Mary & Chooie's Excellent Adventure travel blog

Pizza at John's in NYC

Mona, Laura and Tino

The last slice

The men

Photo op in Times Square

Last selfie, in our driveway

They missed us!

The checkered flag at the finish line!

The welcoming committee! (Taken by Caitlin)

Waking up in the Hamptons is always a good thing!

We enjoyed a wonderful breakfast with Sue and Ed, shared more stories and relived the wild and crazy times on Ocean Avenue. It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than 20 years since Butz and Big Marty’s retirement house has been sold. Sadly, we say our goodbyes and begin the last day of our Excellent Adventure.

In our attempt to finish strong, we pinged the “New York Santini’s” to setup a get together in Manhattan for lunch. Remarkably, we achieve a quorum with Tino & Laura, Dave & Susan, Steve, and Seth & Mona taking time from their busy schedules to meet us for fantastic New York style pizza at John’s Pizzeria on 44th Street. We enjoy telling our stories, eating real NY pizza and are excited that we will all see each other at the end of May. As the group thins out due to the reality of work, we walk down the block to Times Square for typical tourist photo ops and say our final goodbyes as we depart for the last leg of our trip.

We cross into New Jersey and head south on the NJ Turnpike. After ten miles or so we finally see what we have been looking for since being in the state of Washington…a Delaware license plate! This represents the final state plate needed to complete all 50 states. We have also seen many Canadian plates and even some Mexican plates. Soon, we cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge and pull into a gas station for our final tank of gas. Suddenly it seems that everything is ‘the last’ of the trip.

As we cross into Maryland the weather turns ugly. We have run into the storm that is heading north and are greeted with torrential rain. Yuk! We’ve only got about two hours to go, so we just need to slow down a little, keep some distance from the cars around us and we will be fine.

We start receiving text messages from our neighbors asking us when we’ll be home. This sends up warning flags as we start wondering what kind of prank they have in store when we pull in the driveway. Our neighborhood has a history of pranking each other when somebody is out of town for a few days. With us gone for almost a month, we wonder if the house will still be standing, if they’ve dismantled it and moved it piece by piece to another location or just covered it all in post-it notes!

We hit about 20 minutes worth of traffic on the Beltway and I-95 South, but arrive at Exit 163 and Birch Bay Circle (“The BBC”) intact. We pull into our driveway and thankfully the house is still there. We are greeted with a “Welcome Home! The BBC Missed You!" sign on the garage door, a checkered flag on the front door and our neighbors, Steve & Sarah and Tom & Uyen come out of their houses to congratulate our accomplishment. Magically, a bottle of beer materializes in my hand and a glass of wine appears in Mary’s hand...Perfect!

After spending about five minutes standing in the rain taking pictures and telling stories we are ushered into Steve and Sarah’s house to get out of the cold rain and to continue the stories. We were greeted in the house by Colleen P and all the kids. In true BBC fashion, the palm tree is lit and we enjoy two hours of stories and drinks before we have to officially end our Excellent Adventure by actually walking into our house.

We are sad the adventure is over, but thrilled by the fact that we did it and happy to be safe in our house.

A couple of statistics of our trip;

Total miles driven: 9581.2

Total miles traveled by train: 813

Total miles traveled: 10394.2

Average miles per gallon: 22.9

Number of states traveled through: 30

Number of countries: 2

Number of time zones: 4

Number of speeding tickets: 1 (Wyoming, 84 in a 75 - Chooie!)

Answers to a couple of questions:

Did we get along during the trip? Absolutely!

Did we fight during the trip? Absolutely NOT!

Would we do it again? Oh, Hell yeah!!

Favorite stop? Sonoma/Napa (other than seeing Sammi, of course!)

Least favorite stop? Montreal

Best surprise? Devil’s Tower in Wyoming

Biggest highlight? Being able to see so many family and friends (35 of you!) along the way!

Biggest disappointment? Not being able to visit with Joe Simini

How’d the car hold up? Great! We changed the oil once and the right rear blinker konked out on the ride through Maryland.

Favorite food - Wagyu beef for Chooie, muffuletta for Mary

All in all, this was the trip of a lifetime and we are so happy we were able to do it. Being able to see so many friends and family only made this trip that much better. Sadly there were some people we didn't get to see or were just a little too far from our route. (Simsbury, CT is at the top of our list for our next adventure!!)

Thank you all for sharing this with us and hopefully you didn't roll your eyes (too much) when you got the daily emails about the updates!

Chooie and Mary have left the building...

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