take me home, country road

now we come to the finale of my summer this year. the supposed last hurrah before we start preparing for the colder months. it was a trip that we've planned for so long. a trip that had (wether we admit it or not) made some people feel unwanted. but dwelling on that wouldn't be right anymore. so i'll go on and tell you the crazy things we did on those five? six? days (oh i don't even remember!) of being away from jersey.

our road trip started out as a 6 hour drive to virginia beach. it took us almost 8 hours i think, including the stops for lunch, gas fill ups, bathroom breaks, wrong turns and exits and the like. i was driving believing that the route we're taking was gonna bring us to chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. apparently it didn't. to the disappointment of everybody. we arrived at virginia beach with just enough time to get some rest and have dinner (which consists of iris' delicious chicken adobo imported from new jersey) before we went out to explore virginia beach.

we headed off to the boardwalk (which isn't really made up of boards but of concrete). we saw how people were riding this multi bike that could be driven by four persons and we immediately decided that we should rent one. so there we were 5 girls pedaling their way through the bike path checking out the sights and sounds of the virginia beach boardwalk. there was a lot of things happening there that night. a lot of parties going on, which is explained by the fact that this is the week of the annual surfing competition. so naturally there were a lot of surfer dudes roaming the boardwalk.

day 2: we went to busch gardens in williamsburg. it's a europe themed park where you can walk, ride the train or the cable cars to and from different european countries. we had a blast with the water rides escape from pompeii, roman rapids that we had to go on it twice. the 3D rides were great too. it was so much fun feeling like tiny little people on a match box on corkscrewhill. while the curse of the dark kastle was also a great ride which is very similar to the men in black ride in universal studios in florida. but it was hannie who outrode us all by riding solo on griffon. all those rides and all the walking we did, worked up quite an appetite, so we ended the night by forgetting about our diets and lining up on a seafood buffet. that, i say is how you end a night.

day 3: was spent doing something that all of us girls haven't done before and that is to get a pap smear. just kidding! we went ahead and signed up for parasailing. yes, we have some kind of a death wish going on... he he he. hannie and i paired up and opted for the 1000 feet ride and even asked to be dipped in the sea on our way back to the boat. joyce and maricar on the other hand went for the conservative 800 feet, while iris wanted to stay safe and was happy just being an observer slash photographer. it was one of the best things that i've done in my life so far. the feeling of just being there, suspended high up in the air is so relaxing if you could just ignore the feeling that at any moment, the rope that connects the chute and you to the boat is gonna break. while we were up there hannie and i were the queen of morbid thoughts, thinking of the worst case scenarios that could happen. the funny thing is that we were both calm but we were trying to plan what we would do in case the rope breaks. it wasn't long until our 15 minutes up in the air was done, and i felt that we were slowly descending straight to the water. going for the dip was the best part of parasailing. it was like we were wakeboarding and it was immediately over before i knew it. maricar and joyce went after us and like hannie and i agreed while we were up on the air, we wouldn't tell them that it was a little bit scary up there. "usap lang kayo sa taas." was our advice to them. i was glad they didn't backed out from it, because it was totally worth all the jitters. i was still all smiles from the experience while we were driving to tita emma's house.

when we got to tita emma's house, all the talk about parasailing was lost to the sight of food on her table. crabs, pancit, shrimps, lechon kawali, fish, kutchinta, watermelon. whoever was thinking about the word diet in front of all those food is not in her right mind. after the heavenly lunch, we got to meet tita emma's kids and they were all very nice and warm. oh and i fell in love with somebody. yes, intriga ito! i fell in love with their dog ella. she was so adorableand gentle, i could just eat her up (not literally!). when night time came, we had to say goodbye to them and moved right along. our destination: durham north carolina.

the drive to durham was nice. there was no traffic as it was night time and the road was pretty much straightforward. i was really tired though, because this was the third day in a row that i was driving. all the way to durham, i was counting down the miles left before we could finally rest and eat something (na naman!). when we got to the house, we were all impressed because it was spanking brand new and huge and the neigborhood was quiet.

day 4: we heard mass at st. matthew's church and later on planned on going to the shenandoah caverns which didn't happen because of time constraints. so we just drove around looking for something to do and just decided to go shopping and buy some groceries and then headed home to lounge around in the village pool.

day 5: we finally went to the shenandoah caverns. it was a four hour drive from durham. this time hannie took over the wheel for a while which i was thankful for. it was a nice day for a drive, and it has been like that since we started out on this road trip. thank heavens! we reached the caverns with no problems and we were immediately taken down on an elevator down to the mouth of the cave. sosyal ang mga cavemen na nakatira didto, naka-elevator! so we toured the insides of the cave and took loads of pictures on every stalactites, stalagmites and columns we could find. ethan, the tour guide pointed out the water that drops from the roof of the cave and called it the "kiss of the cave". if it drops on you, it means you've been kissed by the cave... and i was, a couple of times...which means the cave likes me!

the rest of the day we spent getting pissed at the inefficient cafeteria staff, looking at displays that i really don't care about and looking for the authentic local barbecue place na may sign na baboy. it was recommended by an old lady at the register. she says to just follow route 11 for 21 miles until we see a place with the picture of a pig. so for 21 miles, there was the 5 of us all hungry with eyes on the look out for a picture of a pig. go figure. true enough, the food didn't disappoint. the baby back ribs were good, but when i ordered the barbecue, i was imagining pieces of pork cooked from a grill. when our orders came, it was strips of slowly cooked pork with barbecue flavored sauce on a bun. it was tasty but not the barbecue that i imagined it would be.

before we headed back home to durham, we decided to drive up the skyline drive in shenandoah national park where we flirted with a park ranger, defied death by taking pictures on cliffs, bought souvenirs and took pictures of wild deers roaming around the forest.

day 6: was the day we headed back home. hannie was once again the designated driver. this time though, it wasn't uneventful. there we were cruising through a north carolina highway, talking about speed limits when joyce noticed a police car behind us. his lights and his siren were on which means that he was pulling us over. so after 5 days of driving around, we got ticketed on our very last day, hows that for a treat? it was actually kinda funny because i was trying to get it on video complete with ambush interviews of the eyewitnesses at the passenger seat and an interview of the culprit while she's putting make up on. however, i didn't get it on video. disappointing, yeah.

on the way home we had a hard time looking for *chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. we've been meaning to go through these series of bridges and tunnels since the first day of our trip. however the gps navigator keeps re-routing us away from it for some reason. so we had to find our way through it the old school way which is to ask for directions and pray that we would hit the right road. "just follow the gulls" is what the old man from the vietnamese restaurant told us as he gave us directions in a very "hagrid" like manner. except that hagrid told harry and ron to "just follow the spiders!"
we were supposed to be following these sea gull signs along the road

so follow the gulls we did and in no time we were paying toll to get through the chesapeake bay bridge tunnel. it seemed to me that there were a choir of angels singing hallelujah as we were cruising the length of the bridge. sa wakas, the search for the fuckin' bridge is over and we can drive home peacefully and live to tell about the road trip that was.

the chesapeake bay bridge tunnel is a 20 mile long series of bridges and tunnels that provides direct link from southeastern virginia and delaware and maryland. it's supposed to cut 95 miles from your travel if you're coming from delaware going to virginia beach. more here.

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