Mom and I have always been a bit droll. You might call it a nervous habit or perhaps a morbid fascination, but we see humor in some of the stupidest things. We have always had the ability to amuse ourselves and each other, so just the thought of driving across country together is enough to make me giggle.
On September 15th we loaded up my car, a Honda Insight, with a few weeks worth of luggage, snacks, gifts for friends and family, my laptop, my 60 pound dog, and all of his food, toys, and bedding and set off for the East Coast. Needless to say, things were a bit snug but no matter. Who wouldn’t enjoy being squished like sardines in a metal can for days on end? It’s prime family bonding time, right?
Of course, if I wrote about all of our month-long adventures, this would turn into a book rather than a blog, so I’ll just hit the highlights.
Traveling through mountains in a hybrid is not for the faint of heart. The car simply cannot maintain adequate speed, especially not loaded down as it was. We stayed in the right-hand lane and sandwiched ourselves between 18-wheelers also struggling to keep up. Thinking about it now, I get the image of a cartoon or caricature with my tiny little vehicle trapped between such behemoths. What makes things more interesting is that I suffer from vertigo and do not appreciate heights, so my view is often limited to the taillights directly in front of me. Mom thinks it is funny to comment on the beauty of the scenery and ask me what I think of the view. It’s a wonder I didn’t drive off the road!
Speaking of driving off the road, we really and truly did come a hairsbreadth away from pulling Thelma and Louise’s final act. With my glasses, I see fine during the day, but my night vision sucks. We intended to stop before dark each day, but the lack of dog-friendly hotels sometimes caused us to forego our own safety. To make matters worse, there was quite a bit of construction taking place along our route. We stopped one night just off the interstate to get gas, afraid what we had left wouldn’t get us to the next actual town and hotel. Because of the construction and near complete darkness, it was difficult to find the entrance ramp. I turned a few feet from the detour sign and thankfully chickened out and slammed on breaks; directly in front of us was a cliff. I had overshot the ramp. Other people might freak out, maybe even scream, but mom and I, once we pulled our hearts out of our lap, could only find it in ourselves to laugh. For the rest of the trip, we would just tease and say, “Let’s not go over a cliff tonight.” (I’m sure my sister is having her own heart attack reading this because we never thought to mention it when we called to say we had stopped for the night. Oops! We didn’t want to worry you.)
This leads me to discuss another night we drove past dark. We could have stopped earlier, but it was lightly raining and since the dog won’t eat or potty in the rain, we decided to keep going until it stopped. Maybe that wasn’t the wisest decision on our parts. When it finally did stop and we reached the next town, it was already around 9pm and we had been driving all day. We were tired and apparently very desperate. We saw a Days Inn and knew they accepted pets, so I went in and got us a room. We won’t be staying there again! In fact, we not so lovingly renamed it the “Bate’s Motel”. The room was as hot as an oven when we entered it and the air conditioner had been unplugged. We simply plugged it back in and figured it would cool down the room by the time we fell asleep. We were wrong. As if roasting wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t our only concern. The dog found “something”, not sure what, to eat ,which prompted us to inspect the room more closely. We found pennies, a dead bug, and an empty cracker wrapper on the floor making us well aware that the housekeeping staff left much to be desired. Our inspection also noted a chunk of the door was missing at the bottom; perhaps Cujo had taken a bite out of it. The room was dark and we could only wonder why. Believe me, we inspected the sheets looking for bed bugs and even checked under the mattresses for Norman Bates, Jason, or any other serial killer who might be hiding there. We would have loved to find someplace, pretty much anyplace, else to stay but neither of us wanted to get back in the car and drive who knows how long in the dark with my crappy night vision. I can’t say we really slept that night. As soon as the sun came up, we were out of there. We didn’t even bother with the free breakfast for fear of what we would find. All we wanted was to get out of Tennessee. Needless to say that when we stopped for the day, we showered before we even sat down. We felt filthy! Maybe things really were crawling all over us, maybe not, but we weren’t taking any chances.
Thank God for our sense of humor! I’m already looking forward to the next trip!