A good reason to be on the road

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Given that the Suffolk News-Herald publishes six days a week, my time off always seems just as hectic as my time on the clock. Or perhaps it’s more along the lines that I’m stubbornly unwilling to give up my affinity for long — many who know me well might even say ridiculous — road trips.

Three Sundays ago was one such ridiculous trip. I made a 15-hour round trip from Fredericksburg to New York, or specifically Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

Three of the 15 hours were spent watching 60,000 Mexican soccer fans party at the expense of a few thousand American soccer fans. Mexico scored five goals in the second half to win 5-0, which is the equivalent of about 55-0 in football, 18-0 in baseball or 110-35 in basketball. For a U.S. fan, it was ugly.

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The only solace driving back down I-95 that night was that a full-strength U.S. team gets another chance today in a World Cup Qualifying game. Sadly, the News-Herald would not fund my request to go to Mexico City and cover this afternoon’s match.

This past weekend, I spent 24-25 hours heading from Suffolk to Erie, Pa. and back from Friday morning to Monday morning.

The trip was mainly for a wedding outside of Erie on Saturday, but my wife and I spent most of the weekend with my granddad, my dad’s dad.

All of the driving, the “hospitality” on the roadways of Northern Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the early mornings and late nights coming and going, was worth it for a few hours Friday evening.

As an aside, if a turnpike collects money for its own construction and maintenance, why are turnpikes always the worst-maintained, pock-marked, most awful-looking roads one could imagine?

Let’s go back to Friday evening and something that makes sense.

We got into Erie in time Friday to have dinner, then starting around 6 p.m. my granddad and I were able to play 18 holes in about two and a half hours.

Normally, my granddad, who’s in his 80s, walks the course just about every day of northwestern Pennsylvania’s short golf season. Since daylight was running out, and perhaps because he knows I’m the one without the energy to hoof it around the course in two and a half hours, we took a cart around and finished the round with about three minutes of light to spare.

For many reasons — for conversations, for a beautiful golf course, for nothing else to think about for those few hours — Friday evening was the best reason I’ve had for a road trip in a long time.