Back in June, I floated a somewhat outrageous idea to Hubby: I wanted to drive the Fruit Loops to Texas to visit my mom in August.
Yes, drive. 1600 miles one way. In a car. With two kids in tow. Alone.
He took one look at me, raised his eyebrow and said, “You’re crazy”.
And, though he wasn’t thrilled with the idea, I started to mull the concept in my head. I mentally planned what I’d need, calculated how long my bladder could go in between bathroom breaks, and figured out just how many Goldfish crackers I’d have to pack to keep the Fruit Loops from staging a mutiny somewhere in Tennessee.
In July, I told my best friend about my plan to cross five different state lines and she looked at me and said, “You cray cray”. She also reminded me that planes had been invented.
And yet, I still forged ahead.
I Google mapped. I hotel reserved. I played Luggage Tetris in my head to figure out if we had the space in my car.
When people would ask us what our travel plans were for the summer and I mentioned my upcoming odyssey, responses ranged from full on laughter to eyes bulging and “Good luck with THAT, Christine”. And there was even one “Aw, bless your heart”. Not going to lie: that one smarted a little.
Finally, a week before my trip, I detailed my plan to my blogger friend, Gavin. His response? “Wait. Solo road trip? To Texas?! Did you lose a bet?”. I quickly reminded him that if I survived this trip, it would greatly improve our chances of getting on our favorite show EVER: The Amazing Race. He quickly changed his tune to one of support (read: stopped saying I was crazy to my face).
However, as my trip neared, it hit me: Hubby, my BFF, my coolest gay blogger friend and most of humanity thought I was nuts. Certifiable. CRAZY to drive across the country on a good old fashioned road trip.
But, they didn’t realize that I had a secret weapon. A special skill set that not many have been able to acquire and one that made me highly qualified to take on this dubious task.
As a kid, I saw all forty eight, contiguous United States BY CAR.
Alllllllllll forty eight of them, my friends, while riding the hump seat in a 1982 Chevy Cavelier Wagon. With two brothers on either side. And a six foot plus father at the wheel. And a mother who was most likely CRAZY for letting her husband talk her into his ridiculous road trip ideas in the passenger seat.
Let that sink in, people.
No iGadgets, no portable DVD players, and five push button radio stations that worked mostly on AM frequency. And questionable air conditioning. The car had roughly the square footage of a Mini Cooper and we trucked that sucker all over the US of A. There were ZERO Goldfish crackers.
And so, when people were blatantly calling me cray cray for even considering taking the Fruit Loops on this adventure, I’d remind myself that I had valuable information from my Time on The Hump as a kid.
I learned that hospitals are available all across the country for stitches (my brother in Anaheim, CA) and pink eye emergencies (me, Eugene, WA).
I knew that it was best to stay away from the St. Louis Arch in a thunderstorm because sometimes, dads (mine) get struck by a little bit of lightning arching off of a puddle (true story).
I was aware that the Emergency Broadcast System really DOES interrupt your radio to tell you tornadoes are one exit ahead of you somewhere in Tennessee.
I learned that five people in a hotel room makes for TIGHT quarters and sometimes, sneaking into the bathroom with a blanket and a pillow made for a better night’s sleep.
I knew that my parents traveled with booze. And a lot of it.
Armed with all of this knowledge and lots of childhood memories, I packed the Fruit Loops into the car and started out on the 24 hour journey to my mom’s. As I pulled away from our house on a darkened Tuesday morning, I silently cursed myself for attempting the madness of road tripping and wondered if everyone was right. Was I crazy?
Turns out, I wasn’t.
I’m happy to report that along the way:
We Mad Libbed.
We turned up the music and belted out tunes.
We admired the beauty of the country we are blessed to call home.
We counted license plates.
We talked about life.
We chastised the 12 year old for his loud farts. And then rolled down every window because OMG, 12 year olds are gross.
We ate more McDonald’s fries than any person should. Ever.
We arm honked truckers and waved when they complied.
We ate cereal in hotel rooms just like I did when I was a kid.
We conquered the entire state of Virginia (seriously, VA: your state takes FOREVER).
We learned the Gangster Museum of America is in Arkansas, of all places (Who knew?).
We made up.
We made memories.
We can’t wait to go on another trip next summer.
And, Gavin? I’m ready to do The Amazing Race with you……but I get to drive, m’kay?
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