Day 2 (yesterday) Schultz Family East Coast Tour: Durham, CT

The maxim proves true. Volvos DO fix themselves, and whose car was it that was used in the morning to take my uncle to the store in order to buy a new battery for his SUV that sat stranded in a Lowe’s parking lot? Perhaps Volvos don’t just fix themselves, they fix other cars, too.

We hit the road by 10:30am and, somewhere in Maryland, we stop at a rest stop for a good stretch. Mom and I collect leaves in the parking lot (ginkos!), because it is still fall at lower elevations. At some point, I look at my parents and say, “We’re screwed.”


“Because we’re going to hit New York City for rush hour.”


“This is the drive that took us 13 hours to do two years ago.”

“It is?” Dad says.

“It is.”


We spend two hours in Delaware and pay almost $15 in tolls to do so, a fact which I find ridiculous, but somehow Pennsylvania went over without a hitch. New Jersey is smelly and slow and by the time we hit the George Washington Bridge, we’re all a bit batty. Mom keeps singing a childhood song about the bridge (the kind that never ends), including the refrain: “George Washington Washington Bridge” in a descending scale of notes that makes one feel as though crossing the bridge means driving off the edge of it. I decide that since we’re heading towards the great NYC but can’t get out of the car to experience any of it, the best we can do is listen to the radio. My parents endure too many minutes of reggae/hip hop blends, screaming metal, and Spanish stations (all of which I find to be fascinating cultural studies) until we finally agree on WNYU, 89.1 FM.

At a rest stop on the other side, Dad can’t uncross his legs in the back seat of the car, it’s totally dark out and starting to rain, and we’ve all skipped dinner, skimmed on lunch, and still have several more hours to go. I took over the driving at the most congested part, and that meant in 4 hours we drove 90 miles. Also in that time I used words like “old hag,” “dic wad,” and “mo fo,” all of which I’d forgotten were in my vocabulary. Mom told someone to go “sit on your stick shift” and dad almost gave someone the finger. This, of course, behind the closed windows of my trusty Volvo but still…I guess we don’t get out much.

By the time we got to my uncle’s house in Connecticut, 11 1/2 hours later (for a total of 450 miles) we were folded in half, crumpled up, wadded faced, spent. But still! It’s family! And my “little” cousin is finally taller than me and his brother is just home from college and oh, oh, oh, they’ve outgrown their video games and everyone sits around (I stand) in the living room and just TALKS for a good while. Now THAT’S why we came here.

Tomorrow? Onward, to NH.

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