Yes, I’m still doing the William Morris challenge, just behind on the actual blogging bit.
Today, for a change of pace I wanted to share a few experiences from my college days. Just for fun.
I have, during the 3.5 years I attended an out of state university, driven cross country 3 times.
The first was not a true cross country as I was at debate camp (I’ll hold and wait for the nerd jokes to be said….) in Arizona and my Dad picked me up there. So much stands out on that trip, like the fact my Dad is constitutionally unable to pass up an antique store. We were barely out of county when I insisted we not stop at yet another store. He drove on, grumpily, before turning around 5 miles later to go back. However, it was not an antique store, just a guy’s house next to the freeway with a lot of junk outside.
That was the trip when we stopped in Oklahoma City to stay with relatives and as I was eaten alive by mosquitoes and experienced the stickiness of humidity that only the Midwest offers, I called home to thank my Mom for raising me in California.
There are more stories from that trip like the America’s Most Wanted hotel, the Catfish Corner, stumbling upon a fresh crime scene and the strip clubs but still this trip is the second best in my experience. It was the summer of between freshman and sophomore year and I now had a car on campus!
The best cross trip experience, sorry Dad, was with my Mom the summer between junior and senior year. I remember waking her up at an ungodly hour somewhere around 4am the morning we left and that we took our first nap in Reno before driving the rest of the day and stopping outside of Salt Lake City. That first night in the hotel we went to the pool and everything was moving even though we’d stopped the car hours before.
Mom and I dropped down into Nebraska and Kansas (my home state) and had a lunch at a diner that served sweet tea and peanut butter ice cream. I sure there was food too but the ice cream stood out. Really, it was vanilla soft serve with a scoop of peanut butter from the can.
Again we stayed with friends in the Midwest, this time in Kansas City and again in Louisville. We saw the St. Louis arch on that drive and then a whole lot of redneck in West Virginia. Even though we drove that 3,000 miles in a car that had a major mechanical problem with the tire I didn’t know about the tire problem for six more months so it was stress free!
Of course, six months after driving all the way to Virginia in a death trap I was coming home to California, this time hauling the car from the first trip one which we refer to as the Frankenstein car.
This time Dad flew out and I picked him up in DC and a few days later we left for California in the Jeep, hauling a trashed Lexus. This was the worst trip of the three.
For starters, as soon as we pulled out of my apartment complex to drop off my key at the lease office it started to rain. Freezing rain which turned into sleet and snow and six hours later, when we finally exited the state, we were driving a whole 40 miles per hour.
I remember that first day Dad would say “I’m going to roll down your window, reach out, grab the moving windshield wiper and snap it to get the ice off. You can do it more than once if you need to.”
Yeah, right. Every time we stopped we’d knock 50 pounds of snow and ice off the car and tow vehicle before it piled back on a few miles later.
In Tennessee, we watched a black Jeep pass us, which wasn’t hard at our speed. Two miles later we slowed even further as the same Jeep was smashed into the ditch to our right, having been plowed down by an on-coming 18 wheeler crossing the median. We passed, ever so slowly and were thankful it had not been us!
The weather got progressively better as we headed west but there was one snafu. See, right before I packed up the last essentials in my apartment I had burned a CD from my friend Melissa: Phantom of the Opera. I was looking for some new music on my iPod and quickly synced my iPod before packing my desktop away in the Jeep. It wasn’t until I was on the road for a day that I realized the sync had wiped all of my music, leaving me with just the Phantom.
And, in a confined space for 5 days following finals with your father, one soundtrack does not a quick time passer make. Dad likes talk radio, sports and oldies. I.. do not. I remember getting him to let me play a CD of mine and when it was over, less than an hour later, he said how much he hated the music as a genre. We didn’t listen to much music after that.
In Texas, we saw a kick-up tornado on the pan handle and the police take down someone from their car in an on-coming lane. The later was more exciting as the police weaved across 4 lanes to slow and stop traffic, approached the vehicle and, guns drawn, yanked the driver onto the pavement.
By the time we were leaving Arizona I was ready to get home so we pushed through the night. Now I’m the one who was always awake with my Dad on car trips but he was dozing off at the wheel. Unfortunately, Dad was so tired of driving that we would stop every few hours so he could “rest his eyes.”
Dad snores so when he napped, I could not. Besides, the parking lot of McDonald’s in Bakersfield at 4am is not a safe, take a nap type place. Dad wasn’t comfortable letting me drive with the trailer hooked up and the Frankenstein car towing behind us so for hours at a time I’d sit in the dark of the Jeep listening to Phantom of the Opera blasting on my iPod to drown out the snoring, bored out of my mind.
You can see why this is the lowest ranked trip I’ve had.
But each time we’d make it to home or school and I’d forget the insanities that had followed. Which is probably why I’m considering making another cross country trip sometime soonish having blocked out the memories which are now 5 years old at the freshest.
So, future Kelly, or anyone attempting to emulate her insanity, I beg of you:
Fly. Don’t drive. In flight you can drink alcohol, mock people’s questionable taste in clothing, watch movies, go more than 40 miles per hour and, this is incredibly important, experience far fewer mosquitoes and strip clubs than on the open road.