On our recent road trip to Florida I thought it was a brilliant idea to take photos of the signs welcoming us into each new state, through the car window. This notion occurred to me when we approached the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign. I was too late to grab my camera out of my backpack on the back seat by the time we crossed the state border. Connecticut and New York had been old news as well, so I prepared for Maryland, camera in hand and turned on… There was no welcome sign! Maybe Virginia would work out?
All of a sudden, there was a “surprise” appearance of West Virginia and its sign on the bridge over the Potomac River. Mark said he had seen an announcement for the upcoming visitor center, I sneezed while grabbing my camera, half-written diary and pen on my lap, and managed to turn it on and snap a photo while driving underneath the sign at 65mph. On the other side of the border the maximum speed became 70mph – now we were talking!
It had been a hectic moment to snap one photo, so we’d better be prepared for Virginia, 30 miles further south. I was camera-ready, but … there was no sign. All the worry about having the sun in my eyes causing a crappy picture and the sign possibly being blocked by a massive truck in the right lane had been for nothing. It was my shift to drive for three hours through Virginia, so by the time we reached the next state, I was in the passenger seat again. I was distracted and impressed by the display on the dashboard of our Toyota Prius: a totally full battery, no fuel consumption and a “100 miles to the gallon” graph. I had to immortalize that moment!
While playing with the settings of my camera – it was rainy and relatively dark outside – Mark yelled: “North Carolina!” Darn… I tried to take the photo in between windshield wipers, on the wrong setting, resulting in one blurry image.
South Carolina only offered a welcome center – like all the states do – and no sign, although I was completely prepared to capture it. Florida was the important one, anyway, because that would become our home for two and a half weeks. I pointed out to Mark that I wanted to succeed in taking that photo at all costs. I preferred to stop the car and take my time, framing that welcome sign.
We drove on and “Welcome to Georgia” was thrown at us. I had completely forgotten about that state, but by then I was trying to snap photos of the scenery, so I was holding the camera already. Seeing the sign, I seized the opportunity!
I was driving and reminded Mark of the Florida sign photo quest. The camera was ready in the side of the passenger’s door. I would try to stop, but you never knew what the situation would be and Mark needed to be prepared… A few miles before the border, we received an important phone call that required Mark’s full attention. I hoped for telepathic qualities to obtain my camera from the other side of the car. Instead, I stared at the sign, dangerously located along a narrow shoulder on a bridge, and passed it. Stopping would have been too dangerous… we were in Florida with nothing to prove for it!