TJE 60: Dear Friend, We Had the Most Epic Road Trip (Part 3 of 3)

hear, here

Dear Friend,

I want to finish the story – travel story.

We had the northernmost, then the easternmost parts of the trip. Next for us, was the long, long way back.

The last 3 were New England states. So we visited the rest. First stop: Massachusetts. We chose only 1 point of interest here, Mapparium. This amazing globe structure can be found inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, owned by the Christian Science Movement. It’s a round room made of stained glass with a map of the world – a globe, but the map is inside. You can enter and walk through a bridge at the center. It’s pretty cool. Unfortunately, it’s not allowed to take photographs of the spherical room.

As we spent most of this trip in remote areas, we were annoyed by how bad the traffic was in Boston. It felt like being in Metro Manila. Ha ha! And as with any densely populated city, parking was difficult. Because of that, after visiting Mapparium, we just wanted to head out of the city and state.

It was a Friday evening, and the traffic was just very bad, even outside Boston. After hours of slugging, we decided to find the nearest accommodation and just rest.

And the advantage of this change of plan, was chancing upon a hotel that has a good seafood restaurant. So we ordered lobsters again, along with other seafood. Massachusetts after all, is also along the Atlantic Ocean. We ordered too much, that we had leftovers for the next day.

Next on the list of New England states, was Rhode Island. This was a small but charming state, and as its state sign says, beautiful. We went to Colt State Park, to have a relaxing stroll at the beach. The food left over the day before, was also useful as temporary lunch for a few of us.

After that moment of calm at the beach, we headed to the last New England state on the list: Connecticut. This was also our pit stop. We visited 2 spots here. First was the Mark Twain House and Museum. Woah, Mark Twain was rich, huh? We were not able to enter anymore, because as usual, we were late to arrive. After appreciating the old historic house from outside, we headed to Bushnell Park as the state capitol was quite photogenic. Haha! Then we headed to Pratt Street to look for a place to eat.

Next in line was the lively city of Philadelphia, at the south of Pennsylvania. We ought to stay here for 2 nights. Visiting this city was the reason why we didn’t explore the state earlier in the trip. Downtown Philadelphia was lively and pretty. We stopped at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but didn’t go inside anymore. The important spot there for us was the statue of Rocky, LOL!

What we entered for a change was the Eastern State Penitentiary. This was kind of eerie, seeing the old prison cells and halls that witnessed stories of men undergoing the Pennsylvania System of penology. For a time, the infamous Al Capone stayed here as well.

Another point of interest we wanted to see was Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: a yard field with recycled trash art. But it was too late (no surprise there) for us to enter it again.

Incidentally, I have a friend who lives in the Philadelphia metropolis. We’re glad to be able to squeeze in a catch up! She and her partner treated me for the night, and I was truly grateful for that.

The next day, we included one more stop in Philadelphia, and that was the historic Elfreth’s Alley – USA’s oldest residential street. It’s really cool how they maintained it. And that finally capped our Philadelphia stop.

Going further down, we stopped somewhere in Delaware for lunch, and that’s it. We couldn’t find a convenient state sign, so there’s no memento for me. Then we headed to Baltimore, Maryland, where we spent late afternoon to evening hanging out at Inner Harbor. This was a historic waterfront, and part of the attraction are a few famous vessels.

The next day, we explored Washington DC. We walked a lot this day, checking out the different points of interest of the very significant, historic and memorial capital of the USA. This was perhaps the most crowded tourist spot we visited throughout the trip. But it was all good. It is inspiring how this place truly evokes national pride. Well that’s what I imagine for citizens of the USA.

After that, we headed to the next pit stop, Virginia. We went inland though, at a rural area of the state. The tourist spot we intended to visit, and our accommodation, was in Staunton. It felt really boring in the area honestly.

Anyway, we visited the Frontier Culture Museum, where you could experience replicas of different colonial farms, with “actors”. Then we headed to the next state.

The reason why we went inland of Virginia, was so we could hook West Virginia in the trip. Driving through the day and as we approached the said state, we noticed how rich the vegetation was becoming. What a pleasant surprise, West Virginia actually has astounding nature. After visiting various cities in the east, finding nature again just made us so happy.

As soon as we entered West Virginia, we looked for John Denver’s song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” And boy did it hit differently. It gave us chills when the chorus hit (where ‘West Virginia’ is mentioned) – made us a bit emotional even.

We visited two spots the next day. The first one was Canyon Rim Visitors Center, where we could have an overlook of New River Gorge. The New River Gorge bridge, for many years was the longest single-span arch bridge in the world. Its rustic look strangely blended well with nature.

Next was the very cute Glade Creek Grist Mill in Babcock. It’s easily one of the most photogenic spots we ever visited in the trip. We really enjoyed the short hangout here. Oh the John Denver song just played in my head again.

We had to move on sadly. Time to go south again. Next stop: Charlotte, North Carolina. We looked for a few museums in here, but decided not to enter any of them. We’re not followers of Nascar anyway, and we didn’t want to enter another art museum. So basically, we just had a look around the city.

Our next pit stop then was Charleston, South Carolina. My cousin met her friend who recently moved there. This was the southernmost point of the trip, and by the middle of May, we felt a familiar tropical weather!

We experienced the colorful and lively port city of Charleston in the French Quarter side. We went to Joe Riley Waterfront Park and walked to nearby attractions like the Rainbow Row.

From South Carolina, we finally started our way back west. But not straightforward, as we had to hook all the states left unvisited. If you’re wondering why we didn’t go to Florida anymore, it’s because the previous year, they already had a southern US road trip.

We checked in a hotel near Atlanta Georgia, and the next day, went to Chattahoochee River for a refreshing afternoon before leaving the state.

We were making our way northwards again, because our next stop was the state where the soundtrack of America is made: Tennessee. We stayed in Nashville, and aptly visited the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Musician or not, we are all touched or moved by music. So this homage to great music offered a fascinating experience. My favorite part was the Grammy room.

Then we drove just one more time northwards, as we hook Kentucky. The main attraction we visited here, was the Mammoth Cave National Park. Only 6 (out of 11) of us would enter the cave. However, just before we bought tickets for the tour, I realized that I lost my phone! So I backed out of the tour, and just tried to find my phone. The remaining party retraced our path to the motel. I realized that the phone must fell off the van, because I left it at the back bumper for some stupid reason, when I checked our room before leaving! Damn. So that’s what I remember most about Kentucky.

After that, we decided to just fast track our way back to Arizona, with almost no stop for a point of interest. We passed by Arkansas, Oklahoma, then Texas. All three states were new for me, not for them. But it’s worth noting that there’s an interesting/historic dinner place we had at Texas though, Big Vern’s Steakhouse.

Then, the last state we passed by was New Mexico before finally reaching Arizona. We just dropped by one point in Arizona, then really headed home afterwards.

And this my friend, is the story of our most epic road trip. 36 states in 33 days. More than 10,000 miles of road. I do not know if we could ever top that. But regardless, every travel story has a special place in my heart.

Thank you for listening/reading/watching.

Your friend,

Jerico

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