We headed out in Lynn’s red, Pontiac Sunfire, which happened to be a standard. I didn’t really know how to drive a standard but just figured – oh hell, I’ll catch on.
We were armed with a Triptik that let us know where every hotel, gas station and winery was along the way. Yes, we hit up wineries for free wine tastings because we were poor, young and thirsty. We also brought a journal and a camcorder to engrave the memories.
It was some of the best car Karaoke you’d ever hear. I burned some of the most epic CD’s for that trip. I’m sure if we would have sent the tape of us singing to a record label, I’d be a bon-a-fide diva by now.
Our first stop to sleep was around 3am, at a skeevy Motel 6, somewhere in Ohio…front desk clerk with no teeth included. The only other thing I remember about Ohio is that every single billboard in that state was either trying to sell you sex or God.
We became so delirious from non-stop driving, our laughing fits nearly killed us. It was the kind of laughing where you stop breathing, start crying and you don’t even know what the hell is so funny anymore.
We decided to end the second night in St. Louis. It seemed like a big and small enough city to have some fun in. We forked over the cash for a swanky hotel room and headed out for dinner and drinks. Here we are, young 20-somethings, dressed in hoochie attire and heels. We can’t afford a cab so we decide to walk…in zero degree weather with no idea where we are going in downtown St. Louis. Genius.
The night ended pretty uneventfully. After we ate, we decided we were tired and just headed back to the hotel. It wasn’t until I watched the tape that I knew the girls taped my lame ass snoring, less than an hour later.
The next morning we decided to go to the top of the Arch before heading out. I had a minor panic attack in the egg shaped thing you ride up in. Picture the Zipper, remember that ride from the fairs of your childhood – how each cage swung back and forth, as it lifted you higher and higher. Yeah, I hated that ride. This was like that ride only worse. I’m on the record, dropping the F bomb somewhere between 40 and 50 times.
We made it to the top, survived the ride back down and then hit the road.
Our third day in, we stopped at a truck stop, called Betty Beaver’s Truck Stop, for gas. It wasn’t until stopping for coffee, two states later, that I became incredibly grateful for my juvenile sense of humor – it’s the reason I remembered the name of that truck stop.
I reached for my wallet but couldn’t find it. We tore that car apart and it was no where. Not only was all of my cash in that wallet but so was my driver’s license. Ya know, the thing you need in order to board a plane back to NY!
It was gone. I tracked down that truck stop on the Triptik and called them. I had left it, but there was no way we could go back. The lady I spoke with was willing to overnight my wallet to Lynn’s aunt’s house, where we would end up.
We filled the last leg of our trip with car jam sessions, conversation and jotting down random things in the journal that today, mean absolutely nothing to us. We spent our last night before Texas, with a friend in Kansas. While there, I called to confirm the woman mailed my wallet, like she said she would.
Now this lady is telling me that she can’t get anyone to drive my wallet to the “over night drop off” which is “20 miles away”. What? This turned in to a huge ordeal. It became clear that I was not going to have my ID in time to get on the plane. I had to call my boss and explain why I wouldn’t be there in two days and oh by the way, I’m not sure when I’ll be there at all. That went over like a fart in church. I know they thought I was lying.
We made it to Texas the next day. We popped a bottle of Champaign and rehashed the trip.
The next day, Lynn and I dropped Jeanette off at the airport and we drove around that very same airport for about 30 minutes, trying to figure out how the hell to get out!
The contents of my wallet arrived later that day, in a brown envelope. I got lucky. Even though they took all my cash, they sent me everything else in that wallet, credit cards included.
Being that I had my ID back, and a credit card, Lynn and I decided to go out for a drink that night. Did you know “dry counties” still exist? Ya, neither did we. We stifled our NY laughter and found a “wet” county where we could get our drink on.
The night played out, we had many laughs and avoided discussing W. Bush and gun laws…we were scared to let the people around us know we were Yankees. By the look of the bartender, inspecting our NY driver’s licenses, it didn’t appear they were too fond of us.
The next day, our road trip was officially over. I had driven a car I could barely drive, across the country. My faith in people was somewhat restored. We perhaps became, the very first drive-by winos, and I learned that dry counties are a very real thing.
And then I had to say “see ya soon” to my BFF. That was 13 years ago. We still talk at least once a week. It was a road trip I’m glad I took, but was sad to take.
Have you ever taken a road trip with friends? Are you like me, thirty-something and wishing it was even an option at this point? Please, do share 🙂