What the fuck was I thinking?!? I must’ve been out of my damned mind.
When I was single and had the world by the balls, disposable income as well as disposable time I would take road-trips for my sanity breaks. I’d hop in my car and scoot. I’d go to the mountains, to the coast, the swamp, just about anywhere. I’d usually just take off by myself and my dog of course along with a total buttload of music to keep my head clear while I was driving. By the time I’d get back I was as relaxed as if I’d had a week off.
One long July 4th weekend after work me and a buddy (Joe) from work was at the pub having a few beers when I started detailling the roadtrips that I had taken. After several beers each we shared an epiphany, “It’s Friday night. It’s a three day weekend. We need to road-load, NOW! RIGHT NOW!!!”. We leave the bar in my 1986 Mazda RX-7, go by the local BP buy a case of beer and fill-up the tank.
“Which way?” Joe ask. “Let’s go west.” I say, so we crank-up and head on our merry way.
Keep in mind that we start our magical journey in Georgia.
It’s 11:45pm Friday night. We don’t have to be back at work until Tuesday morning at 8 am. We can take a BIG roadtrip!
Georgia + West = Alabama. We drive non-stop ’til we’re almost passing out around 5:30 Saturday morning. We stop on a pier overlooking the Gulf of Mexico down around Mobile, Alabama. We sit in stunned silence for about a half an hour, we regroup then decide to continue on to New Orleans. We get to New Orleans early, like 7’ish I’d say. I’d been to the Big Easy before and had eaten at Cafe Dumond. I thought it’d be kind of cool to eat beignets, tank up on coffee, sober up and then spend the rest of the weekend partying in N.O.
Joe had a “better idea”.
“Why don’t we make a marathon out of this, somethin’ to tell our grandkids about. Why don’t we see how far we can go?”. I think about it for about 6 seconds and realize this is the most incredible idea I’ve ever heard! Joe is a genius, or at least inspired. So we finish up our french doughnuts and coffee and decide to go north ” ’cause, I’ve always wanted to go over that long fucking bridge.” For those of you who suck at geography lake Pontchartrain is north of New Orleans and the lake Pontchartrain bridge is 20 something miles long. It truly is a “long fucking bridge”. We get across the bridge and decide to keep our course north. We go back into Mississippi, through Jackson. Then onward to Memphis Tennessee. Remember we’ve only stopped a couple of times so far, on the pier in Mobile, in New Orleans for coffee and umpteen dozen pee breaks. We get into Memphis. We stop to stretch our legs and look around the town. It’s mid-to-late Saturday afternoon by now. We’re out of the car about 30 minutes when we decide we want to see that arch. After all the miles we’ve been so far that arch doesn’t seem that far away. It’s in St. Louis. Missouri. In retrospect, we were out of our minds. We had gone from central Georgia, southwest to New Orleans and Now were heading north for St. Lou.
We get into St. Louis around 9-10pm on Saturday night. We’ve got that “been on the road too long buzz” ringing in our heads.
We’re tired. We stink. And guess what, we gave no thought when we left to:
a. A change of clothes.
b. A change of underwear.
c. Hygeine tools (aka toothbrush, hairbrush, deo).
We figured (in our drunken stupor the night before) when we get to a place we want to stay, we’ll just buy what we need then. What we didn’t count on was… we would never get to where we were going.
Back to St. Louis, we’re layed out on the grass under the arch like a couple of homeless guys. We fall asleep for a couple of minutes, then get our “second wind”.
It’s roughly 11 pm on Saturday night. Our brilliant minds decide to head to Chicago.
We get to Bloomington, Illinois and pass out in a rest stop. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the opportunity to try and sleep in an RX-7. Basically, you don’t. The best analogy I can give is what I imagine trying to sleep in a Cambodian prison camp would be like.
We tried to snooze for a couple of hours without much luck.
Sunday Morning roughly 6am: On the road again. We’re off to Chicago. We hit Chicago, scratch that, we breeze through Chicago’s South Side around 9:30 – 10am. Onward, we go through Indiana, into Michigan. On Sunday afternoon/early evening we realize that not only do we smell, but we S.M.E.L.L.. Somewhere west of Detroit we came across a KOA campground that had a lake. We turned into that place, stripped down to our underwear and took a bath in that lake. God that was a cold lake!
After the lake bath, we load back up and off we go to Detroit.
We go through Detroit, heading east into Ontario, Canada. We continue east. Through Canada. We get over to the Canadian Side of Niagra Falls and do 45 minutes of site seeing.
Then we’re off again, south. Here we come Buffalo, New York. We go through Buffalo late. By this time it’s in the wee hours of Monday morning. We hit another rest area and sleep.
We don’t really sleep, but experience deep unconscienceness. I’m not sure if I can relate to you how wasted tired I am. We come to around 7:30 am Monday. Keep in mind we have to be at work Tuesday morning at 8am.
I’m going to try and make the rest of this story short. Try and keep up.
Buffalo => Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh => West Virginia
West Virginia => Virginia
Virginia => North Carolina
<<<< We get lost in North Carolina for a couple of hours >>>>
North Carolina => South Carolina
South Carolina => Atlanta
Atlanta => Warner Robins
Warner Robins (to drop off Joe) => Macon (home)
It’s now 7:15 am Tuesday Morning.
I’ve got to be at work in 45 minutes.
No call ins, no sick days allowed.
Why? Because (at the time) I worked for UPS.
<<<< IRONY ALERT>>>>
I have to drive a fucking truck 200 miles that day.