When we were children living in South Jersey our family made the drive to DC pretty often. In those days that road trip involved me, my brother, and sister tucked in the back of our Ford Falcon eating Chikn-in-a-Biscuit crackers and playing the license plate game with our parents. About halfway into the journey and a little while after passing under the hairpin towers of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the highway would open up and cross a huge expanse of water. "What's the name of this river?" my dad always asked, and in a chorus we replied,
A few miles down the road we'd find ourselves descending through Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, its submarine subway tiles shining wetly in the dim yellow lights. Keep up Speed Keep up Speed Keep up Speed we chanted along with the reminder signs posted every hundred yards or so. Back then, the pay off of those trips was always a visit with our grandparents, or one of our beloved aunts and cousins, which was a very grand reward indeed.
Today I made that journey in reverse on my way to a family vacation in Maine, and it was impossible not to note all the usual landmarks. Oh the highway is wider, and tunnel has been updated, and there are two spans to the DMB now, and there's no longer a Hot Shoppe at the rest stop in Delaware, but the name of that river is still the same.