Monday, August 24, 2009

Road Trip! Part One

Warning: This could be very boring to your mental health!

At my work place you can only take a week at a time with days off sandwiched on the ends. 9 days off.

What will we do? Got it! Let's drive 3,000 miles in four days!
Okay, 1,500 each way, but it felt like 3,000 miles. We had decided to visit friends up in Chicago. It had been 7-8 years since we had been there.

My daughter in school up in Tallahassee, Florida, FSU, asked to go along and wanted to bring a friend. After weighing all the options,
(flying and car rental or straight car rental, we decided to rent a nice mini van with enough room for everything and everybody including my beloved golf clubs. (golfing, my real reason for going)

We were to leave on a Tuesday morning, after picking up the rental and pack up and be on the way. Early morning turned into 2:00 pm before we left the house and to be on our way. Why?

Guys will grab stuff, throw it in and on our way. Women, decide to clean thoroughly, before leaving, packing up most of the pantry to eat along the way. The equivalent of wearing clean underwear in case of an accident. (we were leaving 6 dogs behind)

One must go with the flow to start off the trip in the right mind frame.(no arguing)(The seventh dog, a beagle, we were taking with to live with the college daughter)

Our starting point was just west of West Palm Beach, up to Tallahassee.

But leaving late meant getting to the daughter late. Arriving at 11:00 pm or so. We all agreed to get up at 4:30 pm, shower and go and be on the road at 6:00 am.

Leaving at 9:00 am, off we went, about 90 minutes back tracking to I-75 to enter into the state of Georgia.

I am sure Georgia is a beautiful state, but unfortunately, driving on I-75 does not show off it's best side.(the I stands for interstate, odd numbers north and south, even numbers east and west)

Which reminds me, why does Hawaii have an interstate?

Most of the United States during the summer has almost all of the roads torn up, a sore point for the whole trip.

Somehow, as we were leaving Florida, we had in mind, 12-13 hours driving,.......17 hours was the real time...tired just thinking about it!

After about 6 hours of driving in Georgia, it was time to go into the state of Tennessee and then into Kentucky.

The is a major difference in the countryside along the highway. Tennessee and Kentucky have a lot of hills to drive through, maybe small mountains, but nothing like the screaming drive one has in California.

There is almost a tranquil feeling while driving. But some of the roads are a steep drop and truck drivers must pay attention not to go to fast and lose control. But keep in mind, this is all during the day. Night time driving can be very treacherous.

Let me not forget that while we drove we had a helper ,Tom Tom made famous by Linda and Her Twaddle.

But I of course wanted a woman's voice and picked an English speaking lady from the UK who told me to stay left and continue on the motorway. I didn't even know we had motor ways.

But after awhile, many hours later, she started to sound like Hal from 2001 Space Odyssey. I started to do her voice adding my own lines. "Ray, you idiot, you missed the turn, you shouldn't be driving, let your wife drive, you men are all alike". My wife was not amused.

But let me say, it was very helpful and got us through some ticklish situations.

From Tennessee through Kentucky and into Indiana. Most of Indiana is flat. The midwest of the United States is farmland, which in most cases is flat land as far as the eyes can see.
The last 6 hours was through construction that had slowed us down, but didn't stop us, down to 40 instead of 70 miles an hour.

At one point, I felt like pulling over for a nap, but damn it, I had a t-time for Thursday for golf! Sleep was not an option.
We were very tired with only 2 drivers, (rental wouldn't let daughter drive, still too young), and switched often as night driving is very tiring.

With the help of Tom Tom, dodging construction zones, we arrived in Chicago at 4:00 am, Florida time....

to be continued
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