Friday, August 26, 2011

Road Trip, Part I

After mulling the idea over in my mind, I decided to embark on my very first cross-country road trip, driving from South Carolina to Michigan to attend my high school class reunion.   The unveiling of my plan was met with a dull thud.  Nobody except me was at all enchanted by it.  

Everyone in my family knows I don't like to drive and always avoid it whenever possible so, frankly, they all thought this idea was to ridiculous to even entertain.  At first, they tried to talk me out of it.  Then, Jerry actually offered to drive me up himself and just turn around and fly back.  That idea really added to my feelings of self-confidence and competence.

Their truly impressive lack of faith in my abilities fueled my desire to make the trip.  It was like the ultimate double dog dare! While it is true that during my first driver's ed class I drove on a sidewalk for about a third of a block, I did somehow pass the driver's test on my sixteenth birthday and I have held a valid license ever since.  The decision had been made and was is final.

Having thrown caution to the wind and abandoned all good sense and judgment,  I was so excited I couldn't sleep. Instead of leaving at 6:00 am like I'd planned, I left at 3:01, probably not my smartest move.  The first thing I saw as I turned my first corner was what some people might indelicately call a rat, but I prefer to think of as a bunny with a long, hairless tail. I've never seen a rat in the wild before (if you can call my neighborhood "the wild") and it seemed like a bad omen.

My first leg of the journey would be an easy eight hour trip from Charlotte to Cleveland, a straight shot up I-77.  I'm legendary for being a pokey driver, so I decided that this time would be different.  I would use cruise control and program it exactly for the speed limit.  The first hour flew by.  I checked the odometer.  51.6 miles.  I had expected it to be 60 miles so I was a little let down by that.  I rationalized that getting onto the highway was the slowdown.  I would make up for it the rest of the way.

An hour later I stopped at a rest stop.  It was still the dead of the night but the parking lot was full of cars. Nobody was walking around though.  That spooked me.  All the rest stop horror stories I've ever heard flooded into my mind.  I got nervous about getting out of the car.  As time ticked by, I became more nervous about not getting out of the car.  About the time I was getting desperate, another woman showed up, so I zoomed into the bathroom right behind her.  That rest stop break set me back about fifteen minutes. 

Forty-five minutes later, I was getting drowsy.  The more I thought about it, the sleepier I got so I stopped yet again at a rest stop and took a little cat nap that lasted a smidgen over three hours.  When I woke up, I decided that it was the same as if I'd have left at six am.  As an added plus, my snooze had served to break the trip up, so there wasn't so much ahead of me.  Since nobody really knew what time I had left,  I could still wow them by arriving early.  Then I hit Fancy Gap.  And fog.  Driving through the clouds is exciting!  (And slow.) 

After fog came rain, buckets and buckets of rain.  Other drivers stopped by the side of the road, but Mario Zimmerman pressed on and into sunny weather. 

The rest was an easy drive.  I rolled into my daughter's driveway just in time for supper.  Trip time: slightly under fourteen hours.

Take a bow, Chris.  You did it.  TA-DA!!


Anonymous said...

Congrats travel girl! It was good seeing you. Happy trails.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great trip ? From a classmate that didn't get to see you ??

stephanie said...

How exciting for you Chris! I did a 10 hour trip to Tennessee once by myself. Not as much fun as going with Jimmy or a friend. Hope to see you soon. Stephanie

woodenstamp said...

What a woman! Never let them keep you down, never. I hope you will be able to make it back for the next get together and I will be sure to be there.
Trish (Terresa Peck Wood) :)

Mae said...

Terresa Peck... Mae Warren here!! How have you been?? I am on FB and Chris and I are connected. How about you?

Chris, I really enjoyed your blog... you go girl!! Someday, get you road trip together for Chicago and let's do the town!!


Ric said...

Can't wait to read about the return trip!