It was an odd time to start a trip – 11pm on a Monday night. But that was the time the train headed north, and we had to make tracks (pun intended) to get to Cathy’s infusion on Wednesday afternoon. Amazingly, the train pulled into Raleigh right on time, and by 10:30, we were in a rental car headed north toward I95. Despite the near constant rain, we made it to Reston by late afternoon and enjoyed an evening and leisurely morning with Cookie and Jerry before heading out for Frederick. We weren’t far down the road before the snowflakes were starting to fall.
Facing a traffic backup on route 22 near Dave’s mom’s house, we opted to take a back road through the hills to get there. About 5 minutes into the route, we found ourselves behind a row of cars stopped by an overturned fuel delivery truck that was blocking our lane. After a few cars made it around, we found ourselves stuck on the wrong side with an endless flow of cars going the other way. To avoid staying here indefinitely, Cathy got out, stopped the traffic on the other side and motioned Dave forward. Once around, she got in the car and we headed out. Her life as a traffic cop was short-lived.
By the time we reached Jarratt, we were ready to slow down a bit, and our schedule was cooperating. We would be putting fewer daily miles in over the next week. On Monday, Adam, Droz, Trinity and Maria arrived to gather for a family celebration that had lots of food and lots of fun. Dave’s surprise gift from “Bo” (the family dog), was a big hit. Who knew Bo had such a good sense of humor? Bonnie and Troy have an extensive menagerie of animals, which has expanded recently to include bunnies. These were a big hit, although they are not being raised as pets, if you get my drift.
With another night-time departure by train, we decided to arrive New Year's Eve in the afternoon to be able to spend time at Raleigh’s First Night festival, held only a few blocks from the beautiful new Amtrak station. We wandered through the street vendors, through the park around the Capital, and began touring the NC Museum of History until we were flushed outside by a (false) fire alarm. We sampled some of the festival’s food, tried to get on TV behind the WTVD news team filiming on the street, and had a celebratory margarita at Jose and Sons. At 7pm, the acorn dropped for the families with small kids and those of us who had no plans to be up at midnight. We made our way to the train station and boarded the train, which arrived early. Our new year would begin once more in Jacksonville.