We ended up having a perfectly lovely conversation as they finished the car.
It turned out the Godfather (whose name I cannot remember) was actually Polish. We talked about when he attended medical school in Poland and his daughter.
His daughter was the reason he was in the United States. He mentioned she was finishing up her Ph. D. at a local school and he would have to pick her up soon. She was handicapped (we never discussed what her challenge was) and he said Poland had not advanced enough in his opinion that she could have a full life. So he picked up everything when she was small and moved to a country where he felt she could be given every opportunity. He spoke about her with such love and admiration in his voice.
At that moment John and Matt came into the lobby and the conversation switched over to cars. Fast car, expensive cars, dream cars. It turns out the Godfather used to own a version of Matt’s dream car so I got to watch Matt drool a little bit. There were cell phone pictures and funny stories.
Finally the mechanic came out to tell us that the part had been replaced and the check engine light was OFF! Matt grabbed the keys and we jumped in the car to cruise yet again around Wilmington, DE. We put that car through the ringer. Short of setting it on fire I am not sure there is much else we could have done to test its capabilities. Matt was satisfied the issue had been fixed.
We went back to the garage, everyone shook hands and Matt and I left to return the rental car. I have to confess when I got in the car and hit the ignition button I said a prayer that the check engine light would not come on. Thankfully it did not!
So we returned the rental car (at the beautiful Wilmington, DE train station) without event and headed back to Virginia. It was around 6 p.m. Without bad weather we had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us but the snow was scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
The first two hours of the drive were uneventful. Delaware and Maryland were not expecting more than flurries and that was all we had. The change from clear weather to heavy snow seemed to happen in almost an instant. My friends had been texting me to let me know the conditions at home and now I was beginning to see them first hand.
Once we hit the Eastern Shore our average speed got down to about 30 miles per hour (often times much slower). The roads were empty and turning into a sheet of ice. So we trudged along slowly.
That night happened to be the State of the Union (we found it on the radio) so we agreed to help pass the time we would do a drinking game with our bottled water. After asking advice on facebook we decided to do a shot of water every time one of these phrases was said by President Obama: “Let Me Be Clear”, “Make No Mistake”, “The American People” or a sentence beginning with the word “Now.” Sadly (or maybe happily since we didn’t have to try to find a bathroom) there wasn’t much need to drink. I later found out that this was the President’s first address with his new speechwriter so some of the usual catch phrases were missing.
After the State of the Union we drove another hour at a snails pace. We listened to pod-casts and searched for basketball games on the radio. Looming ahead of us was going to be the most interesting part of the trip- going through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.
For those of you who don’t know the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel I have always called it the “bridge tunnel bridge tunnel bridge.” It’s a series of bridges and tunnels that cross over a portion of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s about 29 miles long and costs $13 to cross.
The going over the bridge part was very slow but beautiful. The snow blowing reminded me of baby powder and the water looked like the beginning of the television show “Revenge.” The sky was very dark because of the cloud cover and the waves were rough smashing against the pillars. It was eerily quiet- the only noise was the occasional snow plow going down the other side of the bridge.
I wish I had a video of how beautiful the snow plows were. As they drove down the bridge it was like a white veil flying through the air behind them- the snow seemed to linger and float gently to the ground. I was thankful I wasn’t driving so I got to see these beautiful combinations of nature and man.
Then you would hit the tunnel and your eyes would adjust to the harshness of the neon lights. Plus you could increase your speed to about 45 miles an hour without being in danger.
If you look at this picture you can see how there is no snow inside the tunnel and then it gets MUCH deeper just past the edge.
Once that was over we were back on hometown roads. There was NO ONE out. I doubt we saw 12 cars in the last hour. Between the snow and it being one o’clock in the morning most people were at home snug in their beds. I was very impressed to see snow trucks however. The joke around town is that we only have one snow plow for all the almost 2 million people who live in Hampton Roads. We just don’t get snow often enough to justify the cost. I guess we borrowed them from other places because they were everywhere already cleaning up the roads.
In this picture you can see the snow plows coming toward us.
We finally got home about 1:30 in the morning. I had e-mailed and cancelled with the radio station so I didn’t have to set my alarm. I figured no one was going to be heading to the store for the next few days anyway.
Now whenever I see Matt’s Pruis I think of the Polish Mafia, chop shops and The State of the Union. And what an INCREDIBLE friend I am.
And that he owes me BIG.