So the first time I tried this the system logged me out and erased my thread.... booo
My girlfriend and I decided to visit some of her family members just south of Raleigh, North Carolina during Memorial Day weekend. We left northeastern Pennsylvania at 4:00am on Saturday morning. We began by traveling down the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike going through some of the great mountainous areas of the Poconos. This is a drive many in our area take for granted. Going through the mountains here is amazing. The sky is just beginning to brighten and a very light rain is beginning to fall as we reach I-78 in the Allentown area. We head through the farms and the hill areas of the Lehigh Valley westbound to I-81 in Harrisburg, PA. We don't stay on I-81 long as we hit US-15 south towards Gettysburg. Although there are plenty of traffic lights through this area of hilly terrain and farmland and we don't get stuck in traffic due to the early morning hour.
We approach Maryland well before 9am and the sky begins to clear up from the clouds and the rain earlier in the morning. We cross the Maryland border and attempt to stop at the welcome center to get a map which I traditional get upon reaching a state on a road trip. It was closed so we pressed forward through Frederick to I-270 where we had breakfast at a Waffle House in Buckeystown, Maryland. We were making great time until we got into Virginia and I-495. We successfully avoided Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the heart of Washington D.C. but the area between Fredericksburg, Virginia and Richmond was packed with traffic. The traffic easily added two extra hours to the trip. To break up this stretch we took a break at a rest area. My search for a map was fruitless. There was nothing here but a restroom and vending machine.
After Richmond, in Petersburg, we reach I-85 and head south bound. There was nothing much going on here. A lot of dense forests, trees, and barely-there towns along the way. Exits were few and far between. You couldn't see much of anything besides the forest. I finally find a map at the North Carolina welcome center. The woman that I approached at the front desk in search of the elusive state maps didn't seem to pleased to see or talk to me and appeared to want to be anywhere but there. We press onward to a Cracker Barrel somewhere in between the North Carolina welcome center and US-1. We had lunch during the early afternoon hours and started our journey back up again towards US-1. US-1 was more of the same as we went southbound. Trees, forest, and small towns. As we approached Raleigh I was hesitant to go through the heart of the city but we did anyway. There was no traffic in Raleigh. People were barely there. We were also through it before we knew it. We arrived at our destination about 15 miles south of Raleigh around 4:30pm. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, unwinding, and enjoying some BBQ. Coming up is Day 2 which we spent in the city of Raleigh and day 3, a more scenic route home through Virginia's back country.
Time: 12h; 30m
States: PA, MD, VA, NC