I love road trips in Britain – it’s a small island, so you’re never too far from a loo, the sea or a cup of tea. But sometimes I still pine for Australia’s endless miles of nothing, so I was chuffed to get a small fix of big highways last week.
I went to North Carolina for a road trip with my longtime blog pal Denise. She’d had the idea of visiting some of our most ye olde blog friends en route to the Fitbloggin conference. We’ve known these ladies since blogs were all sordid and secretive and comment boxes weren’t even a twinkle in the eye!
Armed with a hire car and an 80s satellite radio station we set off to see Marla, who lives in the countryside outside Raleigh. There were lots of churches along the way with somewhat threatening signage, such as:
GOD WANTS FULL CUSTODY
NOT JUST A WEEKEND VISIT
We were greeted by Marla’s ginger cat Igor giving us the stink-eye from the living room window. He was not one for ginger solidarity but that just made him all the more charming.
I wanted to kidnap Marla and bring her on the rest of our trip. She was the warm and witty woman I’ve known for over a decade, but even more sparkly in person. I would love to invite her and her husband Robert over to get drunk and play cards ’til the wee small hours.
She cooked us a delicious breakfast (biscuits fresh from the oven! and a yummy fritatta thing with veggies and sausage, ooh yeah) then showed us round her house. It was so full of life and personality, with a mural on the bedroom wall and an airy studio full of paintings and art supplies. I had to fight a childish urge to squeeze all the paint out of the tubes.
Our next stop was Wilmington, home of Lori. We wanted to kidnap Lori too. She’s smart and funny and it was a hoot chatting about ancient blogging times and all the wonderful and scary things that happen when you witter online.
We had a delicious dinner with Lori and her lovely husband, met her five cats (all so cute) and got to see her house. Another reason for wanting to kidnap Lori is that she has incredible style and a special interior decorating voodoo that allows her to put objects together in an astoundingly cosy and beautiful way. As opposed to the student chic Gareth and I specialise in!
I wanted to set these horses free.
We stayed the night in this B&B.
Then we went back up the road to Chapel Hill to catch up with Marla and Jennette.
This was the third time I’ve met Jennette and I always love her company. She has the best sense of humour. Her cat preferred to hide under the bed; an internet enigma. We went on a whistle stop tour of Chapel Hill including the fancy university campus where I crowed at all the sorority and fraternity houses. Just like on the telly. Every sorority house had a wholesome leggy blonde out the front, reading a book on a porch swing. I shit you not!
The next morning was our epic train voyage up to Baltimore for the conference. Of course it would have been quicker to fly, but trains rule and I loved stickybeaking out the grubby window.
I saw all kinds of towns and countryside through Virginia then got a brief glimpse of the famous bits of Washington DC.
(That’s not DC above, obviously. It’s just a shop I saw out the window somewhere. I liked the font!)
Denise was the perfect travel companion and I hope we get to travel together again someday. As well as being a brilliant friend she is just as hyper-organised as me, is a fellow TripIt.com addict, and always judges the perfect moment for a coffee break or a brief snooze at a hotel. She also indulges my need to slowly wander the aisles of supermarkets and Target. America, you’re chock full of good stuff!