The Wrap Up

While on the road, I made it a point to write in a notebook everyday to summarize all the things that happen on our trip the day before. We didn't include everything in our previous posts (given how long our recaps were getting) so here are the remaining random things we left on the cutting room floor:

Random Observations (The Good and The Bad):

  • Road Accidents: We encountered a fair amount of road accidents during our trip or to be really accurate, we encountered the aftermath of these accidents. I estimate that we saw at least 3 dead deers on the road, all with varying levels of decay. We also saw the aftermath of a bad auto accident in Pennsylvania where a motorcyclist laid unconscious on the street (we hope he was only unconscious). Dexter and I had arrived a few minutes after the accident when we pulled into a gas station to refuel. We felt awkward about leaving the scene, but we saw a number of other pedestrians calling an ambulance and heard the sirens, so we knew help was on the way before we left.
Dexter posing in Wheeling right before we saw the car. 
  • No Anti-Asian Encounters: As Dexter mentioned in his post, we did not encounter any animosity from those around us. To be honest, this was definitely something I feared given all the anti-Asian attacks we've heard about on the news. I was always on alert when we got to areas where we were the only minorities. The only time we became really uncomfortable was when we were in Wheeling, West Virginia. Wheeling appears to be a very small town with barely any life to it. Dexter and I wanted to pull over and take a couple pictures so we could say we saw something in West Virginia. While doing so, a group of young white males in a car drove by us with their windows rolled down and some eye contact was definitely made. Nothing happened, but we both didn't want to stay any longer after that and quickly made our way to the car. Perhaps we really didn't have anything to fear or we were just lucky during our trip to not encounter anything, but that uneasiness I felt made Wheeling a memorable place for me.
  • No Break-ins: Another lucky break was that we had no break-ins. As some of you may know, we packed our small Toyota Corolla with all of our belongings for a year in the trunk and back seat. When we stopped at different places, we always made sure to have a sheet covering everything and used a screen protector for the front. We were also lucky in that the Toyota had tinted windows so often, no one could really see what we had in the car. Still, we were worried about being robbed. At our hotels, we always tried to make sure we parked under a light and/or near our room so we could make the occasional checks on the car. There was only one time where we thought someone was breaking in, but it turned out our neighbor was leaving early and was packing up her car right next to ours.
Here's a logo for Krazy Kaplan's pulled off the Internet.
  • Firework Stores: Starting from Illinois, we saw a lot of billboards for firework stores (especially for this one store called Krazy Kaplan). Perhaps it was because July 4th was coming up, but numerous times, Dexter and I couldn't help but go, "Do people buy fireworks all year round or is it just for July 4th? Why would you have a store just devoted to fireworks? Do you make money?" Our questions remain unanswered.
  • The New Jersey Turnpike: You all read about Dexter's thoughts on traffic and trucks (at least once a day on the road, he would go on a mini-tirade about trucks). Well, Dexter wanted me to quickly include a nice little shoutout to New Jersey for having dedicated lanes for trucks only, which he thinks is genius and all states should follow this.
  • Lots and Lots of Tolls: From Illinois onwards, we encountered a bunch of tolls. Not much to say on this other than that there were a bunch of tolls and we often got confused as to whether we needed to pay in cash or just drive through. (Spoiler: Other than one toll booth in New York, it appears all the toll booths no longer take cash and will send you mail and/or require you to go on their website to pay). We estimate we are going to be paying $50+ in tolls (we're still waiting on the mail).

... And that wraps up all of our remaining thoughts for our road trip. Not the most exciting of posts, but I wanted to capture even the mundane/random details so when we look back, we can remember our trip fully.

We are so glad we did this trip, though there were a few things we wished we were able to do like having more time to visit Yellowstone and Chicago, and eat cheese curds in Madison, Wisconsin. That said, we are on the fence whether we'll be making the similar trek back to California once Dexter's fellowship ends... Guess we'll have to see if the road trip bug bites us again next year!

Jennifer Ta

Jennifer Ta