If I told you that much more happened on this road trip, I would be doing you a disservice and lying to you. First of all, before we arrived in Atlanta, our main goal was to turn in all of my Visa forms for my study abroad trip to Belgium in the fall. We found out that we were missing a few pieces and we couldn't really even turn in the forms unless it was an emergency or I needed to be in Belgium as soon as possible.
When we got to Atlanta late in the evening, my mom and I went out for a meal and just went to sleep. We were beat, and couldn't stand to do much of anything except crawl under blankets and lay our heads on pillow and doze off.
If I recall correctly, the World Cup started the next day (or the day before when we arrived), so I stayed in the hotel and watched all of the games. My fascination with football (soccer, whatever, I'm worldly) came in the past few years and it never occurred to me how diplomatic the sport is. Sure, to a lot of people, it is a boring 90 minutes without much action, especially in the United States, but the sport defines how many societies in Europe and South America function on a day-to-day basis. Germany and Argentina are still riding on their country's best coming away with a victory, while Brazil will never forget and still breathes the sport and eats it for every meal. Since being home for the summer, I've watched almost every game in its entirety and I'm glad I dedicated a lot of my time to this World Cup as it has been action-packed and filled with excitement.
Finally, we drove back home to Raleigh for six hours and the environment became more and more "familiar", but what I came to realize is that highway roads appear similar across much of the U.S. give or take the prevalence of trees and some elevation. The point is, that you never really know what to expect, should you decide to exit. If you came to North Carolina and just drove by the exits where we would typically get off, unless you knew about the area, you couldn't really assume what was there. I wouldn't exit off of 266 for Chapel Hill/Carrboro unless I knew definitively that three miles down the road was the University of North Carolina. Same goes for Exit 270 Durham/Chapel Hill: Drive one way, you arrive at Duke, the other UNC. Further down the road, Raleigh, NC State, the capital of North Carolina, etc.
The same applies all across the United States. Exits must be there for a reason, or else no one would exit. Something lies far along these roads, but if you drive past them, you'll never find out. This road trip encouraged me further to give exploring a try and not just assuming details about a given area.