. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: Westward, Ho!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Westward, Ho!

I love road trips!

Since I am off for the summer (for the first time in my career), and my boyfriend is off (because he works in I.T. and has been laid off like everyone else in I.T.), we decided to take a mini-vacation to the Grand Canyon since we've never been there before.

We've taken many road trips together and always enjoy ourselves. We blast the iPod (or, in the past, stacks of CD's), eat snacks, stop at interesting places, and chat about random stuff we're too busy to chat about during our regular lives.

The only problem we ever have is returning to California.

It's not that we don't want to come home. We like that part too. It's that Mother Nature always works against us when we head west.

For example, many years ago, we were driving from Washington D.C. back to California and we got stranded in Wyoming in a terrible blizzard…

in June.

Our car was an old beater that he had bought when he got out of the Marines and it had no defroster. No big deal! We live in Southern California. Besides, it's June! Who needs a defroster in June?

I don't need to answer that question for you now.

So we got stuck in some little town that consisted of a Flying J Travel Plaza, a Best Western, one diner, and a billion cows. We became very close to the waitress at that diner as we had to eat three squares a day there for three days while buckets of snow fell, burying our car. On the morning of day four, we were chatting it up with our new waitress friend when she nonchalantly says, "You know, you all are the taulk of taawn. People are waulkin' by yur motel room just to get a look at y'all."

Here's where my being white and him being black becomes an important point. Evidently, they don't take a likin' to our kind in them thar parts.

We dug that hunk of crap car out of the snow with our bare hands and drove straight from Wyoming to Southern California in one shot, defroster be damned.

On another road trip, we got stranded in Tennessee for two days because of tornadoes. Not only were we stuck in a motel room, we had his chain-smoking-ceaselessly-complaining sister with us. Threatening to drive to the next major city, purchase two plane tickets for ourselves, and abandon her to drive home alone got her to stop, but if "pouting" had a sound, she was making it and it was as annoying as listening to her complain.

So back to our mini-vacation to the Grand Canyon. We hit a little rain on the way there, but it was nothing we hadn't faced before.

But when we headed west…

the sky opened up and buckets of rain poured out. Huge drops of rain cracked against the windshield and I could barely see the road. Just as I thought I should pull over and wait it out for a while, it cleared.

Pheewww! The sky remained gray, but the torrential rain had stopped. The air felt thick because it was almost 100 degrees outside, but we were in an air conditioned car (not the same one as the Wyoming debacle), so we were comfy.


"What was that?"

"Must have been a rock."


"Is that HAIL?"

"That can't be hail. It's like 100 degrees outside."


Of course it was hail.

Why were we shocked? We've been in blizzards in June. Hail in 100 degree temperatures in the middle of Arizona during a drought should be an everyday occurrence for us.

After the hail stopped, the torrential rains returned for another 20 minutes.

After the torrential rains stopped, we encountered a dust storm. How all the dirt had not been turned to mud by the rain escapes me, but why do I even ask. We were headed west, right?

Of course, the dust storm was because of the gale-force winds that were blowing the car off the road every 30 seconds.

Just as the weather seemed to clear, traffic came to a complete stop due to an accident caused by the rain-hail-dust-wind storm. As we sat on interstate 40, we got to know our neighbors quite well. People were sharing snacks from their coolers and chatting it up on the side of the road as we waited. If we were there much longer, one guy was prepared to bust out his grill and start making us all hamburgers and hot dogs. After all, it was the Fourth of July!

Once traffic got moving again, we tooled along for a few hours incident-free until we got to the goats.

Yup, goats. A whole herd of them in the middle of the road. Evidently they were trying to cross from one side of the interstate to the other, a straight shot across (if you don't factor in the 85 mph traffic), but they seemed to have gotten lost traveling in a straight line and were now meandering around the 40. Some guy got out of his car and ran at them waving his arms and they all scattered towards the side of the road.

And we were off again. We had our dog with us and she had not peed or pooped since we left the house two days ago. Evidently, taking her to the same spot every day to do her business does have some negative consequences. She took me very seriously about that being "the potty spot" and she wasn't about to go against my wishes despite my pleading with her to go at every rest stop along the way. Our concerns that she just might explode all over the interior of the car caused us to drive 95 mph the remaining weather-free 200 miles of our trip.

We made it home without incident, thankfully, and Mya peed and pooped for like 20 minutes straight. We collapsed in the comfort of our own home and asked ourselves why we don't just fly more often.


Anonymous said...

What a crazy trip. It sounds like you bonded with fellow travelers. I can just imagine the goats charging across the road. I'm sure your dog is happy to be home. I know I always prefer my own bathroom too.:) We are about to embark on a road trip to Florida with the entire family packed into three gas guzzlers. It's about a fifteen hour trip. I do enjoy traveling, but deep down I am a stay at home gal.

Edna Lee said...

I'm like you. While I do enjoy to travel, I do enjoy not traveling as well. I can relate.

Melissa B. said...

Just remember: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature! Hope you had a great trip, & glad you're back, safe & sound. And please don't forget, BTW, that today's Silly Sunday. Sharpen up that sense o' humor, and drop in to see me!