We drove to West Virginia for our first vacation this summer. (And yes, I am just now getting to writing about it.) It was a long drive, but the Oliver was good. The first day is always the hardest. Always. Because it seems like you still have forever to go, and no matter where we're heading it always seems that we must go through Chicago.
For those of you who've never done this before, take it from me. Driving through Chicago at any hour, on any day of the week, is not unlike shanking your way out of a prison fight. Using only a shard of a plastic lunch tray and some elastic from your underwear. In general population. At Pelican Bay. Oh, and also you're missing the use of your right arm and your peripheral vision.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.
Traffic in Chicago always takes on angry mob form; it is always going at least 20 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone; the GPS will always fail you right when you're supposed to make a crucial lane change to take the Indiana skyway.
FACT of LIFE. That's just how Chicago is. Take it from me. But aside from that, the first day's drive was beautiful and uneventful.
Oliver decided that he hated Ramada Inns, and that we should get up at 5AM to hit the road early. It was hard to get up at first, but once we hauled our butts into the car, we lookd on the bright side.
Jared: "Look! A Bright Side! We should be at our destination by 2 in the afternoon!"
Little did we know, we were setting ourselves up for grave disappointment.
Somewhere in the middle of hick country, the gods of construction and crappy driving had a little pow wow and decided to close down like, um, the ONLY ROAD THAT EVER EXISTED IN KENTUCKY.
When we came upon the line of traffic, I looked at my gas gauge and realized... uh oh. We're almost on empty. I spent about 10 minutes waiting at a dead stop in traffic alternating between staring at the fuel gauge and looking up at the back of the semi stopped 2 feet in front of us.
With no progress under our belts, I made the bold decision to off road in the Rav4 and drive across the grassy median to turn around. It was probably the closest I'll ever come to driving Grave Digger, and I'll admit that part was a little fun.
We found a Sheetz station, (Ha! Sheetz! The gas station's name is Sheetz!) filled up our tank, and looked for alternate routes on the ol' TomTom. We were shocked to find that the only route listed that avoided the car wreck added FOUR HOURS onto our drive time.
The choice seemed easy: we'd get back on the road, wait out the traffic from the car wreck, and get to our destination in no time! Surely we couldn't waste more than 4 hours trying to get through that spot, right?
What a stupid thing to think.
By the time we were all said and done with the merging, the detouring, and the trafficking, SIX HOURS WERE SUCKED OUT OF MY BRAIN.
To make matters worse, 8 hours later, we passed a wide load truck on a winding mountain road, and I said to Jared,
"Hey, Jared! Doesn't that truck look familiar?"
"Why yes, yes it does, my darling! Because 8 hours ago it was parked on the side of the road, waiting for the accident to be cleared, unable to take the detour due to its large girth."
Story. Of. My. Life.
As soon as we exited onto the detour, the road was cleared and that behemoth on wheels was able to continue its 70 mph journey east. We were stuck on a rustic backroad going 30mph, breaking for chickens at every turn int he road. True story.
HOWEVER. In an attempt to look on the bright side, I did snap some photos of the grand country estates. (See! Bright Side! I am all about the positive thinking these days!)
I would like to say that the detour was the extent of our roadtrip grief for that day, but I'd be lying to you. And I would never lie to you, would I? Surely not.
But alas, it is late and my finger bones grow weary. I will continue my story another time, and there will be pictures! Stay tuned for West Virginia Part II, Trouble in the Classhole of America. Until then, I leave you with this cliffhanger quiz:
Which of the following did we discover in West Virginia:
A.) A rusted out pickup with shotguns and not one, not two, but 4 hunting dogs barking and peeing in the back.
B.) A gas station attendant who, when asked if there were public restrooms replied, "We ain't got one of them."
C.) A chain of restaurants named Biscuit World advertising, "Want biscuit? We got lots."
D.) A dead polecat (AKA skunk) on the side of the road, being prodded by a barefoot child's stick.
E.) All of the above.