Our intro back into the real life. Fatter, a little more lazy and in need of pulling it together as we had just gotten out of two straight weeks of eating, drinking and being merry. It was all necessary and part of Gods plan but the stretch across the U.P. dragged on with snow flickering across view for the first couple hours. I had been telling Bia about this grand bridge, “The Mighty Mac,” that connected both peninsulas of Michigan together for some time but by the time we showed up the flurries had strengthened and it was but a mirage. Five miles of travel and you could barely see past the guard rails of this monstrous suspended cable bridge. Following into the next five hours the storm thickened to the point of us being on an interstate yet traffic couldn’t exceed 50 mph due to slush and sleet. By the time we entered the Greater Detroit area we were in need of a break as well as a quick hello to another family of mine. Another dinner, brief yet greatly appreciated with my Aunt Melanie, Uncle Dennis and cousin Madeline and we were back on the road.
It was now about nightfall and the plan was to get as close to North Carolina as absolute possible before calling it. A long stretch yet on the move we made it into the middle of Ohio, Columbus to be exact around 4am before calling it quits, eyes tired and exhausted from driving on ice for the past day we found a convenient Walmart parking lot and passed out within moments.
It didn’t seem like we had been out long before the sun had awoken us and we were back on to what seemed like forever. A bit out of the travel scene what had used to be a piece of cake was a minor struggle. Still we pushed into West Virginia and Virginia, mountain pass after pass driving through narrow tunnels lost of any light cutting through the Appelachian mountains. In Virginia we found pastures with farm houses that architecturally looked of the colonial North Americas. We pulled over to make a quick lunch with some steak my mother had sent us with and some other leftovers we had in our luggage. Bia took reigns of the Honda well I napped and before you knew it we were in North Carolina. Another quick pitstop to wash the salt and sand from the car (it’s used to melt the ice and for traction in snowy regions) and reorganize our goods and our destination was just another hour more.
Raleigh, North Carolina. The capitol and north center of the state and closer and closer to our next step of heading out of the country but first a stop by a family Bia had worked with her first year in the United States as an au pair. She had spoken of this family over and over again, how she adored the two young girls that were her day in day out two years past. The mother and father were like another existing set of parents that gave her insight to North American culture with coaching and of course love.
As we pulled into the driveway of this beautiful colonial estate in a very quite, secure neighborhood we were greeted by the child care-taker, the newest au pair and both of the cheery young women who had grown since Bia’s last stay. With much excitement they had to show off new dresses, singing skills as well as a necessary reading of a favorite book by Bia. As she sat with the girls and read I was able to catch up on a little blogging that I had been oh so delinquent on since being with all of the family.
Shortly after the mother and father arrived both splendid and with lots to talk about. The mother of law and the father an engineer were in the process of finishing their new home after a move from the D.C. area. Still the place was more than comfortable and was quite a pleasure to be able to shower and refresh once again. Seeing ourselves in the mirror showed the extra love we’d taken on over the holidays (chocolate, cookies and cake). After a weigh-in we were determined to get back to business once getting out of the states but a few more family style dinners were ahead of us and of course energy comes from food and dinner was soon.
Brisket, salmon, broccoli and a very nice bottle of Napa cab opened were enjoyed with the whole perched beside a beautiful fire place adding warmth to the already change of climate. Afterwards a shared dessert and great conversation pursued later into the evening before calling it knowing the next day was going to be the final long stretch we’d have to endure for the duration of the U.S. as well as for the immediate future.
Coffee was made early and thank you’s and goodbye exchanged with best wishes before the two of us kicked off on the next twelve or so hours towards Naples Florida, our last state for the time being.
With the rain trickling down we made farewell to Raleigh and onward towards South Carolina…