show them the sign, “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!” Because they are. They are doing it wrong. To the detriment of us all.


One interesting thing that presented itself on the drive was a difference noted between traveling I-95 vs. I-26. We had a good start on our license plate game; the first day is generally quite fruitful. We rounded up half the states, including Montana, one of the more elusive western states. But there was a marked difference between the diversity of plates seen while traveling I-95 vs. I-26. The majority of those 25 states found were seen on I-95. And you might say, yeah, but that’s where you started in Jacksonville, so that stands to reason. But it was more than that. Once we took the turn onto I-26, the diversity in the states represented decreased. The vast majority of plates were South Carolina plates, with a few GA, FL, and NC thrown in. It is interesting to me mostly because I noticed the pattern. Can’t really say it means anything, just seemed a surprising revelation.

Other than the dull ache of arthritis in my driving knee, and some frustrations due to other drivers not understanding the logistics of traffic flow, it really was a laid back, easy drive. Hopefully this auspicious start will be reflective of the trip as a whole.

We arrived in Greenville to meet Erin at a wonderfully cute book store in downtown Greenville called M. Judson on South Main. We were stopped immediately as we walked in the door by the amazing accent wall made of books surrounding their counter. Absolutely mesmerizing. Like using books as Legos. I sense a home improvement project coming on! Once we made our way into the store we met up with Erin and Mary Hazel, to be joined shortly by Charlie, Poppy, and DanDaddy and GranMary McKinney. What a fun time having some gourmet burgers and catching up with this crew. After dinner, the McKinneys headed back to Anderson and their delightful Windward Meadows, while the two crazy mommas and our collective brood of 6 met up with dear Clevey for some after dinner frivolity. Okay, so what I really mean here is ice cream and frozen yogurt, but the best part of the evening was spending time catching up with friends. After some sweet treats, we walked around the always lovely Falls Park on the Reedy while the children scampered off (sometimes because we shooed them away) so the grown-ups could talk. Other than it being insanely humid and hot tonight, it really is a pleasant place to spend an hour or two. It is such a beautiful park, with lots of meandering paths and scenic vistas to the waterfall. But hey, Erin and Clevey, next time let’s do it with beers and no kids, huh?

Too soon it was time for the hot and sticky Willims to jump back into the car and head up the road. I wanted to put a little more distance on the odometer, so we are tonight resting our heads in Hendersonville, NC, making our path today – Jacksonville to Greenville to Hendersonville. This may seem a strange place to stop for the night when tomorrow’s destination is Northern Virginia, but this ol’ Crazy Momma has a trick up her sleeve for tomorrow morning. Shhhhhh, it’s a surprise…


Day 1 – By the numbers:

Odometer: 126,795 – 127, 242 (447 miles)

Total travel time: 12 hours

States traveled in/through: 4 – FL, GA, SC, NC

Cheapest gas: $2.29/gal – Orangeburg, SC

Current standings in the CMRT 2019 Lottery Project: $5 in/ $6 out (+$1 profit)

Number of states found in our license plate-palooza: 25 (No, one of them was not North Dakota)

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