Strictly speaking, our trusty little 1992 Honda is maroon. But even before we set off it was dirty enough to be a ghastly mottled pink. So much junk was in the trunk and back seat that we had to shovel out space to get baby in the car seat. But there was, quite simply, NO TIME for cleaning. In these circumstances, Dad and I set out for Wyoming, four hours late and a few dollars short (more on the dollars situation later.)
The whole point in bringing dad was so that I wouldn't kill myself and the child with my usual long-distance-driving-self-hypnosis. When I was little, Mom and Dad taught me to sleep in the back seat during long trips. This probably seemed clever at the time. However, in later years it proved not so smart, as my training (as well as Eric's, and possibly mom's) proved far more effective than expected. On long trips in our latter years in MT, it was not unusual for ALL THREE of us to be in a dead cold sleep before we reached the highway (under 2 miles.) The training has also made me a remarkably poor long distance driver. I have to nap about as often as baby has to eat. And that's a lot.
As a disclaimer, however, I will point out that I drove FOUR hours the first day, and kept up my share of half the miles the entire way. I'm quite proud of this and don't expect it to ever happen again. Last time we drove to MT I slept 7 of the 9 hours and I'm hoping to keep that pattern as a tradition. I love having a chauffer. Poor Michael. Dad tried to warn him!
Meanwhile, as we drove across UT and WY, Michael realized he had lost his debit card. But he had a credit card. So he cancelled his debit card. Which cancelled my debit card. I didn't have a credit card. So that made the trip interesting.
Dad and I made it to Rawlins, WY, and decided we couldn't make it any farther that night. Rawlins is a cold, hard, mining town full of men in trucks and seedy bars. Being the tight-fisted pair that we are, Dad and I opted for a fleabag hotel called the "Happy Traveler" or something similarly ominous. The room was FIFTY EIGHT dollars and even worse than you're imagining. I mean, I did NOT want my feet to touch that floor. You pulled a string to turn on the light over the sink. The green/grey tiled bathroom had been grouted at least a dozen times, apparently by a four-year-old with wood glue. I tried to put my towel on the rack and it fell off, carrying a shower of who-knows-what to the floor with it. YIKES! Also, all my personal hygiene equipment had been misplaced, so no toothbrush, no shampoo, no soap. I was one sad bedraggled sight. Baby and I slept in one bed together and didn't do a whole lot of sleeping.
Poor Michael, meanwhile, slept in his clothes in a chilly truck cab by the side of the road somewhere in Wyoming. I'm still not sure which of us was worse off.
The next morning was frigid. We decided to skip the free breakfast, given the nausea inducing morning shower, and ate a lot of dried apricots instead. As a side comment, I do NOT recommend consuming more than 14 servings of dried apricots in 36 hours. Not good. Just so you know.
The rest of the day is rather a 12-hour blur of flat land and, um, stuff. Baby did just fine as long as I stacked a HUGE mountain of toys (literally every toy we own) on top of him after feeding him every two hours. In his usual obligatory manner he did not poop while traveling (though today has been a rough day to make up for the two week hiatus...) and was general cheerful until about the 12th hour when he decided that EVEN the big boy remote control I had given him to chew on was no longer going to distract him from his misery.
Dad and I had a jolly old time chatting it up. I estimate at least 22 hours of talking in 48 hours. Talk about Dowdle heaven! Endless rants on oil sheiks, the mid-east situation, health care reform, corrupt politicians, ethanol, presidential candidates, housing prices, the general state of the economy, fast cars, alternative energy sources, geological formations, and, um, did I mention gas prices. We had worked ourself into a warm state of indignation by the time we were done and the best part is that we always agreed and were always right. What a great trip. It flew by for me. Don't get quality time like that every day. I was so happy that dad was willing to come.
That night Michael had miraculously caught up with us (thanks to his 5 AM wakeup and our frequent baby stops) so we all stayed together in St. Joseph, MO. Michael kept braggin about how he had caught up with us even though he could only average 35 MPH on the hills. I pointed out that he had spent the entire day traveling across NEBRASKA which is not exactly known for its mountains. We stayed at a nicer hotel and ate barbecue. Yum! Baby woke up at 1 AM and didn't got back to sleep until 2:30 AM. By then I was wired and never did go back to sleep. I did, however, get in half the book of John, the longest shower known to man, and full use of the free breakfast (since I had breakfast twice.)
The next morning we didn't have much of a drive. Dad did try to get onto the freeway by driving down an offramp, which was exciting. A few hours and we were in St. Louis. I bade Dad farewell and three uneventful hours later we arrived at our new hometown, Evansville, Indiana.
1 year ago