Vacations end. There’s a time to go home.
We drove to St. Louis at the end of the summer. It was a trip
of 900 miles or so. My husband, O’Half,
likes loves a long car
ride. I like a short flight!
It’s not just that we get in the car and go! There is a journal to
be kept before startup. The time, temperature, weather and mileage
are duly recorded at the beginning of the trip and HOURLY. Weather
descriptions can be drawn from sunny, overcast, partly sunny, partly
cloudy, some sun, hazy sun, cloudy, spitting, rainy, snow, foggy, etc.
I hate to tell you that even when we pull in to a service area for lunch
or to fill the tank or whatever, the mileage is recorded, the time (thank
goodness temperature and weather conditions are not noted then).
And so we leave St. Louis to come home:
8:30 a.m. 82 degrees sunny 100153 miles on odometer
The journal keeping is the job of the passenger–along with watching
road signs and so forth. Oh, yes! when a new state is entered, the event
is recorded. Needless to say, we try to find all 50 state license plates
along the way and record them.
The driver is the driver. When I’m the driver, that’s all I do. I drive.
When O’Half is the driver, it’s another story! First there is the pipe to
be lighted. This requires two hands, so the steering wheel is held by
his knee. Then, with pipe lit, he has to return his lighter to its narrow
little slot in the dashboard thing—the storage area between us. And
that’s difficult, so I worry while he spends his eyes on getting THAT
back in place.
The GPS is a constant source of distraction to him and he looks over
at that at every chance—-are we on the purple road, how many minutes/
miles til we get home . . .even though I could just read that to him.
I really draw the line when he takes out the road map to look at while
driving and grab it away. He retaliates by washing the windshield
vigorously and then the back window, too. Not being able to look at the
road map, he reaches backwards into the box behind us to get the AAA
triptik that he got before we left. Have you seen those?
They are arranged by the American Automobile Association if you go
into the office and tell them where you want to go. Then they create this
elaborate map, page by page, which is very difficult for me to follow
because it goes from right to left! And I picture us going left to right!
And because it’s so detailed, you have to kind of know that Bentonville
is in Indiana or Illinois or Ohio to find out where you are—-well, just
take my word for it, it’s confusing.
Time to put the pipe away—looking over away from the road to put
pipe away. Raise window. Then, lower window again, raise, lower,
until just right. Tap, tap, tap. Then adjusts the air conditioner–
dashboard air, or floor—little warmer? cooler?
“What’s that growing?” he asks. We’ve passed about three states worth
of corn growing tall in the fields—miles and miles of it! And now there
is a green leafy something in the fields. He’s looking, studying what that
Ah! new state! I record mileage, info, and now he’s fooling with his
watch because we’ve crossed a time zone! Always something on these
exciting cross-country trips.
His phone rings—-digs for it in his pocket, hands it to me and I talk
to the caller explaining that O’Half is driving . . . To his credit, he
doesn’t talk on the phone while driving.
Reaches over to pat my knee. Turns to the radio and plays with the
buttons—–difficult to find something. Adjust the A/C again.
I’ve heard that some people READ when they’re riding along, not
driving. But I always feel like I’d better keep an eye on the road.
(One of us should.)
We pass many pleasant little farms between Pennsylvania and
Missouri—they look like the little farm sets we used to receive
at Christmas when we were little: clean white fences, red barns
with silos and cows standing around.
But there are also “falling rocks” and leaping deer signs as
road warnings. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about.
Still we get home safely, and getting home is the best part of
a vacation after all.