#1,014 The Big Trip Day 1.

Well here we are. We are on the biggest road trip of our lives to Ben’s 10 year class reunion in North Carolina, then we’re going north to Pennsylvania, New York City, Massachusetts and Vermont. We woke up at 4:00 am and were on the road by 5:30 am. We are tired people.

This is today’s adventure from Laurel to Durham, North Carolina in photos. Tonight we’re staying here and then we’ll be heading on to Reidsville, Ben’s former hometown, in the morning.
First stop, Atlanta, for lunch at The Varsity.

 Where we saw hordes of teenagers wearing tall Nike socks. Is it 1994 again and I didn’t realize?

Then we were back on the road through Georgia and across South Carolina:

 I wonder if anyone has ever noticed Daddy Joe’s undoubtedly expensive billboard?

And we finally crossed the state line into North Carolina, where we hit standstill rush hour traffic jams in Charlotte that lasted over an hour. The only thing that made it tolerable was our amazing audiobook, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.
With the help of our old-fashioned atlas combined with the powers of the iPhone, I, the official navigator of all our trips, found an alternate route that took us to Concord, home of the Avett brothers. It was some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. The further north and east we traveled, the more fall had spread. The leaves became orange and red, and the hills and farms were endless. 

Finally, after 14 hours on the road, we made it to Durham. We checked in to the hotel, then went downtown for Dame’s (Almost World Famous) Chicken and Waffles.

And even as tired as we were, Ben told me we couldn’t go to bed without seeing Duke Chapel all lit up at night. I knew it would be beautiful, but I had no idea.

Chapel isn’t really the most accurate word. It’s every bit the cathedral that Westminster Abbey is. 

Ben took me to the place where his daddy’s classes were, the Duke School of Divinity:

I can’t believe there are people, like my own sweet father-in-law, who actually get to be students here. I bet it made moving his family so far completely worth it to be surrounded by the beauty and academia.

I knew Duke University was prestigious, but woah… I’ve never seen anything like that. Tomorrow Ben’s going to give me the extensive tour. I can’t wait!
Day 1, total success. The car ride wasn’t even bad.