June 24, 2012: From Rochester to Nashville

Today is my driving day.  Got up at seven, showered and was on the road just minutes before eight.  I had originally wanted to have been on the road earlier and to have gotten up at six but after being up until three in the morning packing this morning and needing to be able to drive all day I figured that four hours of sleep, rather than three, would be pretty important.

This is a very sad drive.  I am not going to see Dominica and the girls for two weeks or more.  Two weeks is the absolute minimum until they come down to Texas and very likely it will be a little bit more than that.    And this was supposed to be me driving Oreo back to Texas.

I hit Batavia at eight thirty and just a few minutes after nine I stopped at the Tim Horton’s on the New York State Thruway to pick up coffee and a breakfast sandwich.  Even having mentioned it several times recently, I still cannot get over how hot American coffee is made.  I was already at the next rest stop, the one at Angola, and the coffee still was too hot to even sip.

I saw a Lavazza (the big Italian espresso company) sign at Angola so I stopped again to grab espresso.  I was excited, having been in Europe all this time, to get good coffee in the States.  Boy was I disappointed.  The “barista”, if you could call her that, at the Lavazza completely burnt the coffee making espresso at the American temperature rather than the Italian one.  It ruined the taste of the coffee.  And the coffee was full of grinds.  This tasted nothing like real Italian coffee.  I am very surprised that Lavazza puts their brand on this.  This wasn’t just a store selling Lavazza, this was a Lavazza store!  This is Lavazza’s official representation in American.  Is it any wonder that Americans almost universally think that European coffee is awful?  If they intentionally ruin it when serving it in America of course we are going to have that impression.

It was a pretty good day for a drive.  Clear and warm.  For the first part of the drive I was not too tired.  On the drive I have been listening to Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” which is pretty long, nearly sixteen hours, and therefore pretty likely to last through my entire drive.  The drive is estimated at twenty-five hours long by Google Maps but when you take into account the starts, the stops, the time listening to music, time with nothing on while navigating and others you really only likely get half of that time as time to listen to books.

I crossed the Pennsylvania state line at eleven and into Ohio just twenty minutes later.  Ohio really does take forever and it was just after four thirty when I crossed into Kentucky at Cincinnati and Covington.

It was eight when I got to the EconoLodge by the Nashville Airport.  I got checked in, dropped off my luggage and had a few minutes to wait for James who was meeting me there so that we could go out for some food.

I didn’t have long to wait.  James met me and we drove to an Italian restaurant around the corner.  We talked for probably two hours. Maybe not quite that long.

I was off to bed early, probably around ten thirty.  Quite exhausted.  I have a lot of driving to do yet tomorrow.


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