“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!”
“Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!
From next to me I hear, “Mom, make it stop!”
That was our wake up alarm sound we set on J’s cell phone’s alarm clock. We had set the night before to make sure we didn’t oversleep. The dead couldn’t oversleep to that!
Welcome to Youngstown!
Get kid up and in the bathroom, while I fumble for the dog’s leash and take her for morning walk. Come back from poopie patrol, and get kid in gear getting dressed and his stuff repacked, while J had her turn in the bathroom. Then my turn to shower, dress and repack bags, dump dog’s water dish, and grab dog bed and armful of bags. Off to car trunk for repacking session.
This would become daily morning drill for 5 more days, not because it was such a winner, but because it worked. Anything that works on the road, you stick with. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, as there are more pressing issues just around the bend at any moment.
How do I know this? I know this because my mother spent the weeks leading up to our road trip calling me each day to give me another “on the road” just in case tip.
Make sure you bring flashlights. Really Mom, why? Well, you never know if you will wind up pulling over someplace dark. You are travelling through the Midwest & Rockies during thunderstorm season, you don’t know if the hotel will lose power. Ok, had to give her that one, flashlights, check!
Make sure you bring a fresh roll of duct tape and some scissors. Huh? Ok Mom, really, what in the world would I need that for? Well, in case you blow a hose on the road, you can fix it with the duct tape and keep on driving until it is safe to have it repaired. Smart thinking Mom, duct tape and scissors, check!
You know you will be out in the middle of nowhere for a good part of the trip. You should bring bug spray. Yep, cans of bug spray, check!
Glow in the dark sticks, rolls of paper towels (in case dog who gets car sick, does), zip lock bags of a week’s worth of dog food, dog treats, dog water bowl, dog food bowl, snacks for humans while on the road and not wanting to spend extra money. Extra plastic shopping bags for poop patrol, I pick up after my dog even if we are in the middle of nowhere. One whole bag of nothing but toiletries, prescription medication, over the counter medication, and first aid supplies. Three duffel bags, my laptop, a bag of towels, and two blow up beds sans air flattened to their limits. One of those space bags with two sets of bedding including pillows just to round out the mix.
All these things were packed in my trunk when we left Virginia.
Some of those things got taken out in Youngstown in the dead of night. It was now my task to get them all back in the way they had been so the trunk closed tight enough to NOT see my belongings trailing out behind me should we hit a bump in the road. Thank goodness the dog’s bed, the small cooler and all the kid’s toys were in the back seat. Not to mention J’s laptop, our purses and camera bags or I would never have had a sucker’s chance.
So you are still wondering, how did you get it all repacked? Well, sometimes the only way to make something fit the way it had been is to go back to the beginning. One by one, everything back out of the trunk and laid out in the parking lot. To passersby, it must have seemed chaotic, but in chaos there is beauty. At least that is what I said silently to myself as I rearranged the bags of stuff.
It was at moment I remembered George Carlin’s routine about stuff. Tempted as I was, I couldn’t leave any of it on the side of the road, what if my mother was right and I needed something? So repacking commenced. Trunk done, humans and canine in the car, car to gas station for the day’s first fill up. Goodbye Youngstown.
It had been our intention to make time that day and get to Rockford, IL and the pre-booked hotel room before sunset. In other words, J drove. She has two brothers in law enforcement and a gold shield card in her wallet. For those who don’t know, this is a get out of jail free card for the holder, provided you don’t actually kill anyone. Funny how that gives you a false sense of invulnerability.
Somewhere past Sandusky, going along at our own merry pace, we are spotted. Jeannie being the skilled speedster she is, eases off the gas, doesn’t hit the brake and keeps with the rest of the traffic stream. I pull down the passenger side visor to open the mirror so I can scope out the rear view.
On a bright sunny day, those cherry-tops don’t seem as bright.
Problem? No problem, J is carrying the magic card. Kid in back seat starts to scream, “Oh man it’s the cops! Is he going to arrest us?”
I’m calming the kid down now, telling him that they aren’t going to arrest us, but please keep quiet when he comes to the car. Poor kid usually gets driven around by me, the original grandma behind the wheel when he is in the car so he has never been through a traffic stop. Check off the first new sight I got to show him on his summer adventure.
Now it is a matter of some confusion as to how fast we were actually going. The Ohio state trooper who was kind enough to make our hum drum morning more exciting gave us an approximate. “Did you know I clocked you at 85 or 86 miles per hour ma’am?”
Well, which was it? If you aren’t sure, how can you give us a ticket? Doesn’t your little machine read out how fast the poor son of a bitch was doing when totally screwed up his day? These are all valid questions and all being asked of the trooper, in our minds. Do you think us as stupid as we look?
He asks for the requisite paperwork, some of which I provide since it was my car, and some of which Mario Andretti hands over, the gold shield card being part of her stack. He looks at my registration and insurance card, all good. He looks at her license, over to her, makes sure it is her, moves on to her get out of jail free card. He takes one glance at the card, hands it back in to me and proclaims with a snort, “I don’t need that!”
As the trooper is walking back to his car, the stream of expletives that comes from the driver’s seat of my car was one for the books. I wish I had the forethought to use the voice recorder on my phone. True to the story of my life, day late, dollar short, I did not. Thankfully it didn’t take trooper Bob too long to check that my car was in fact, my car, that J wasn’t a criminal evading the law, and let us go on our merry way.
Thankfully it wasn’t long before we could say, “Goodbye Ohio, Hello Indiana!”
Half hour in to Indiana, we see Harley Davidson signs for Sturgis, MI. We remembered hearing it was bike week somewhere but for the life of us, couldn’t figure out why we didn’t see any. Yeah, well we aren’t the brightest of gals when it comes to biker smarts and knowing our Sturgis’. More on that another day.
Indiana is thankfully uneventful, as is our entry into Illinois. Somehow we missed the Welcome to Illinois sign, but caught the Chicago sign.
All along our trip to this point, our dear old friend Dunkin’ Donuts has been our companion. Anytime we have needed a cup of liquid energy, it has been there, waiting patiently to obey our command. As we enter the skyway into Chicago proper, we see a Dunkin’ Donuts too late to make the stop for a cup of refreshment. One of us comments, no worries, we will stop at the next one.
That was the last Dunkin’ Donuts we saw for the rest of the trip.
We were in bumper to bumper all the way through Chicago, but it allowed us time to take pictures of New Comiskey Park and the Sears Tower. The rest of the day was thankfully uneventful all the way to Rockford.
Red Roof Inn check-in, walk the dog, unpack the trunk again, dinner and a quiet night. All was right with our adventuresome quartet. Don’t forget to set the alarm; we have some meandering to do. Cheese heads, Land-O-Lakes and South Dakota (better known as the first state on the trip with no AT&T cell service) wait on the morrow.