We have to check out by 10:00am, and we do. Everything was already packed from yesterday morning. We're making a stop at Starbuck's on 31st and then we'll drive north on Atlantic to Ocean Drive and follow the signs for the Hampton Roads Tunnel, rather than taking the closer I-264 entrance.
We're especially happy that we chose this exit route, as it brings back memories of when we lived here and of other vacation journeys. There are lots of familiar sights and much that's new and improved. We're always a bit nostalgic as we head over the causeway and into the tunnel.
The drive north on I-64 is tree-lined and lovely. We've not planned our stops, but end up making a quick, fruitless, visit to Williamsburg Pottery in Lightfoot. There's just not much here anymore; there's also a sign saying that by 2012 there'll be new and improved Pottery Factory shops...
We haven't eaten today, so owe find a BBQ place in Williamsburg, Red, Hot and Blue, that turns out to be a great choice. I opt for a pulled-chicken salad (mixed greens, veggies, and chicken), while CA can't resist the pulled pork.
Our next destination (besides home!) is Chap's in Charlottesville. Yes, we stopped here on our way down to the beach. This ice cream is the best! The best! Definitely worth another visit. We both are loyal to our previous choices from last week and last year--peanut butter and chocolate for me and some sort of pralines and pecans for CA. YUM! and double YUM!
We decide to stop for dinner at a steak house near Beckley, WVA and then have the energy to press on.
We'd hope to drive to Huntington, WVA, as that's been a good sort-of-halfway spot for us, but we surprise ourselves by making it as far as Gallipolis, OH. Our iPhone GPS suggested that we take Rte. 35 toward Dayton, and while its definitely a secondary route, we follow it just for some variety in our travels.
After just a few false stops, we locate a Hampton Inn. Our room is a king, and outfitted for business travelers--meaning there's an urban vibe with dark woods, white linens, and a smashing spa-like bathroom. A great find!
Funny, I'd just read today in the NY Times that many hotels are opting for shower-only bathrooms, having concluded that most travelers prefer showers. Then, we check in at the Hampton Inn in Gallipolis and find it has just a shower, no tub. A coincidence? I think not. I'm always amazed how these things follow...
We're very thankful for this lovely room tonight. We really only need the basics, but for a few dollars more we get this experience instead of the Super 8 just off the highway. Worth every dollar.
I do, though, manage to dampen the experience by indulging in... wait for it... Almost an entire box of caramel Crunch 'n Munch. A stomach ache. Really. Bloat. Ugh-h-h. Why do I do these things? I've even been planning to cut out high fructose corn syrup (and gluten, which doesn't really apply here (although they do sneak gluten into unlikely things)).
Guess what the number one ingredient is Crunch 'n Munch is? You don't have to be a genius to know: high fructose corn syrup!
O.K. I mean it. Tomorrow is the re-start of my commitment to Weight Watchers. No more fooling around. And, I'm really going to watch out for gluten (which settles around the waist and hip areas of middle-aged women) and HFCS. No matter what the ConAgra advertising blitz campaign says, I'm becoming convinced that high fructose corn syrup is deadly to overall health and vitality. CUT IT OUT!!!!