September seems to be the month that I really embraced spur of the moment time adventures, and it all started with a road trip from Baltimore to Chicago with Shelley from A Magical Mess. It was after attending the Kia Rio National Press Introduction we decided very last minute to head on back to Chicago in one of the BRAND SPANKING NEW Kia Rio hatchback. Well, the conversation was a bit more complex than what I’m sharing, but you’re not here for that, you’re here to read why you should embrace taking a half cross-country trip in a car with someone that you’ve never traveled with, but know well enough to get in a car with. Clear as mud, right? I put my road face on and my Road Trip Warrior tank, and I knew tat we could handle this like the road-trippers we are!
Given that the Kia Rio is a hatchback, and we really didn’t get to test the trunk space on our drive through the rolling hills of Baltimore, it was nice to see that the trunk could fit both of our carry-on size luggage plus extra goodies we picked up last minute because we realized that we were driving back home!
We hit the road at about 11 in the morning Eastern Standard Time and took our time traveling and enjoying the sights. First stop was super important though. If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you know how important this is. I didn’t come into the light until June of 2016, and I’m happy to have brought Shelley into the fold during this trip. WAFFLE HOUSE FOOD IS SO GOOD! I was attempting to live properly, so I just got steak and eggs, and I’m sure that everyone else was ordering all of their food scattered and covered like you’re supposed to.
After our filling and satisfying meal, we then made our next important stop, and it was for a photo op before stopping off to do some very necessary shopping on the road. I mean, this entire trip was about embracing spur of the moment stuff. With all of the cash that we saved on gas, there was MORE than enough to spend at an outlet mall.
We drove merrily along until we hit Pennsylvania which is OH MY GOD IT’S THE LONGEST STATE EVER TO DRIVE THROUGH (and yes I know this isn’t accurate, but it’s my story, so just listen) and we decided to take several stops so that we could get out and stretch our legs. It was then that I realized that I was going to be impressed by the rest stops in Pennsylvania because it was their apology for the ridiculous length of their state. While I know that Illinois is longer (duh, I live here) our speed limit is constant and doesn’t require that we get off of a major expressway to enter after driving through a city.
We had to stop for gas and found a wonderful little fruit stand in the rest stop. We bought these HUGE peaches that were the perfect mix of sweet and juicy. We also realized that we were averaging 40 miles per gallon, and wouldn’t spend a fortune on fuel after all. One fill-up cost us $27 and that’s all!
Don’t worry, Pennsylvania redeemed itself when we got to Pittsburgh and explored a bit. There were so many beautiful bridges, and houses that looked like they were a part of those little Christmas Villages that people build as soon as the turkey leftovers have been put away.
We went to our friends and followers online to ask for suggestions of things to do in the area, and we got a foodie suggestion. The Church Brew Works. If you’re scratching your head like I was, then welcome. The edifice is an old Catholic Church that was put under an act of suppression, which removed it’s church status and allowed the brewery to move in. My little Pentecostal heart had a bit of a hard time entering through the doors, but after seeing that nothing inside the walls was making a mockery of God, I was okay. I had the shrimp and grits, but didn’t even bother for a photo, because road trip unger is like nothing you’ll ever experience.
We piddled around a bit longer and then the REAL fun began. Turnpike fees! It took FOREVER to pay this fee after we got off of the turnpike, and if I were a person who swore, I probably would have let ALL of my best words fly. It didn’t want to take the payment, and it refused to take the toll ticket when we came to the end. It must be a thing there because no one seemed impatient while waiting on me to get through the toll.
No worries, Shelley had her fun with a turnpike toll as well.
We took turns switching driving, so that we could get rest in between shifts. It’s nice to know that someone isn’t going to just stay the passenger and be the dj for an entire road trip. Driving is actually quite strenuous when you think about it, and if you don’t have a good car mate, the entire experience can be horrific. Shelley and I were about to call it a night in a rest stop in Ohio (SWEET OHIO) and we were being taunted by the scent of fresh chicken from Popeye’s being prepared for the morning crowd. Such a tease. I’m also quite jealous that every state seems to have way more gorgeous rest stops than Illinois. What’s up with that?
The Kia Rio got us safely home after 14 hours of driving, laughing, exploring, and shopping, and my life is better for it. I’d travel long distance with Shelley again, but we’d have to make sure to plan an overnight somewhere for sure. Thelma & Louise have nothing on us, except for the fact they don’t make it to credits. We rolled right into our beds at the end of our journey and made sure to say good night! Until next time!