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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 5: Mr. Robertson’s Neighborhood

700 Club Ticket Stub!

Scrapbooked souvenirs are the best souvenirs.

One of MCC’s more enduring entries from the past two years has been that time we attended a taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on our 2016 NYC vacation. That wasn’t our first time attending a live TV recording. That milestone was set nine years earlier, in a studio that met much the same criteria — admission was free but required tickets anyway; no photos were allowed during all the best parts of the experience; and the biggest name in the house was a famous figure in the American political arena who we were forbidden to approach, and who once announced a Presidential campaign but wasn’t taken seriously.

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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 4: An Appalachian Trail But for Non-Hikers

me at overlook!

Whenever a long drive through vast panoramas threaten to turn dull, break up the pretty monotony with a stop at a scenic overlook! Then quickly get back in the car and floor it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

The morning drive through the West Virginia mountains was beautiful, and not just because the traffic was light and I made great time. Their wilderness panoramas are many and vast and spacious and layered and wondrously three-dimensional.

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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 3: The Original Thomas and Martha

Thomas Jefferson Burial Site!

He gets his name on the obelisk. Hers is down on the base. To be fair, he lived at Monticello longer than she did.

[Historical pre-note: our 2018 road trip is in the early planning stages, and so far Anne and I know only one thing for certain: it’s time to visit another Presidential burial site or two. We’ve seen 13 of the 38 to date, nearly one-third of the way through the list. Back in 2008, our visit to Thomas Jefferson’s scenic Monticello was only site #2 for us. They were never meant to be a recurring travel motif, but here we are.]

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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 2: Doing the Charleston

Gold Capitol Dome!

I think I shot the West Virginia State Capitol at a weird Batman ’66 angle because I wanted to get as close to it as possible without cutting off the top or bottom. Turning it into a hypotenuse must have seemed logical at the time.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression. For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

The first few hours of our drive to West Virginia took us through familiar parts of Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, all of which sped past uneventfully. Parts of eastern Kentucky that were new to us looked the same as the rest, unless you count the water tower with signage welcoming us to “FLORENCE Y’ALL”, or the gas station in Lexington that sold more liquor than gas and was unequipped for pay-at-the-pump, or the dumb Beavis-‘n’-Butthead giggles to be had as we passed Big Bone Lick State Park. After so many hours in a car, some families get punchy and become too easily entertained.

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Our 2008 Road Trip, Part 1: Hanging with the Hillbillies

Hillbilly sign!

Welcome to the mountains of West Virginia! And one of the better meals on this trip.

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly.

Our 2007 drive down to Orlando had been a fun mix of famous theme park and American spaceflight, with one personal milestone for me: my first contact with the Atlantic Ocean. My moment lasted about ten minutes before thunderstorms chased us away from the coast. As Atlantic beach experiences go, Florida gave me a lousy first impression.

For 2008 we decided a second try was in order. Rather than take back-to-back trips to the same state, we researched other east-coast beach options, judged them by their nearby attractions, adjusted for our modest budget that couldn’t possibly afford upper-class oceanfront accommodations, and settled on what we hoped would be a suitable sequel.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Virginia Beach!

Little did we know it would be our least favorite road trip to date. 9½ years later, it still holds the title of The Worst.

Today we kick off another special MCC miniseries representing the original travelogue from our 2008 drive from Indianapolis to southeast Virginia. Some hindsight editing will be included along the way as part of the “special edition” processing. Special thanks as always to my wife Anne, who — for reasons that will become more apparent in the narrative — co-wrote far more of this travelogue than any other we’ve done.

Despite our pain and disappointment: enjoy!

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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 46: The Season Finale – Last Call for Outtakes

GO THE EXTRA MILE!

Parking lot decor found on the walk from the Inner Harbor to the American Visionary Art Museum.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our seven-day trip to Baltimore, Maryland, in forty-four episodes —- July 8-14, 2017, with stops along the way at two Civil War battlefields and a series of smaller but no less intriguing sights by the roadside.

It all comes down to this: one final collection of alternate scenes and quick blips in between the larger sights. Baltimore may have set a new homicide record year in 2017, to say nothing of headline-making protests, but our trip there and back again belied all that. Any large city has its issues and its areas you’re not supposed to visit — some worse than others — but they also have their bright sides and their reasons, great and small, why the locals stick around and don’t just all flee to Canada.

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