I’m slowly decompressing from the longest roadtrip I’ve personally taken on my own. The roadtrip bumped up into this year’s ConGlomeration, as I knew it would when I planned it, so the convention felt like another weekend in the roadtrip. This year I helped with pre-convention (day before) setup for only the first or second time, and made it all the way through teardown through to the dead dog party for just the second time. ConGlomeration is definitely my home con at this point and I love volunteering to help it run smoothly. I also love the chance to catch up with some of the friends I only ever really see, converse with, hang out with, and/or game once or at most twice a year at cons.

I’m still compiling whatever wisdom there was to gain from the American highway this trip. I meant to try to send some of it fresh to the blog during the trip, but as such intentions tend to go that didn’t quite happen.

I did get another thousand words into my longest current novella project (this one’s working title: Sophia Rekam and the Improbable Novella Project: An Adventure in Novel Writing with a Mary Sue Type Character, a 35 kiloword NaNoWriMo attempt) and some more wheels into motion in that novella, late one night in a hotel room. Things are going way too smoothly for its protagonists right now and I know what’s probably the next big obstacle in their path, and it’s a terribly mean one. One thing I’m just now starting to pick up on is that part of what makes me a “bad” Game Master is that I surprisingly have a hard time being mean to my characters. That partly explains where I’m blocked with several of the stories sitting on my hard drive.

Overview of the stops in the road trip:

  • Brevard, NC (scenic “Land of Waterfalls”)
  • Durham, NC
  • Hillsborough, NC (brief evening scenic drive)
  • Savannah, GA (disappointed it was not quite beach weather, but good scenic spots to read books; some great food)
  • Alpharetta, GA
  • Huntsville, AL

The worst leg of the trip was unsurprisingly the trip from Savannah to Alpharetta, with a bunch of construction south of Atlanta making the usual traffic even more unbearable. I was also trying to find a sports bar for early dinner and to watch a basketball game and was stymied by being stuck in traffic in the middle of nowhere miles before even getting to Atlanta.

There were a bunch of very scenic parts amongst the legs of the trip and just about everywhere I stopped was equally hospitable and interesting in one way or other. Savannah was a small mini-vacation of sorts and I got to see a few of its sights. I was given a unique tour of Huntsville while I was there. Alpharetta and Brevard were cheap stops at Hampton Suites to break up long drives in half, so I didn’t see much of them other than very hospitable restaurants within walking distance of the Hampton. The Hampton in Brevard had signs encouraging one to take a hike amongst the forest and waterfalls nearby; I didn’t follow through on that suggestion but it sounded like a good idea should I end up near there again in the future.

I was rather busy in Durham so I didn’t see as much of Raleigh-Durham as I probably should have. My attempt to sightsee there lead to my trek out to beautiful Hillsborough, which was as much of a failed trip as it was a successful bit of scenery. I had my sights on visiting a brew pub there (Mystery Brewing), but had not realized from the map what sort of a trek it was to Hillsborough: it’s 30 minutes away but everyone (including the cab companies I asked) treats it like it’s an hour or more away. One of those interesting sorts of time warps that exist in the country’s geography. I got some of a feel for why that was in making the trip, as it does seem somewhat “off the beaten path” compared to the more suburbanized neighboring areas. The trip wasn’t a great success because at the point I got to Hillsborough I had already had a busy day and was nervous about getting food and sleep so I turned back around almost immediately and ate a quick meal at a fast food place on the way back to that night’s hotel. I was also having a strange time dealing with the surprising climate difference between Hillsborough and Durham, at least that night. Should there be a next time I would definitely be better prepared.

I’m still waiting on some results back from the work that I put into the trip, but I’m hopeful and optimistic that interesting things should come out of the trip. I’m vague here primarily due to superstitions about spoiling the outcomes more so than any concern about secrecy. Like I said, I’m hopeful about what those outcomes might be. It was a good roadtrip and maybe a sign of things to come, which is part of why there are so many books about the great American roadtrip.