Grab the Cat

We left Allyson’s and spent the night at Chateau Walmart in Lunenburg, MA. This was a means to an end, both a supply run before we started our road trip south, and a staging area close to where we would pick up our cat, Lister, the following morning. We grabbed Lister as we made our escape from the burning apartment, so he was just fine, if a bit scared (so were we). We had nowhere to keep him, though, so Elana, my ex, took him in while we got the van into good enough shape to live in. He’s lived with her and the other cats before, so at least there were familiar faces, if not our own.

But now it was time to go, and for Lister to come “home” to his new dwelling. I was a bit concerned at how well he’d adapt. He’s always been an indoor cat, though he loved to stare out the windows. Before the fire, we started training him on a leash and harness to prepare him for supervised outdoor adventures. We didn’t get to far, because it was winter, and Lister likes the cold about as much as I do — which is to say, we hate it. Now I hoped he would adapt to this strange new life of ours.

Then it was time to hit the road. Our goal that day was to put as many miles behind us as possible to get closer to someplace warm. We fought our way through Worcester, MA; Hartford, CT; The Tappan Zee Bridge, or whatever they’re calling it these days; and the New Jersey Turnpike. The roads were terrible, making me scared that either my bike would fall off the carrier, or that the carrier would break off the van. The drivers were awful. Tailgaters, cutoffs, people who can’t stay in their own lane, people on the on-ramp who try to pass you on the right, then get mad that you didn’t move over for them while there was a truck on your left and harass you for it… I’m originally from Massachusetts, so I make fun of “Massholes” all the time. But it didn’t matter what license plates were on the car. They were all bad. After a long day on the road, though, we pulled into a nice rest area in Smyrna, DE. I cracked open a cold adult beverage, and we settled in for a night of Dungeons & Dragons with some friends online. One thing the pandemic has taught us is how to keep doing things we want to do from a distance.

The following day was the polar opposite. The roads were in great shape. Other drivers were kind and courteous. The driving was actually enjoyable. Plus, the farther south we got, the warmer the weather got. I mean, duh, of course, it did, but this was the first time we’d actually been warm outside in many months, and we were loving it.

We continued down the Delmarva peninsula through the rest of Delaware, a small chunk of Maryland, and into Virginia. I’d planned this route to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, a novel road link across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay consisting of… well, some bridges and tunnels. Sometimes you’re driving over the water, and other times you’re going through tunnels, allowing ships that can’t clear the bridges to get into the bay anyway. It was a pleasant drive, over, under, and through. Watch for it in a future video.

The other advantage of this route is the bridge tunnel thing dumps you out straight into Virginia Beach, our destination. We still had 20 minutes of driving to get across town, but we were there, and soon settled into our KOA campsite.

Of course, I got the bike unloaded immediately. We took a regular tent site, not an RV site, because we didn’t need any hookups. So the van would stay parked for the next five days, and we’d use the bike to get around town. For the first time since the fire, we had a chance to stop, catch our breath, and relax. Also, it was finally WARM in Virginia Beach, so we definitely enjoyed that.

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