Cross Country 2005 - Bookends

Reprinted from West Meets East

My cross-country trip ended the way it began: with two traffic jams. During the final stretch, the interstate highway I traveled on came to an abrupt halt. I never did find out why it was closed, but instead joined the long line of cars diverted onto another highway. An hour down the road, that highway in turn shut down. Between my map and CJ's over-the-phone navigation, I traveled the final miles in darkness on rain-soaked back country roads. Traffic snarl-ups bookended my journey, but I had finally arrived.

As I traveled through Kentucky, I marveled at the beauty of the countryside. Quaint farms and historic towns dotted the tree-covered landscape. Occasional rocky cliffs paralleled the highway. Leaves had begun to show fall colors. This was the prettiest state I'd seen so far. But as I continued my eastward trip and left Kentucky behind on my last day, it only got better. West Virginia far exceeded Kentucky in scenic beauty, and Virginia outshined them both. As usual, I found myself behind schedule on that last day, but I made time to drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in western Virgnia before sunset. As I gazed across mist-shrouded mountains fading off into the distance, I thought this drive on America's first and longest scenic byway was the perfect way to end a cross-country trip (this was before the traffic jams).

My 3,000-mile drive has ended, but the adventure is only just beginning. As I wrap up this series of travel posts from the road, I now turn to the true purpose behind this blog: to chronicle my adjustment to a new life in a wildly different climate and culture. Tonight, I got off to a rough start: CJ forced me to eat a couple of Maine lobster. Hmmm. Maybe this won't be so hard after all.

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