Friday, August 14, 2009

My Crazy Road Trip

I've been having a hard time trying to figure out how to describe my trip. I want to use a word like "transcendent" but it seems like a foofy word. I did look it up however and it pretty much describes what I'm trying to say. I just don't like using foofy words. And Jazz hates the word "awesome" but at least it doesn't sound foofy. And don't even ask me what foofy means.
My Daughter and I left just after noon on Wednesday the 5th. (I'm just going to refer to her as MD from now on to save my two fingers a little wear.) We took 121 out of the metroplex to avoid Dallas because anyone with half a brain, which is about what I have, does not want to drive through Dallas. We were all giddy and excited which everyone is on the first day of a road trip and had an easy trip to Memphis even though it was quite a drive - around 440 miles. I did see two deer down in a valley off of the freeway at one point and that was cool. I don't remember what time we got to Memphis because I've never been a clock watcher type of person but I would guess it was around 9:00 pm give or take an hour either way.
We had a lot of energy after checking into our hotel so we went out to party on Beale Street:
I think I actually took that picture the second night. That little light in the center is the full moon. I was right and it was quite similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans except the streets were wider and the bars were larger. It was like Bourbon Street super-sized with different music. The next day we were going to walk over to the park on the Mississippi river but it was too hot and muggy. We walked just far enough to see the river, proclaimed, "There it is!" and headed back to Beale Street for more beer.
Since we'd had a good party night Wednesday night, we didn't feel the need to repeat it and got to bed at a decent time Thursday night. We actually made it out before check-out time on Friday by a few minutes which is a big deal for me. Friday was not so good, roadwise.
After a few hours, traffic came to a dead halt and I'm nervous about being crushed from behind by a semi after what happened to Magazine Man's parents and had also happened recently in my area so I was craned backwards for a while ready to jump out of the car. MD had to P while we were stuck in that so it was quite tense for a while but at least we were slowly crawling forward. We finally got around a jack-knifed 18-wheeler and were okay but it wasn't fun or anything. Then a few hours after that we were blocked again and finally figured out that we were in Friday night weekend traffic for Dollywood. That was horrible. Oh and some time that afternoon the bathrooms had turned really bad. We both decided we would never go to Tennessee again by choice. When we finally reached the Tennessee/North Carolina border mountain pass it was very dark. MD was really a trouper. If you've ever driven Interstate 40 through that mountain pass you know how crazy it is. She was on high alert as we went through crazy twist after crazy turn. It was like a rollercoaster. But not fun.
When we had to leave the interstate to head north up to the Pisgah National Forest where Mom was, it got worse. I had to call Mom about 10 times and MD kept getting irritated. At the end as we were slowly creeping up a gravel road and saw my step-dad at the end of their driveway, we had never been so happy to see him in our lives. It was around midnight.
We did not visit very long and all went to bed and by the time I woke up my brother and nephew were already there. I woke up when I heard my brother's voice asking about snoring. I thought he had heard me snoring but found out later he was making a joke. But I DO snore.
Here are the pictures we took before they left on Sunday:

Except for riding with my brother to the store on Sunday morning, I never left Mom's mountain place. It was such a beautiful place. They have hummingbird feeders and and birdseed out to attract all sorts of critters. I could do a whole story on the hummingbirds and the crazy cardinal, but I want to tell about the family.
I have always had a special bond with my brother's oldest child, but have never really gotten to know the youngest boy that I will call AC. Well, now I have. I had such a great time connecting with AC. I would have to say that except for the special bonding with MD during the drive, the next best part was getting to know AC. We are A LOT alike. That Saturday night we played the game Cranium. I partnered with AC and MD partnered with my brother. We had a blast! Playing Cranium that night was really the highlight of the trip for me. Later that night AC went out to look at the stars. I followed him out and we discussed astronomy. I told him that I had brought my planisphere and he was quite impressed. He also has one. Then he said, "Well, we really need a compass." I said, "I brought one!" I bet he was surprised.
On Sunday after a group breakfast, MD, AC and step-dad went to Mt. Mitchell State Park. My brother, Mom and I got to spend the day together, which was very nice. They left in the early evening and after dinner, Mom and I played Scrabble.
Monday we decided we did NOT want to drive back through Tennessee. We started out on 80 south to hit the Blue Ridge Parkway. We were having a great time until we started down 411. That was mistake. If we had known, we would have gone to 75. But we didn't. After creeping down that road for freaking ever, we finally bought a map and discovered we could cut over to 75 and hit Birmingham to 20. We made it past Birmingham and went through to Tuscaloosa where we spent the night at a RATmada Inn. It was icky to say the least.
On Tuesday we drove down to beautiful Vicksburg. We had planned to do some sightseeing there but it was hot and muggy so we left early. But they had a nice bar. A few hours down the road we hit hell. When we got to Monroe, Louisiana we came to a dead stop. I did my truck watch again, prepared to jump and run. But this was worse. There was no moving at all.
I feel bad complaining about it as I was not the dead guy, but it really sucked. MD who had been the awesomest driver trouper person ever up until this time, became slightly unhinged. The only time traffic moved was when some brave (crazy?) soul drove down through the median and turned around to head back the other way. MD finally got the idea we could make it across the median and make it to the exit ramp on the other side. And that's what we did. It was scary crossing the median as it had quite a dip and we had to cross the highway on the other side, but we made it. When we went down that exit ramp, we crossed back over the highway to the mall/shopping center on the other side and went into a restauarant to get directions out of there from the locals.
Up until that stop, MD had been undecided about spending the night in Shreveport or going on home, but after that, she was ready to settle for the night. I called My Sweetie and asked him where we should stay and he looked it up and told us Diamond Jacks. It was the best hotel room we had had. Even better than our fancy Westin in Memphis and only cost us $69. We had some steam to blow off and that was the place to do it. We had a fun party night and woke up the next day and made it home in about 4 hours.
The really best part of the trip was all of the time with my daughter. We had a LOT of laughs and made great memories and oh yeah, I had some collards:


Jazz said...

Cool! I love road trips...

Next post: the story of the hummers and the crazy cardinal.

Mr. Jazz said...

Lovely trip it seems amidst the inevitable turmoils that highway traffic brings. Semi: better ahead of you (even jacknifed) than behind. When Jazz & I drove from Montreal to Tucson (the mother of all road trips), we were on the opposite side of a horrible accident scene (t'was in Iowa I think) so we were not affected by it like AD & you. Straight road, a mini-van alone and upside down (...), luggage & personal items scattered all over the road. On a beautiful sunny day no less. The driver must have fallen asleep or "something". A mile or two further was where the "barricade" was set up and had the cars exiting to take a detour. From that point, it was a steady jam for several miles. We were really lucky that day but it felt creepy for a while, given the accident scene we had seen.

Transcendent is the perfect word to describe your journey and nevermind what Jazz thinks of foofyness. Coach was foofy, not you. I'm going to Beale street someday, that's for sure. Great to have you back Geewits. Mucho hugs and a big big "cheers" in your honour will take place tonite @ ze Kotaj.

XUP said...

Well, it sounds like most road trips -- some good some not so good. The main thing is you shared it with someone very important. I hope my daughter and I can still do stuff like that when she's older. Welcome back!

VioletSky said...

Am glad you and your daughter are still speaking after the stresses of unfamiliar highway driving! What is a road trip without a few road related delays?

Good tohave back, foofiness and all.

Jocelyn said...

The traffic sounds a horror...but beer and collards and daughter and Cranium? A dream.

geewits said...

~~That would probably only appeal to you and Naomi as you are both bird lovers. But that cardinal was really funny.

Mr. Jazz,
~~My daughter did once ask, "Did you see all those clothes we just passed?" But in that case, I think someone's suitcase had blown off the top of their car. Beale Street was fun but don't plan on a long stay unless you plan on doing something else there like Graceland which is pretty close if you like that sort of thing. I hope you had a great cottage weekend!

~~Yes, that really was the thing - spending all that time with my daughter. I guess it's not that common for her age (just days away from 25).

~~Thanks. Actually it was all way better than expected.

~~It really was.

Carole said...

So glad you had such a great trip! I love the pictures you posted, and it looks so beautiful there.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

The trip sounds like it was really GRAT, except for all the horrendous traffic situations---I guess traffic is horrible everywhere these days....I know it is here....
But how great you got to spend such a lot of guality time with your daughter....and that you had so much fun with her "Partying"....!LOL!

geewits said...

~~It really was pretty almost everywhere after we left Texas! :)

~~The time with my daughter was really the main event. It was great, even in the worst of times.

Scarlet said...

Collards and beer...that's a funny photo!

I love your family shots and you in your PEACE shirt looking all cozy with everyone. Cool how you bonded with AC, but even more cool how you bonded with your daughter. I can't wait for moments like that with mine. :)

I'm glad you had a fun trip!

geewits said...

~~You will get those moments with your daughter as a young woman. And I can't wait to read about it!