I made it back in one piece. Driving cross country by yourself really isn’t that difficult. There are only four roads to take, so getting lost isn’t a problem–even for me! The most challenging thing is finding the will to go on, but when you have a deadline (like interviews and CHRISTMAS), even that’s not hard. It was definitely a lot different than the trip there, but a successful one nonetheless. I regret to inform you that I left my camera in the trunk(ish) somewhere and so have no photo documentation for you this time around. (Tragic!) I tried to paint the pictures with words instead…
2:10AM It’s snowing in Ohio. I drove like a vampire bat out of hell from Colombus to Cleveland. But now it’s snowing and there are no plows out, which means I can only go 50 mph instead of 80. I certainly feel and probably look like a real vampire. I’ve been dipped in the Wendy’s late night fryer: I’m burned out, dirty, and full of disgusting fast junk food. I’ll just stop for the night and recoup.
9:45AM (Ohio Time) FREE CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST Whooohooo!!! Eggs and bagels and sausage and JUICE!! Plus I get a free newspaper!!! I love the Hampton Inn. Having no idea where I put my snow brush, I decide to “borrow” one of the 2000 towels from my bathroom to clean the snow off my car.
Apparently the windshield wiper fluid in Nevada does not contain anti-freeze, because my entire container (under the hood) is frozen solid. I’m forced to fill a sport cap water bottle with wiper fluid and squirt it at the windshield when it’s too dirty to see out of anymore. The towel I stole earlier is coming in handy now, because the wind blows most of the wiper fluid back into my face. It’s really a nice system. hahaha! This is so ridiculous! At least I’m providing some entertainment for the other drivers. So not safe though. Oh well, only three more hours and I’m home!!
1:30AM (Am I in Kansas or Minnesota?) Stop at Wendy’s for dinner and am approached by weirdo guy who spent the last 10 minutes staring intensely at a Christmas tree. The nice and normal-seeming guy sitting at the table next to me asks if I would like to join him (because obviously this other guy is extremely strange). I decline and decide to just leave and eat in the car. The nice guy asks if I would like him to walk me out. I don’t see the weirdo anywhere and decide to just make a run for it, in case both of them are strange birds. There are so many trucks on these roads.
5:00AM (Missouri Time)Stop in Rollo, MO (right outside of St. Louis) to sleep.
High Noon (Missouri Time) Guess what I’m doing? Did you say “driving”? You win!! BINGO!
1:45PM Cross the Mississippi River
5:44PM Where the heck is Indianapolis?! Stop for a nap in McDonald’s parking lot.
8:31PM Six to Ten at night are my worst hours, I always just want to go to sleep and never wake up. I take another cat in the hat nap (so named because I pull my hat over my face and sleep like a cat for 20 minutes) and wake up in another time zone. How does that happen? Did I sleep for twenty minutes or an hour and twenty minutes? I still don’t know…I feel like my eyes are about to pop out of my head: they’re bloodshot and barely open.
Indianapolis no longer seems like a good place to stop (I want to be HOME already!) I’ll just push on to Cleveland…
4:30AM (New Mexico Time) I just got pulled over. Do you believe this?! Who pulls people over at this hour of the morning?! Apparently the light on my rear licensce plate is out. HEAVEN FORBID! I think the world may end because the 2 watt light on my plate is not functioning. Give me a break, dude! No ticket, just a suggestion to purchase a new light ASAP. Thanks, but I’m only going to be in your state for another hour. Freaking Amarillo feels like 8 million miles away!!!!!
9:00 AM (Texas Time) The sunrise was so beautiful this morning–all purple and clouds. I just passed a field of cows in which Denny’s had placed menu advertisements. Big signs like “Tuna Melts” “Breakfast All Day” and “Seven Varieties of Soda Pop” were scattered amongst the steer. However there was also one sign–which most of the bovines were standing around– that read “Beef Brisket”. Hahaha! That’s not very nice though. I wish I could find my camera. Fifteen hours of driving and two time zones later I arrive and check into the Best Western (a rather sketch one) at 8:45AM. All I have to say is housekeeping better not wake me up.
Who installed the shower head 5 feet off the ground. Are they hoping all their patrons are going to be elves or what?! HELLO!
3:30PM On the road again…
7:20PM (Still in Texas) Stop in Shamrock, TX. The McDonald’s there has a sink in the shape of Texas! I find my Enya CD (great, that will keep me alert! Hahah. Not so much). But I’m relieved because I’ve been listening to the country channel (every channel is a country channel in TX) for the last several hours and am starting to have a crush on Randy Travis. He has a pretty sexy voice, and I like that he uses words like LONESOME and WHIPPOORWHILL. I’m driving farther than a whippoorwhill’s song tonight. Ben just called!! Highlight of the day so far! There are lots of windmills here. Maybe St. Louis or Indianapolis tonight?
Driving on through the night…
Here are some excerpts from my travel diary. I began talking to myself incessantly while working the night shift alone. I do that a lot now, and these entries suggest that I may need to curtail that habit (at least in public…).
3:30PM (Vegas Time) It took me SOOOO long to leave Vegas! I’ve been listening to the CDs that Andy and Drew from Garde Manger made me (The Band, Ya Lo Tengo, George Isaacs, etc.–Thanks guys!!!).
The police officer at the Hoover Dam checkpoint warned me to slow down in a thick Brooklyn accent. What an idiot: “Where you headed?” “New York” “We have speed limits here in Arizona too, little lady, so you might want to pay a little more attention to them. Wouldn’t want you–especially being from NY–to get a ticket.” Dude, get a life, I was only going 25 in a 15mph.
Writing this entry from a Wendy’s dining room table in Arizona…
Around 5:30PM (Arizona Time) I stop in Kingman, AZ for dinner at Wendy’s. I have a Mandarin Orange Salad, a rootbeer and a small Frosty (I LOVE FROSTYS). Misty, the cashier in training is so freaking slow. This salad has an extremely low eatability factor. It’s taking me ten minutes to assemble the stupid thing! In the process, I’ve managed to spill salad all over the table; Oh dear. I should have ordered something warm–everything is cold and crunchy (I’m really into crunchy noodles lately…).
I have no idea where anything is in my car and I still CANNOT believe that I’m leaving Las Vegas. (Mmmm, I love frostys. Wendy’s salads I can live without, but frostys–oh baby.)
My phone battery is pretty much dead. Why haven’t I invested in a car charger by now?
I’ve only been driving for two hours and am already bored and tired. HELLO: YOU HAVE 38 MORE HOURS TO GO, WAKE UP GIRLFRIEND! This salad really sucks. I should have gotten a baked potato. There’s enough freaking iceburg in here to feed a family of rabbits for a year. I wonder how far I’ll get tonight. I wonder where I’ll be sleeping for the next three days? HA! (It’s taking forever to eat this frosty, and I’m getting a cold headache. I think I’ll just leave this impure refuse for the rats.)
Time to get back on the road. It’s already pitch black outside. Good thing I’m staying on the same road for the next 1012 miles!!! HA!! Flagstaff here I come!
Let’s go Beatrice! (Beatrice is my car).
10:00 PM (I think I’m in New Mexico…) Been stopping every two hours so as not to fall asleep too much. But two large pops and an energy drink later my eyes are still droopy. Decide to stop for one more red bull and some more gasoline. Whoa. Talk about kick start your heart (try one of these babies, Chef Kipp!). Am I having a heart attack? I still haven’t found the rest of my CDs and so am relying on those from the garde manger boys and an Hispanic mix CD that Ruben gave me. At this point I don’t really feel like finding a hotel. Maybe I’ll just sleep in the car. Amarillo is the goal for tonight, but I may only make it a little past Albequerque…we’ll see.
Packing is just the worst. I definitely prefer unpacking. Friend and fellow co-worker Ben and I spent all Thursday loading up Beatrice. And she was loaded, let me tell you.
But let’s back up a little. I was supposed to leave on Wednesday, the 15th, but delayed my trip and went to the company Christmas party instead. Definitely a good move– I mean it’s not every day you get to see Thomas Keller dancing to Funky Cold Medina (lyrics listen ). I even won $50 in movie tickets (which I spread among my friends not fortunate enough to be leaving Sin City). With the free drinks, food, friends, dancing, prizes and whatnot, I do believe a good time was had by all. SO good a time, in fact, that it was necessary to delay departure for a … few days.