The Road South 11/17/2017

New River Gorge Bridge, Fayetteville, WV

After much debate, planning and research, our departure changed from early Friday to early Saturday to mid-day Friday and finally as of a couple days ago, back to early Friday. I’m very thankful it worked out that way as we were able to take our time rather than just tough out the 800mi+ drive.

We were on the road by 6:45 and headed south. So we got out of Bridgeport before the school traffic gridlocked everything. Not much of anything interesting to report from the first part of the trip. “Been there done that” a hundred times I guess.

The first stop was Summersville, WV for a bathroom break. Then we stopped at the New River bridge at Fayetteville, since the last time Colton was there he was probably one, and may not recall the whole experience. I always enjoy visiting there as I’m still a bridge geek at heart. It turns out you can actually walk the catwalk under the bridge now. Obviously no time for that today, but I do think Colton and I may eventually try it. I probably could have pulled it off when I worked in bridge inspection 20yrs ago, but for some reason never did pursue it. Next, we visited Tamarack for some cool West Virgnia made snacks and such. Its a very nice place but quite obviously priced for the out of state travelers. Which is fine. At least those particular local artists aren’t actually starving. All in all we ended up taking four hours to get from one end of West Virginia to the other!

The drive through Virginia was short and uneventful. Consideration was given to stopping at Statesville, NC, but we forged ahead and after a wasted 30min+ in construction, we made it to Charlotte and stopped for lunch which actually turned out to be a cute little pizza place that Colton chose. He had eaten nothing but road snacks all day, so he made the choice. The pizza was very good and the three of us killed a large with ease. Next stop was the rather upscale Northlake Mall next door to walk off lunch. After a couple laps, we even went the extra mile and bought an apple to balance out the pizza. Sure, it was covered in caramel, chocolate and Heath Bar, but it’s the thought that counts right?

The next several hours were spent on I-77, I-26 and I-95. Since the earlier plan is what I had researched most, the plan had been to stop for the night just north of Charlotte at worst, and Rock Hill, South Carolina at best. I’m an obsessive planner when it comes to road trips so winging it today was actually quite unusal and enjoyable. Steph drove until dark from Charlotte so I studied maps and waze continually revising our tentative destination. I had a hotel picked out at Columbia, South Carolina, another at Orangeburg, and even another on I-95 half way to Savannah. By the time dark closed in and my turn to drive was nearing, I realized driving another two hours tops gets us all the way to Savannah. So that was the new plan.

As I was continually reminded, scenery wise I-95 has little to offer, but time wise its pretty awesome. Basically the wild west from what I could tell, it was a high speed burn south. Speed limit be damned!

We crossed the Talmadge Memorial Bridge and entered Savannah just past 12hrs from our Bridgeport departure. It turned out we were able to get the last room at the relatively new Homewood Suites on the river. Very nice! I believe this is our first stay at a Homewood which is hard to believe considering our tendencies toward Hilton properties. I’ve had my eye on one on 37th in Manhattan for a year or so now but haven’t pulled the trigger on that one. Maybe next time.

Rooftop Bar, Homewood Suites, Savannah, GA

The rooftop bar at the hotel is out of this world! Back in the day, its pretty safe to say I would have been writing this from there! Heated pool, nice little bar, cozy little semi-private areas with their own TV’s, all with a view of the city and the river. It’ll probably be chilly early, but odds ar I’ll be up there enjoying my coffee first thing tomorrow.