As promised, I'm going to tell you more about the last leg of our trip as well as some general observations.
We were in Pittsburgh on the last night. We didn't know anything about Pittsburgh except that it's compared to Hamilton, a steeltown city which is ugly. Pittsburgh is beautiful!!!!!!!!! It's all hilly and has lots of trees and bridges and it's just gorgeous. We had no idea that it was so pretty. The downtown is especially lovely with lots of interesting buildings and bridges. We were in another part of the city that was still lovely. We'd think about visiting this city another time because it is so pretty.
One thing that we thought was really cool about Virginia and Pittsburgh is that we had to drive through tunnels there. Yes, tunnels!!!!! They were so cool - the ones in Virginia that we went through (Big Walker Mountain Tunnel and East River Mountain Tunnel) were about a mile long each so that when we were in the middle we couldn't see either end. I'd have loved to take a picture of the inside of the tunnels but of course we couldn't stop :). We went through two tunnels in Pittsburgh: Squirrel Mountain Tunnel and Fort Pitt Tunnel. There's a LOT of traffic in these tunnels and so they are pretty slow. In one of them a lane was blocked by a couple of young teenage girls in a Mercedes SUV "seat dancing" and driving at about 5MPH. I'm pretty sure these girls were under the influence of something.
Unfortunately I didn't sleep well that night. I wasn't feeling well that evening and so I didn't take my evening pills, including my painkillers. I hadn't taken painkillers in the early evening because I didn't need them then. This meant that I woke up at 4am with the start of oxycodone withdrawl symptoms. I had sweated a lot (this could have been a night sweat or a hot flash). I also had a wickedly woogly back and this is a definite symptom of oxycodone withdrawl for me. Sigh. This was very stupid of me. It took me about an hour and a half to get this under control and I'm not going to do that again.
I also learned through this incident that I will not be able to reduce my painkiller usage to nothing. The pain in my sternum was very, very bad during this time and so while the radiation helped to some extent, it didn't make the pain go away completely.
The drive home was uneventful - we pushed pretty hard because we really wanted to come home. We were both quite tired because I was awake in the night but we were able to get through the drive pretty easily. The border crossing took about 15 minutes and then we had a bite to eat. We got home while it was light out and were able to get settled back in and everything.
One cool thing that we saw when we came home was a bunch of orb spiders!!!!!!!!!!!! One or another of the spiders last year must have laid eggs because we have about 9 little orb spiders in the back and some number in the front. They're so cute!!! Their legs are smaller than their bodies but they still have the striping we'd expect. I tried to take pictures but they didn't turn out. I'll try again soon. I'm looking forward to seeing them grow up - and seeing how many we actually end up with.
I really enjoyed our trip overall. I liked the juggling shows and I was happy that Ian had a good time at the festival. I liked seeing the different parts of the country that we saw, from a flora, fauna, and geological perspective. The different types of rock in each part of the country were really neat. The views were spectacular almost everywhere we went. I also liked seeing different buildings and cities with differing architecture.
One thing I didn't like was that I discovered that I had a tendency to panic whenever I had trouble navigating or driving when navigation was difficult. I think that I basically was having panic attacks and winding myself up into them. It was sort of like I was watching myself get more and more wound up and overwhelmed. Ian and I talked about it and he suggested meditation during those times. I think that this is a good idea. I'm also going to talk to someone I know over at Hopespring to see if she can give me some help with this.
Overall I loved our vacation and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had a great time and I would do this again - I really like a driving vacation. I'm glad to be home, though :)