Mileage

So, as you may have guessed, I survived my trip to drop off Boy.

My condolences to teh interwebz.

I didn’t take a camera with me…that whole taking-photos-while-driving not really being something I’m comfortable with…but as with any good road trip, a bit of a travelogue is fun.  So here goes.  This’ll be long, but it’s fun for me and so I hope for you as well.

Thursday, 5pm:  I arrive home from work.  I contemplate mowing my lawn, as it had been a few days…but it wasn’t too bad, and I had stuff to do.

5:30 pm: I grab the little bit of laundry that was lying around and go downstairs to throw a load in the lwasher.  Boy was completely packed as of Wednesday except he was short some shorts.  (Yuk yuk yuk.)  So I wash ’em up, and some underwear and t-shirts for good measure, and throw them all into his suitcase.

5:45 pm: “Dad!  I just remembered, I have to take a swimsuit to Virginia so I can swim in the pool!”

“You already have your Iron Man and your Batman in your suitcase.  And two of your pool towels.”

“Oh.  [pause a beat]  Cool!”

6:30 pm: Go and grab some pizza for dinner.  And for Dys and I to have leftovers for the next day or so.

7:30 pm: Make sure Boy’s DVD player, Bean camera, and PSP are on their respective chargers.  Idly bitch to Dys in passing that back in the Dark Ages I usually had to make it a whole vacation, including the drive (say 6 hours to Myrtle) on one damned book.

8:00 pm: Convince Boy to start gathering some of his favorite Legos into a plastic tub for the trip.  Meanwhile, I finish packing his suitcase with newly-clean laundry, lay out his clothes for in the morning, and start piling all of his trip stuff into one pile on the couch in the family room.  Said pile:

  1. Suitcase
  2. Tub of Legos
  3. Connect Four game
  4. AC Converter for the car
  5. Our old GPS (that’s for me – I’ll come back to it)
  6. Boy’s hat, sunglasses, and sandals
  7. Bag full of snacks for the car
  8. His T-ball equipment bag, which holds softball gloves belonging to Dys and myself, a couple of T-balls and a softball, and Boy’s T-ball bat
  9. Boy’s glove and ball (he wants his inside the car where he can get to it)
  10. Small bag containing a few favorite stuffed animals
  11. Boy’s in-the-car bag, a denim messenger bag weighing about 40 pounds which includes:
  • His yearbook for this past year in school
  • A yearbook for his new school that he’s using to get to know names and faces
  • Calvin and Hobbes books
  • His Lego catalogs
  • aforementioned electronic goodies, plus their respective chargers
  • DVD’s and PSP games
  • a couple of Matchbox cars for good measure

8:15: Dys finishes up a batch of work and drags Boy outside for his haircut.  She forgets that she normally does a #4 with the clippers on top and ends up giving him a #3 crew cut.  We think it looks great.  Boy is not so convinced.

8:30: Boy is in the shower.  I pull the wheels off of his two Razor scooters – the slightly-too-small replacement wheels we bought for his old red one (to replace the ones he and his friends had ground flat by sliding the rear wheel) are set aside, the ones from his newer blue scooter go onto the red one, and the new wheels Dys bought a week ago go onto the blue.  I fold up the red scooter and chuck it into my trunk for the trip.

9:00: Bedtime for Boy.  I hop downstairs and whip up a quick mp3 disc of  Boy’s favorite music (Motley Crue, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden, Boston, a few other random odds and ends) for the car in the morning.  I play poker on the Xbox for half an hour or so and hit the rack myself.

Saturday, 6:00 am:  My alarm goes off and I hit the shower.

6:30 am: I wake up Boy and go to make him breakfast.  I choke down a protein shake and load up the car.

7:00 am: Dys wakes up to say goodbye to Boy.  I head outside to get the GPS back up to date (we took the batteries out to store it) and have it pick up satellites.  It’s an older model handheld GPS that Dys bought for geocaching, so it’s not all that spiffy in comparison to newer dash-mounted units, but for my purposes it works fine.  Specifically, I sometimes like to use it to check my actual speed, average speed, how long I’m moving vs. stopped, etc. on long trips.  In this case, I’d just gotten new tires since I had cords showing when we went out west, and I wanted to use the GPS to check how accurate my speedo was with the change.  (Answer:  Before, my speedo usually read a little slower than I was going; now it’s pretty much dead on.)

7:15: I call Dys and Boy outside, quickly, and point out to them the four or five broad-winged hawks hanging out in our holly tree in the front yard.  We all ooh and aah appropriately.

7:30: Boy and I hit the head one last time and saddle up.  A quick stop at the corner gas station and we’re on the road.

7:40: I call my mom’s cell phone.  She’s surprised we’re moving this early; she and Dad are on the move but planning to stop for breakfast.  I tell her no problem; we can relax our speed a bit and/or just meet them a bit farther on their side.

7:50: We hit the Interstate.  I pop in Boy’s CD and he is appropriately enthused.

8:45: Boy makes his first pit-stop request, ten minutes after we pass a rest area.

9:15: We pass another rest area – I’m boxed in and can’t get over.  Boy doesn’t even notice, and he hasn’t been asking to stop so clearly he can wait.

9:50: We stop at one of our favorite rest areas, a nice wide one nestled beneath a huge green hillside.  We hit the men’s room, and I detour Boy from his usual trip to the vending machines and head him back to the car.  “But…but…” he says, until I pop the trunk and get my glove out of the equipment bag.  We spend ten or fifteen minutes standing in the shade of the trees at the rest stop, playing catch.  A first for me (as a dad or a kid) and we have a pretty good time.  Then we hit the vending machine for Skittles (for him) a Three Musketeers and a Pepsi (for me), and get back into the car, where I pass Boy a Capri-Sun from his snack bag.  We’re back on the road.

10:40: We cross over into West Virginia.  As per arrangement, I call Mom to let her know and see how far away they are.  (We’re roughly the same driving time away from our respective borders.)  Mom says, “We got slowed down a bit.  Your dad got a ticket just outside [town 75 miles from home].”  “Aw, man, that stinks,” I said.  “Wait … oh, now he’s got a cop behind him again.  I’m gonna have to call you back.  Bye.”

10:50: Mom calls back.  Dad got a warning to go along with his ticket.  In the meantime, my son heard the “Aw man” and had to hear the story.  After replying that he was going to have to teach Granddaddy to obey the speed limit, I reassured him that Granddaddy probably didn’t need a lesson.  Particularly not today.  And after some thought, I also gave him the talk about the speed limit and selective enforcement.  I highlighted this by pointing out that we were going 73 in a 65 and people were whizzing past us with some regularity.  He seemed to get it.

11:40: We’re heading through Charleston, WV.  I call my folks and adjust our meeting point a bit farther toward them, at the lone travel plaza on a stretch of the West Virginia Turnpike between Charleston and Beckley.

11:50: Traffic is a bit heavy at the toll plaza, but I chuck in $1.25 (using one of the John Tyler presidential $1 coins I got as change from the vending machine in Kentucky) and we keep truckin’.  I’m reminded of something I’d always said:  That I’d love it if some racing-game programmers would map the WV Turnpike from Charleston to Beckley and put it on a video game.  2-3 lanes, heavily curved and hilly – tell me that wouldn’t be a blast to scream through in a modded Ferrari on a video game.

12:10: We pass the travel plaza.  It’s on the other side of the interstate, so we have to go past, take the next exit, and turn around.  We start looking for Mom & Dad coming the other way.

12:11: There they are!

12:20: Rendezvous for lunch.  I stand in line an inordinately long time for a crummy Whopper.  (MTAE, no such standard effects for me!)  Boy wants to throw the baseball some more, but there’s no good place here to do it – the whole place is crowded with cars.  Mom makes her customary tour through the gift shop while Dad and I move all Boy’s gear to his car.  I wave goodbye to Boy and they’re off.

12:25: I refuel at the travel plaza.  Amazingly, gas isn’t any more expensive in this captive-audience environment than it was at home, thanks to gas prices jumping $0.29 in a day between Tuesday and Wednesday.  Bastards.  I plug in my iPod, crank up my rough-cut of “Smash the World,” and point ye olde car back East.

1:00: Although I’m ashamed to admit this as a guy, I had to make a bathroom stop not an hour after I left.  D’oh!

1:05: Cruise control on, tunes cranked, nothin’ but highway out ahead of me.  Coolness.

5:00:  I pull back into my driveway.  I left at 7:30 and got back at 5 – hell, pretty much just a workday.  Except more fun.  I was on the road for 8 hours and stopped for 1.5, so I averaged almost exactly 60 mph for the trip.  (70 mph speed limits almost the whole way help.)  Police everywhere but no trouble for me.  Smooches for Dys.  Time for a relaxing weekend.

Advertisements

3 Responses

  1. Sounds like a nice time. Especially playing catch. Cute.

    I think that’s the part I’ll remember the longest.

    Hopefully he will, too.

  2. At first I thought “Wow,” regarding your extreme knowledge about the route of that trip, until I remembered I’m basically the same way about the trip between here and Tampa. I could meet anyone at any rest stop or little gas station without any trouble at all. I’m glad the traffic and/or police gods were on your side.

    Yeah, we’ve been making that trip with some regularity for 7 years. (And some of the route even before then.) It’s not even like the regular Boy Drop-Off with Dys’s folks – there are more choices out there, but there’s also this one perfect spot that’s almost halfway.

    In and around Charleston, WV, not so much. It’s not so friendly in terms of good places to meet and eat that are easy to get to right off the interstate. And seriously, there’s almost nothing on the Turnpike between Charleston and Beckley. (Although it really is a beautiful drive.)

  3. That’s good about the Whopper…the road is not a good place to have one of those incidents…and as far as the rest stops go…our bladders aren’t what they used to be, huh?

    Among other things!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: