We decided to go to St. Louis on a three day weekend for a chance to see my mom and dad. We would drive up on Saturday and back on Monday. It seemed simple enough. It would be me, my honey, my daughter, my grandson, and the two dogs.
Somehow when I see it in writing, it does not sound like such a good idea.
Honey said we would get an early start in the morning. I woke him up and then we all sat and waited for an hour while he piddled around in the bathroom getting ready. Finally, we got suitcases, dogs and other junk packed in the car.
Honey immerged from the house with a steaming mug of hot coffee. I have a sinking feeling we will be stopping at a lot of rest stops.
One of our dogs is optimistic and loves the car. She always thinks we are going to the pet store or the bank drive-through where they give her a dog treat if she stands up in the window and looks cute.
The other dog is pessimistic and always thinks we are going to the vet. He has to be dragged into the car where he hides in the back seat shaking, hoping we will forget him.
The optimistic dog rides on the armrest and tries to drive. She would like to have goggles and a scarf like Snoopy. Her driving, however, mostly consists of stepping on buttons to the power windows and rolling them down while we are going 60 miles per hour.
It is not until we are in the car that I realize I have on a black shirt and will be covered with dog hair before I get there. I look next to me and Honey is wearing a black golf shirt. Who would think two people could be equally stupid?
“Are we there yet?” asks my grandson.
“No, we are still in Tennessee. Oh, wait, ‘Welcome to Kentucky'” and even better — welcome to the first rest stop where we lose 30 minutes while Honey visits with all the other tourists traveling with dogs.
On the road again we head to Paducah. Paducah is notable for many things, I’m sure, but to me it is notable for being about a third of the way there, the largest city we have to go through, and a rest stop that you cannot find. I have tried in the past to look for it but have found only a very popular service station with a long line of people who also can’t find the rest stop.
Fortunately, there is another stop as soon as you cross into Illinois. It is named Fort Massac, which makes me a bit nervous; however, Metropolis, home of Superman is nearby in case of emergency.
After finally leaving the second stop, we reach the end of I-24 and the beginning of I-57, which is 50 miles of road construction and bumper to bumper tractor-trailer trucks. I never like to stop on this stretch due to the traffic. So, what do we do but stop for lunch. After getting off at two wrong exits, we finally find a fast food restaurant and grab a burger.
Back on the road, a construction sign flashes, “Construction starts on June 1st.” We are not sure whether we are supposed to be thankful we missed it or come back later so we don’t.
The rest of the trip is uneventful — unless you considered driving while eating hamburgers and keeping them away from two dogs an event. But we had to keep going to make up for all the time wasted at rest stops.
Nothing like a nice long trip in the car to make you thankful for air travel.