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Friday, November 1, 2013

Yet another road trip from hell begins!

(Note: The actual dates for this trip were October 2 - 30, 2013)

Last April we went up to the Panhandle for three weeks. After we got home, Joyce said she really wanted to do a Fall leaf peep, so we began very slowly planning for that, and in the intervening 18 months or so, we only went away for a couple of weekends, in order to pay for this month-long extravaganza. In addition, it’s good to remember we haven’t gone on any road trips since 2009 because, in my opinion, that was a disaster. It had its bright moments, but not enough to balance the anger, frustration and exhaustion. Joyce said we would never go as long as seven weeks again. So that’s how we chose Pennsylvania; a week up, two weeks in two different locations, and a week back.

So, fine. Eventually the day rolls around, which was yesterday, and I am in a terrible depression, remembering the last time. I’m sure we’ll never get ready, and I’m sure even if we do, it’s gonna be a disaster. I had to be dragged, almost kicking and screaming, to the van. I am thinking I would rather have a colonoscopy, go shopping for clothes, or go to jail. But nothing of the sort intervened, and we set out for Macon, which is as far as we can make it in a day with three dogs, small bladders, and one person who hates driving, but hates riding even worse. On the way we saw a giant cow, but not much else. When you live in central Florida, you drive a full day before getting to see anything you haven’t seen before. I am sure the cow was new. It was very shiny.

Note how out of focus it is. That gets better in later pictures.

One thing worth mentioning happened while we were still in Florida, We stopped at McDonalds’ for coffee, to walk the dogs, to walk ourselves, and to change drivers. We take turns going in while the other minds the dogs. The dog walk area was sort of marshy and I suddenly found my legs covered with mosquitoes. I brushed some off and killed the rest while walking away, but they persisted. I can’t get the dogs into their carriers without help (two go in one and that requires four hands) so I piled all three dogs in the passenger seat, ran around and jumped in the driver’s side and turned the air on. But wait! Ollie had made a deposit and I couldn’t bring the shitbag in with me, so I threw it on the roof. Joyce came out, found us all crammed in front, and helped me untangle and reload. Then we cleverly drove off with the shitbag still on the roof. Luckily I remembered it before we got out of the lot, so we stopped for Joyce to retrieve it and throw it away.

Last road trip, one of the worst things was all the hauling of dogs, luggage and miscellaneous crap. So we decided this time we would stay only in hotels where you drive right up to the door of your room. These used to be called “motels” but have gone out of style and favor because everyone but us seems to want inside entry for security. We bring our own security, and there’s no other chain we know of that has this feature plus free pets but Red Roof Inn. So way back when, I made all the reservations for the trip north at these places, but not for coming back, because we just didn’t know how long it would take, In Pennsylvania, we rented a couple of houses, but that’s not important right now. What matters is, Red Roof Inn is not a top of the line, or even a middle of the line, chain because of, for starters, these convenient entrances. As Joyce has observed, if you want this layout, you give up everything else.

See, I thought it would be basics. I didn’t think it would make jail look good (Yes, I’ve been so I have the creds to talk about jail all I want. Had the colonoscopy and the clothes shopping, too.) But no. It was more like, “Bring your own basics. We will provide a smoke-scented (marked “Non-smoking”) empty room and bath. Ya’ll have a good time, now!” You know Murphy’s Law, right, where anything that can go wrong, will? Well, what about when even things that can’t happen go wrong? So now maybe you’re getting the picture.

Red Roof Inn has a rule (I know: for whom? Why bother?) that dogs may not be left unattended. This is part of the trade-off for free pets. Fine, so that means delivery or take-out, no eating in restaurants. Now, wouldn’t it be good idea to have a list of restaurants that deliver in a place like that? That would be considered frill by Red Roof, I assure you. Luckily, there was a young woman who knew the number for Papa John’s. This poor woman was apparently the only living human working there. If you needed something, she did it. She gave us the air freshener that Joyce used to make my room habitable by bedtime. I think she may also run the local volunteer fire department. So dinner was pizza, and that was okay with all of us. And before I quit for the night, a day late, let me just say we have since discovered that the Macon Red Roof was a “deluxe” accommodation by their standards. Given what we know now, we would actually return there. But I don’t want to reveal everything at once. It’s more fun if the suspense builds. Note: The driver’s side window won’t roll down anymore, and I broke my watchband.

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