Friday, November 18, 2011

The Long Road

Last Sunday I made the drive from Atlanta back to Charlotte after spending the weekend at The Sport Factory Elite/Scholarship training camp.  Little did I know that the "short" 3.5 hour drive would turn into a 5 hour pilgrimage.  About an hour outside of Charlotte I noticed a highway sign that stated "accident at exit 92, one lane closed."  Traffic was cruising 80mph and it was nearing 6:30pm on a Sunday so I assumed that closing a single lane wouldn't have much of an affect on my trip time.

Well, let me tell you, boy was I ever wrong.  As I was cresting a hill near mile marker 82 and singing the joys of being just 40 minutes from home, I was greeted with brake lights as far as I could see. This must just be a small little accident that has things slowed down, I thought to myself.  Or maybe it's just a construction zone?  Surely it's not related to the single lane closed 10 miles up the road.  A quick call home told the unfortunate tale - a crazy person shot 2 family members and then led police on a high speed chase before crashing his car, attempting to shoot the police officers, and finally, being shot himself.  All of this drama happened at 11:30am.  Yes, that's right, a whopping 8 hours before.  Yet the interstate was still a parking lot and there was going to be nothing quick and easy about the "short"  drive that remained in front of me.

When life throws you a challenge, you can either find a foul mood and be angry or you can laugh life straight in the face and move on.  In most situations, I choose the later.  Mostly because it's pretty fun to find the humor in situations that light a fire in the soul of others, but also because there's nothing to be gained from being miserable.

So in addition to providing my parents with the play-by-play via cell phone, I also snapped some pictures that capture the true spirit of "middle-of-nowhere-South-Carolina."  Sadly missing from the photos is the 3 story tall cross with neon lights reading "Jesus Saves" that greated me with open arms as traffic first came to a standstill.  I little irony - me thinks so!  Here's the narrative that accompanies the images I did capture.  Enjoy!

Hmm, maybe just a small traffic hiccup.  I'm sure we'll be moving soon.
Not looking good - lots of red lights ahead.
This guy must have heard we were in for a long  night on the interstate.
Do you think he has a grill inside that we can hook up to the generator and have a little roadkill barbecue for dinner?
Not a good sign.  I much prefer the little red line to be pointing at 80.
I'm hungry and I've already consumed the carrots, apple, and granola bar I packed for snack.
What are the odds that one-toothed Farmer Tom has some peaches for sale in the dead of winter?
A hungry Crystal = grouchy Crystal.  
23 minutes into the traffic nightmare and I've gone 1 mile.  
Major progress!  We're moving!
The movement was only a tease.  Time to put it back in park and enjoy the  music.  Oh wait, there is NO good music in the middle of rural South Carolina.
Finally, signs of life!  Shopping was tempting, as was the food court food (NOT!).
Too bad it was after 7pm and all the stores were closed.
And after the big buildup and suspense, I've reached the scene of the crime.
300lb Jimmy and his partners haphazardly roaming along the side of the road cleaning up cones from the closure.  Thank you American tax dollars for hiring motivated and hard working road crews.
5 hours after leaving Atlanta, I've never been so happy to be back home.
MUST FIND FOOD!  Priorities, people.

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