Furlough Tour: Day Seven

It was bound to happen. After a week on the road, I finally hit a day where I took zero pictures. Not even a proof of life!

Today's lesson was that Google Maps is a lying liar who lies. Sure, it's only three hours from Baltimore to Charlottesville, Va., and only four hours from there to Charlotte, N.C. It all made sense on paper.

Today started at my sister's funky-cool house in York, Pa., where she was kind enough to host me for the evening. Melanie and I see each other so rarely now, and that's something we absolutely have to fix. The photo below is actually from last night's pub adventure, with her boyfriend Bryan. Because Melanie and I managed to see each other three times in one year and STILL didn't get a photo of us together. Oops.

See, Mel, I told you I'd post it eventually...
Bidding farewell to Melanie (again), I set out for Charlottesville. It was sorta kinda on my way to the signing in Charlotte, and the NBC affiliate there happens to employ one Lynne Vogt, who survived the wilds of Westfield Middle School with me lo these many years ago. Lynne is one of several childhood friends with whom I've reconnected thanks to the wonders of social media, but upon realizing that I would be in her area and that it has been omg24 years since we saw each other, a meetup was required.

Poor Lynne was still waiting when noon came and went, because Google Maps is a lying liar who lies. Not only was it much more than three hours from Baltimore, but it does not take into account that Washington D.C. creates its own clusterfuck of traffic to rival that of New Jersey.

By the time I finally made it to Charlottesville, we only had time to snag a quick snack and walkabout downtown for ten minutes. Charlottesville, by the way, is a beautiful funky old-fashioned town and I wished I had the time to stick around, go shopping and embarrass Lynne by telling her newsroom all about those unfortunate hairstyles we sported in 1987.

Back on the road, I flew through Virginia and North Carolina by defying the laws of the state and of physics. I'd warned my compatriot John Hartness that I might be late to our joint signing, which he was kind enough to set up at a bookstore in Charlotte. In the end I was only about ten minutes late, but John held down the fort for me, because he's an awesome guy.

The signing went all right. At least one person had driven an hour or more specifically to see me, which was humbling to say the least. I hope that I never become so jaded that I cease to be amazed by my readers' devotion. (Diagram that sentence! Shaddup, I'm so frigging tired you're lucky this thing is spelled correctly.)

John and I had a late dinner after the signing, talked shop and watched the game. Or more specifically, I watched the Cardinals trounce the hell out of the Dodgers and tried not to cheer because there were a lot of Dodgers fans around, and John watched football because he is not much for baseball.

Today's scenery was increasingly knockout-glorious, with the bonus of the Shenandoah Mountains in the distance. I was in far too much of a rush to stop and take pictures, but now I am regretting it. As I am regretting not taking pictures with Lynne, too.

I opted not to push on to Atlanta tonight, because four hours of sleep wasn't enough. Atlanta will be later tomorrow, and then a hellacious drive from Atlanta to Memphis because the final stop of the Furlough Tour will be 3 p.m. Sunday at the Booksellers of Laurelwood in Memphis, folks. Be there or be octagonal.

Missed Opportunity of the Day: Photos of the Shenandoah Mountains, and with my sister and Lynne!
Thanks: To Lynne, for making the time to see me and for the nummy dine-n-dash, to Melanie for hosting me, and to John Hartness for setting up the signing.

Note: I have been forgetting the Missed Opportunity and Thanks portions for the last couple of days. I will be adding them to the previous entries, so go back and see them in a bit.


  1. Atlanta to Memphis is not hellacious. It's about 400 miles and basically I 20 to US 78 and right into town. It's 70 all the way, except on I20 between Birmingham and the GA line. That tends to run about 25. There's a Wal-Mart in Birmingham AL that carries the most awesome Ginger Ale in the world. (Buffalo Rock) And I will be there Sunday.

  2. I actually prefer it when there's a lot of turns, because it keeps me awake. I have a tendency to get sleepy behind the wheel in the best of circumstances, and these are not the best of circumstances. There will be coffee in Atlanta...


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