Cross country road trip day 6: Salem, VA to Dulles, VA

01. Introduction: Cross country road trip in a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
02: Day 1: San Diego, CA to Deming, NM
03: Day 2: Deming, NM to Amarillo, TX
04: Day 3: Amarillo, TX to Maumelle, AR
05: Day 4: Maumelle, AR to Knoxville, TN
06: Day 5 part A: Driving the Tail of the Dragon
07: Day 5 part B: Knoxville, TN to Salem, VA
08. Day 6: Salem, VA to Dulles, VA
09. Trip summary and final thoughts
10: Review: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Salem, VA to Dulles, VA map

My driving route from Salem, VA to Dulles, VA

After 5 days of driving across the entire USA, it all came down to this. Today would be the day I finish this cross country road trip! I was feeling both relieved and sad at the same time, but probably more relieved than anything else. As I mentioned in my last post, 5 full days of driving had caught up to me and I was not feeling very well at all so I was a bit apprehensive about getting in that Corvette again for one last 3 hour push.

But the Corvette had been so good on this trip, and I loved driving it. That made getting back into it not as difficult as it could have been if I were driving anything else. I can only imagine the dread I would have felt if I had to muster the strength to get back into a Toyota Camry or something really dull and soulless like that. I knew full well that I didn’t have the strength for a full day of driving, so I was incredibly happy to know that I only needed to go a few hours more.

I slept in a bit to try and build as much energy as possible, and I eventually checked out of the hotel and hit the road about 9:45am. That was my latest start on this road trip so far, and it felt great to take things slow and easy for once.

corvette parked outside of the hotel

The final day – and it looks as if the Vette survived an entire week of being left in dark hotel parking lots.

The skies started to clear as I made my way north on I-81, and I was under full blue skies by the time I reached 66 east towards DC. This was the first blue sky I had seen in days, and it was incredibly welcoming to see. Also nice to see were the flowers and trees that were blooming all along the freeway as I reached the outskirts of DC. Spring was in full bloom.

roads starting to dry out as I made my way to DC

The rain stopped shortly after departing Salem, which was nice. This has been a very wet road trip!

clear skies and blooming flowers I-81 north

Finally – the first blue sky I’ve seen in days!

I-81 north just east of Harrisonburg, VA

The clear skies and dry roads definitely helped to lift my spirits and give me the energy for the final push to DC

the last stop on my cross country road trip

The last rest area stop, about 1.5 hours west of DC. It was a disgusting one as well – the toilets were out of service and all they had were porta-potties. Nasty stuff.

I-66 east

The final leg of the trip: I-66 east about 45 minutes from Dulles International Airport

I made it to Dulles International Airport (IAD) by 1pm, which is where I had scheduled to return this Corvette to Avis. I started feeling a bit nostalgic as I made my way into the airport property and topped off the gas tank one last time, as I really loved this car and became quite attached to it over the past 2,800 miles. It ran beautifully, and it really was difficult to give it back.

destination reached

I made it. Here is one last look at the Navigation screen before giving the car back to Avis.

The return process was entertaining. I pulled into the return lane and all the Avis personnel within a 100ft radius gave me a look like I was lost or something. One of the women came over to scan the bar code on the windshield and her head nearly exploded when she realized it was an Avis car. “WOW!” was the first thing that came out of her mouth before yelling “this is an Avis car!” to another employee. Several other Avis employees started walking towards the car as I was unpacking my things, and they kept asking if it was really was one of theirs. I assured them that it was, and they all took turns sitting in the Vette getting their pictures taken with it. Several guys even took it for a quick spin around the lot.

me happy to be in a corvette stingray

Even after 2,800 of driving, the Corvette still put a smile on my face. It was an amazing car for a road trip across the USA.

saying goodbye to the corvette

So long, friend.

To be honest, I didn’t even know what to expect returning this car at IAD. I assumed that it was a big enough station that they already had cars like this to rent, but those Avis employees assured me that they have never had a car like this on their lot. I asked one of the guys if he thought it would stick around, and he quickly said “no way”. He told me that it would most likely be gone within a day, presumably shipped off to another Avis location that rents high end cars like this.

corvette parked at avis lot dulles international airport

One last look at the Vette as I walked to the Avis shuttle bus that would take me to the airport terminal.

While I was waiting for the Avis shuttle bus to take me to the main terminal (so that I could catch another shuttle bus to the hotel), one of the managers came out of the main building to check the car out himself. Finally, as the bus was driving away, I saw them take the Vette back to the cleaning station – and that officially marked the end of my time with that amazing car.

corvette stingray avis rental car

Avis employees gathering around their new toy

While sad to see it go, I was actually slightly relieved to get it off my hands. That Corvette had been a massive attention magnet all week, and it was actually a bit stressful living with it because I knew it drew so much attention. I’ll go into more detail about that in my final wrap-up post, but for now, this cross-country road trip has officially come to an end.

I made it!