General notes on East Coast road trips, or: More morning motivation

June 17, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 17, 2017

I recently made one of a number of hometown pilgrimages that I undertake each year. On Wednesday, the eve before my return to North Carolina, my Parental Unit and I were discussing what time on Thursday I planned to depart. (I’d asked to be awoken by 9 if I wasn’t already up and about.)

P.U. then asked if I was trying to get back to the Old North State for any particular event. “Nope,” I responded flippantly.

Actually, this answer was in the nebulous realm between truth and untruth. I typically play free bar-league poker in Raleigh on Thursday evenings, and I prefer to arrive in time to participate in the early game, which begins at 7 p.m. (There’s a 20-minute grace period for late arrivals.) So there was that incentive for returning to Carolina by a particular time.

There’s also the rhythm of the roads. On most weekdays, leaving my parent’s house by 10 a.m. or so allows me to bypass typical morning rush-hour traffic in the New York-New Jersey area as well as afternoon congestion in Northern and Central Virginia. (Richmond is often a choke point in my southbound journeys; depending on when I’ve left and other conditions, Baltimore and/or Northern New Jersey plays that role on northbound trips; regardless of when or where I’m going, the D.C. area is often tricky to navigate.)

Finally, I can get most of my motoring done under the sun if I leave by 9 or 10 in the morning. This isn’t much of an issue during the summer and much of the spring and early fall, of course, but in months when nightfall comes early, it’s good to have the bulk of my trip behind me by sunset.

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