Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel Hill, or at least the town center, indeed sits atop a hill which was originally occupied by a small Anglican "chapel of ease", built in 1752, known as New Hope Chapel. The Carolina Inn now occupies the site of the original chapel. In 1819, the town was founded to serve the University of North Carolina and grew up around it. The town was chartered in 1851, and its main street, Franklin Street, was named in memory of Benjamin Franklin. -Wikipedia

I could definitely see myself living in a town like this. It is very quaint and reminds me of Fort Collins, Colorado in a way. The streets all have bike lanes and everyone looks healthy. The University of North Carolina meets Franklin St. and you can see into the campus as you pass by. The houses that flank campus are impeccably maintained mansions; they must be the fraternities and sororities.

I wandered around Chapel Hill for a while and looked in a few stores. I was heading back the way I came up East Franklin St. when all of a sudden the sky decided to open up and let loose a waterfall of rain. I made it under an awning fast, but it was so windy I got soaked all over my back, front still completely dry.

Overheard at the Post Office today in Chapel Hill, NC:
"I would like to get my mail forwarded to Japan"
"You're moving to Japan? What, you don't like it here no more?"

Haha. That made me laugh. The guy at the post office was pretty funny.

"My heart is shaped like a bicycle" -Desi

If you are ever in Chapel Hill, go check out LightYears Jewelry store. It is a small, North Carolina local jewelry store that has all kinds of neat stuff. I saw some earrings in there that were similar to something you might find in Sundance Catalog, which I love, and much less expensive.

More Photos

I promise I will be adding some pictures to my blog so it isn't so text heavy. I was too afraid to stop the car last night to take a picture of what I was driving in. You never know who or what is looming in the darkness!

Lost Highway

Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I left Lancaster this morning around 11:30. I was checking the weather periodically throughout the morning because the word was out that a storm was hitting the northwest. According to the Weather Channel, there was going to be bad weather through Baltimore, DC, and Richmond. I headed out regardless of my Grandmothers’ concerns of trouble on the road (lets’ face it, I’ve been accustomed to driving in bad weather for a few years) due to the storm heading this way.

I was already an hour into the journey to Carrboro and I hadn’t even seen any precipitation. I was mostly hoping that the bad weather wasn’t supposed to start until later in the evening when I was already too far south to care. When I started getting closer to Baltimore the sky looked bleak.

I stopped just south of DC at a rest stop. Traffic had started to pick up and I really needed a restroom. I had to laugh a little when I went inside because I don’t trust anyone and concealed all my belongings in my car before I went into the bathroom. When I went into the bathroom, ironically, there was a plaque on the backside of the bathroom door that read “do not hang belongings on the hook, please use the lower hook for purse.”

I remember being in high school and being told a travel story of a family friend; her mother had hung her purse on the coat hook on the inside of a bathroom stall in a rest stop. Someone reached over the top of the stall door and unhooked her purse and stole it. Ever since was told this story I have at least double wrapped my purse strap or not hung my valuables on the backside of a stall door. For someone who apparently has always been pretty sheltered, I always just thought it was an urban legend (although I still believed it).

I was in the restroom for about 72 seconds. Hardly enough time for someone to try to break into Rheannon, or to try to reach over the stall door, only to realize that I didn’t have a purse for which I would have busted out of the stall, chased the culprit down and started donkey punching. (Get it? DONK)

I got back onto I-95 with some traffic on the road. Somehow I still managed to make it through Richmond in adequate time and decided to drive to Hampton, VA to visit my friend Greg.

Greg is a friend from High School. I haven’t seen him much since high school. In November, our friends’ Melissa and Matt tied the knot and I got to spend some time with him and some other great people. I decided that, albeit out of the way by an hour or so, it would be nice to stop in and visit him. He’s one of those people that just make you smile and make you feel good about humanity. He is also a manager at Hooters.

I’ve never been to a Hooters’ before, what the hell? Well, let me just say that I was one of three women in the joint aside from the waitresses. I have never seen so much skin when I was trying to eat! But hey, I guess you just take it for what it is and move on.

This is where the adventure of the day truly begins. With reckless abandon, I did not consult the atlas and took a chance on the GPS. This proved to be a monumental mistake.

I head out on the strip of road that Greg’s work is on. What direction I was going I probably couldn’t tell you. I think it took me Northwest (NOT the direction I wanted to be heading) over to Newport News, VA, across Hampton Roads Bay. It was raining pretty hard, it was dark, and I was on a stretch of two lane road that didn’t look like it was heading anywhere good.

I followed what I believe to be Route 258 West for a while, and then it told me to turn right onto Fire Tower Road (I'm not joking, Ben). Fittingly, it was a dirt road that supposedly was connecting me to another highway. Well, my adventure was actually turning into an adventure, who knew with Global Positioning technology? I’m trying to drive carefully through the muddy, rutty road. Then I heard a load clunk. I was a little worried that I might have popped my tire out here in the middle of nowhere, so I stopped the rig to get out and take a look. Upon further inspection it was just a rock, and no damage was done to the car. Thankfully!

I kept going. Next I was connected to Route 40 westbound. As soon as I got on this road I noticed that the GPS was telling me to stay on this road for about 45 miles, and for about 45 miles there wasn’t a thing in sight but trees folding over the road. With about 15 or so miles left until I connected with I-84, there were headlights pretty far behind me.

Maybe I have a wild imagination, and maybe I have seen too many horror films (last night I saw a film, as I recall it was a horror film). I was crossing my fingers and hoping to god that it wasn’t some fake cop that was going to pull me over and take all of my money (or worse) or Leather Face from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now I know why people keep telling me that I should stick to the main roads, I would probably die of fright if I was left to my thoughts for too long on this eerie lonesome highway. I’m thinking I need to thicken my skin in the name of adventure.

One quality I have always possessed the ability to determine a car type by its’ headlights. Or at least be able to determine if I can rule out a police cruiser, a heavy artillery machine, or monster truck. As the car was gaining on my trail, I realized it was a VW Jetta. Phew, I’m pretty sure that Jettas are harmless, and generally so are their owners.

I pulled into Carrboro, NC at 9:46pm unscathed. My friend Jenny is one of my longest standing best friend’s from High School. We met on the swim team sophomore year of high school and have since stayed great friends. I told her my idea for a road trip adventure; she was really intrigued about doing some road tripping with me to New Orleans and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. When we are together we tend to laugh really loud and drink a lot of wine and raspberry danger water. Neither of us have ever been to New Orleans and I’m pretty sure New Orleans has no idea what is about to hit.