Epic Road Trip 2011: The Victory Lap

Epic Road Trip 2011: The Victory Lap

This is part 4 in a series about my Epic Road Trip 2011.  If you have not yet seen the teaser, or read the background behind my love for the open road, then it would be a good idea to start reading Part 3: The Long Haul and Part 4: Uncharted Waters.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

All done? Up to speed?  Good.  Let’s do this.

Friday, March 11

After a much needed rest, our time to hit the road has come.  2700 miles of road behind us, just around 900 in front of us, and 700+ of those miles are ones we have covered in previous trips.  With that in mind, this segment is dubbed, “The Victory Lap”.  One more time through some familiar territory, some time ahead with some good friends and the completion to this Epic Road Trip on the horizon line.

It is with hesitation that we bid goodbye to the Atlanta area and our good friends, for we have some highway to tackle.

Some gas for the beast and it is on the road, north on I-85 towards North Carolina.

80 miles into today, we cross into our 9th state of the trip.

State number 9

With 100 miles in the drivers seat today and the previous 2 days of driving, it is time to turn over the driving duties to Mike.  A quick pit stop and driver change just outside of Anderson, SC proved to offer a little more than just a rest stop.

I have heard in the past how beautiful South Carolina is, however, if this is what their rest stops look like, I am sold.

Not a bad view for a rest stop

A little more exploration, and 100 yards or so away is one of the fingers off of Hartwell Lake.

Even Rusty enjoyed the scenery
Lake Hartwell
Could have sat here for hours
Pictures do not do it justice

The lake and surrounding areas are so quiet and peaceful, we decide to linger for a bit to take some photos and enjoy the peace, quiet and serenity of the area.  With I-85 not 200 yards behind us, we cannot even hear the noise of the road.

Tall Tall Trees...
Yeah, I could live here. Just outside Anderson, SC. #epicroadie2011 - http://t.co/8wpznCB
Justin Hamlin

Back to the road we head, less than 100 miles to Charlotte and Virginia just a few miles past that.  Our destination for tonight is Charlottesville, VA.

Old stomping grounds

Back into old stomping grounds for Mike, we are a few hundred miles from Virginia, basically a straight shot around Charlotte and Greensboro, then into VA, but not without a quick stop for some food.  Hush puppies and shakes to go!

Apparently their shakes are pretty well renowned around these parts #epicroadie2011 (@ Cook-Out w/ @) http://4sq.com/e47hSU
Justin Hamlin
Rusty enjoying the scenery
State number 11

160 miles to go until we get to Bryan and Alisa’s, this might be the most grueling drive of the trip, as we are in the mindset of pushing through to our destination, off the interstate and onto rural state routes, we will be averaging around 45-50mph as we go in and out of small, rural towns.

Rt 29 towards Ruckersville, VA

Dinner time with some great friends at a small restaurant in Ruckersville, VA before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner with the Watkin clan

Back to the hotel we head.  Tomorrow is another 400 miles. 8 days down, 1 to go.

Hockey game online and then some sleep. Tomorrow is home! #epicroadie2011 (@ DoubleTree Hotel) http://4sq.com/ggNYIh
Justin Hamlin

Saturday, March 12

The end of the road is near.  At this point, the trip is no longer about having fun, enjoying the open road, it is about covering ground and getting back to New York.  Sad to say, but that is how every road trip ends.

Today is 400 miles, playing cross-country courier and getting home.

Another one off the list

Skirting around the outside of DC, we cross into our 12th state of the trip.

Not long after that, chalk up number 13.

Light speed to Endor!
State number 13

Making quick work of these states on I-85, the interstate does not provide for a lot of photographic opportunities other than ones like this of the Wilmington skyline.

Wilmington, Deleware

Around noon, we have already covered over half of our distance for the day.  Lunch with Morgan is planned for 1:30pm in North Trenton, NJ.  Plenty of time to cover 65 miles.

Through MD and onto DE, #epicroadie2011 marches on, knocking out states left and right. Only PA, NJ and NY left to go!
Justin Hamlin

I feel so welcomed

Just need to run through Philadelphia and we will be in New Jersey in no time.

Until this

Yes, we have driven 3200+ miles without hitting traffic since leaving California.  That is, until now.  Construction on the Delaware Expressway (I-95) on the bridge between the Philadelphia Airport and the Naval yard is causing this.

Finally around the traffic, we hit New Jersey and headed for lunch.

The Dirty Jersey

Lunch at Panera Bread in Northwest Trenton, we meet up with Morgan to deliver some mail (long story) and catch up over some food.  Nothing like being a 3450 mile courier service. (and to think, I didn’t even charge him)

After a much-too-short lunch, the road is calling us again.

Buh bye PA! Good to catch up with @, now into NJ and shortly, NY! 120 miles to home for #epicroadie2011
Justin Hamlin

Only approximately 130 miles to go and the driving portion of EPIC Road Trip 2011 will be officially done! #EpiicRoadie2011 #VictoryLap

A few short miles down the road, we click off the last state line crossing of the trip.

Empire State of Mind

A turn up I-87 Thruway and we meet up with Juliet in Newburgh, NY at 5:15pm.  Just 8 miles home to unload the beast and off to a victory dinner at The Depot in Cold Spring, NY.

And finally a victory dinner with @ and @ in our final state of New York. #EpicRoadie2011 http://4sq.com/i1G8Av

A well earned victory dinner

Until Next time my brother

Peace out brother, safe travels @ #epicroadie2011 (@ Stewart International Airport (SWF) ✈) http://4sq.com/h9bXM6
Justin Hamlin



9 days

3600 miles

72 hours of driving


Justin Hamlin

Justin Hamlin is the founder of <a href="http://www.justinhamlin.com">Get Busy Livin'</a>, a blog founded on collaboration and story telling, dedicated to inspiring himself and others to get busy living their lives. He is a writer, photographer, computer nerd, story teller and world traveler. He calls New York home when him and his wife are not hunting down adventure, exploring the east coast or jet setting around the world. You can follow Justin on <a href="http://www.justinhamlin.com">Get Busy Livin'</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/justinhamlin">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/GetBusyLivin">Facebook</a>.

  • Marty

    What mail…

    • For Morg? Title to his Caddy. Ask him about that story. Amazing the hoops he had to jump through.

  • Ahh man i love road trips and I am so jealous you did a cross country one. I love all the shots you took. Especially the Welcome to … that is so awesome.

    So how many of the 50 states have you been too now?

    • Yeah, it definitely was a fun one. At this point, I have done 3 cross country road trips, and one of just the North east. One of the things we have always done is taken then “welcome to” signs for every state we enter. We even had one back on our first road trip, entering Tennessee in the middle of the night (2am) we stopped in the middle of the road (actually a bridge crossing the Mississippi) just to get a clear picture of the “welcome to Tennessee sign” 🙂

      I think at last count, there are only 4 or 5 states I have not driven through.