this is me now

January 31, 2008

Good Directions

Filed under: college,driving,roommates,travel — by heatherdc @ 1:16 am

Four years ago I made a cross-country move to go to college here in Pennsylvania. Since then, my life has been defined by traveling back and forth and the experiences that accompany these adventures. I use mapquest more than I’d like to admit, I have an extremely active account, and I have put thousands of miles on my trusty SUV.

My roommates and I love to go on road trips. Whether we get lost or not, at least we are in the car together. Usually snacking and content as long as we are singing at the top of our lungs.

My travels don’t always go smoothly. In fact, I’d describe them as quite the opposite.

The first time I flew home from school was for Thanksgiving break. Everything was fine for the most part. All the flights there and back were generally on time, no weather catastrophes or extreme delays.  I got to Pittsburgh and “Crazy” (*my best friend/roommate/I’m not using her real name) picked me up at the airport, which has become routine for us.  We got a ride back with one of her friends on Sunday night. Leaving around 6 p.m., we figured we’d get back around 9.  We could not have been more wrong….

To make a (very) long story short, we returned around 2 in the morning. Yes, it took us approximately  eight hours to finish what should have been about a three hour drive. Luckily for me, I was extremely tired from traveling all day and fell asleep in the back for most of the ride. Basically, about an hour away from Penn State, one road splits into “North” and “South”. You want to go North, and we went South. What happens when you head south? About an hour later you see a sign that reads:

“Welcome to Maryland”

Our thoughts, “Uhhhh, I think we should turn around?”  Numerous lets-stop-and-ask-for-directions, and about four hours later, we made it. To this day we hear about that night.  Every time I say we are taking a road trip, this is what I hear: “Don’t go to Maryland! Ha ha ha” 🙂 It’s funny now, you live and you learn right?

One would think….

Fast forward to sophomore year.  Crazy’s boyfriend attends school in Maryland (how convenient, we know how to get there!).  During September we decide to take a weekend and go visit him.  It should be about a 3 1/2 hour drive, nothing too bad. We print out the directions from here to there, pack up the car with all the essentials (i.e. snacks, water bottles, and CDs that we can sing to of course!), and we are on our way!

First obstacle: the exit we are supposed to take to get onto the first Interstate is blocked due to construction. Detour=30 minutes. After everything is figured out, we take a lunch break to relax and convince ourselves that was the only bump in the road. We’re good now.

Except that Maryland, like Pennsylvania, is old. The roads are old. The roads are small. The road signs are confusing. We do not know what we’re doing.  Basically, it took us about 5 hours to get there. But we made it! No unexpected states, or even cities…we consider this trip a success. Way to go, us!

One flaw in our preparations was that we failed to print directions for the way back.  Using our wonderful college-student-we’re-so-smart logic, we think…We’ll just use the directions we have and reverse them. Psh, easy! If it says go “East”, we go “West”. If it says go “South”, we go “North”. No stopping these explorers!

Our first Red-flag should have been crossing a huge bridge that we definitely did not cross on the way there. Especially since I hate bridges, and would have very clearly remembered this one.  Did we stop? Of course not. That would have made this story too boring. We drive on. This must just be a special leaving-Maryland bridge.

This logic probably would have continued until we reached the tip of New Jersey had it not been for the concept of road signs. Especially ones that read “New York City”. Ummm……AHHH!

Needless to say I have never tried to “reverse” mapquest directions. Ever. Again. Obviously we made it back, hours later. And in our defense, we have since made the drive plenty of times without fail, with minimal detours and only stopping to get food at Wendy’s (tradition!!).

The first time I met LB, we were driving to Pittsburgh for an audition. We didn’t know each other, aside from one lunch-date that we had prior to the trip. What should have taken us 3 hours took about 5. Although I must say, the city of Pittsburgh was not working cooperatively! And neither were the roads….
We walked into our audition one minute late, had a blast, survived the drive home, and we’ve been roommates to this day. Obviously something went right….even if it wasn’t the direction of the steering wheel.

We have also made various other successful road trips. I’ve driven to Mexico, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Long Island.

But it all comes back to good ole’ Maryland.This Saturday I will make the drive once more for my interview.  I’ve already gotten an e-mail from the parents, “At least this time you’ll be meaning to go there, ha ha”. 🙂

Yes, it’s a little embarrassing. But it will always makes me laugh. And I will be allowing myself at least twice the amount of time it should take me to get there. You never know around this crazy East coast….



  1. good luck on the interview!

    Comment by mikesgotnothin — February 1, 2008 @ 12:52 am |Reply

  2. I feel you have enjoyed that time.Its really awesome .. nice !

    Comment by accident compensation claim — February 5, 2008 @ 12:21 am |Reply

  3. grrr… i hate when you have to drive out to K-Zoo by yourself… BUT I LOVE THE ALONE TIME!

    Comment by peter — February 6, 2008 @ 4:54 pm |Reply

  4. Sweet post.
    I guess you will link to our website..

    Comment by Bolivian Recipes — February 12, 2008 @ 11:04 pm |Reply

  5. […] I wasn’t looking to live in MD. I never thought I would live in MD (especially not after this disaster, remember that?!).  In fact, I thought I was ready to be back on the West coast.  Therefore, MD […]

    Pingback by As “fate” would have it…. « this is me now — April 21, 2008 @ 11:42 pm |Reply

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