Saturday, March 26, 2011

Random Observations on Driving 1500 Miles Round-Trip in a Toyota Camry With Five People

The windmill farms in rural Illinois are hypnotic. Seriously. It is impossible to look away—even as you are swerving into another lane.

The plastic orange lane dividers used to mark construction lanes are actually quite effective. They DO stop a pseudo-conscious driver from swerving into the construction lane as she is dozing off behind the wheel. Do not be alarmed, however. Ruanita apologized profusely and swears to me that she can ”buff it out.”

Any child below the age of ten (especially those of a female persuasion) will have to pee exactly every twenty miles on a road trip.

Upon missing the exit for our hotel and driving a good fifteen miles past it, we paid the great state of Illinois $4 in tolls instead of $2. I expect a thank you note in the mail from Chicago any day now.

The citizenry of Wisconsin had it out for me from the moment I first crossed the state line. They made it nearly impossible to use the cruise control on my car. I would be cruising along just fine at a carefully chosen speed of seven miles over the speed limit (fast enough to get me there quicker than the posted speed limit, but slow enough to hopefully negate a state trooper's desire to chase me), when an upstanding Wisconsinite would swerve in front of me and suddenly—and without any rhyme or reason—slow down to a snail's pace. I would inevitably have to tap my brakes and cease cruising. I blame the rabid governor of Wisconsin. He crushed the unions, and now he has sicked his citizenry on the out-of-state lesbian Democrats trying to cruise through his state.

A married couple stuck in a car for fourteen hours straight together will, without a doubt, rumble. Ruanita and I rarely fight. As a matter of fact, we live a fairly peaceful existence. We may occasionally grouse or grumble at one another, but, for the most part, we get along smashingly. That is, with the exception of road trips. When we are forced into a cramped car together for hours on end, we can get mighty ugly. Suffice it to say that the claws came out....and it was not pretty.

The SEX SUPERSTORE that was advertised on roadside billboards for a good fifty miles was a major let-down. The “superstore” ended up being a nondescript warehouse that was no larger than my living room. Bummer.

The Culver's in the Wisconsin Dells is a rogue restaurant. Unlike every other Culver's in the upper Midwest, the Wisconsin Dells location does not slice their hot dogs prior to grilling them. This maverick hot dog preparation method was apparently offensive to my daughter's sensibilities, and she refused to eat her lunch—resulting in a three-hour narrative of her unfortunate state of starvation from the Wisconsin Dells all the way to Minneapolis.

The 198-foot tall (seriously, I looked it up) white cross erected on the side of the road in Effingham, Illinois is creepy. I have no problem with crosses...or displays of religious fervor, in general. But coming over a dark hill at two o'clock in the morning and catching sight of a ginormous glowing cross directly in front of you is a bit disturbing, to say the least. I wonder how many unsuspecting motorists scream out in fear when that cross suddenly appears in front of them.

Video games are a bad idea on a road trip when a child possesses the Ralph obsessive-compulsive gene. Case in point: Nicholas. In the interest of continuing his Mario game on his Gameboy, he neglected to tell Ruanita and I that he needed to pee. That is, until we stopped at a gas station and walked him to the bathroom before realizing that the entirety of his jogging pants were soaking wet. He had just let loose and filled his underwear, his jogging pants, and his car seat with urine. But...he managed to finish his game.

And finally....on a totally unrelated note....GO BIG BLUE!!


Anonymous said...

Wow-relaxing NOT!!!!

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