Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Great American Road Trip?

As we were stuck waiting outside of Chicago to pay yet another extreme toll, I started thinking about the idiots who pontificate about the great American road trip. They clearly don't have my children. After an hour into our jaunt from Virginia to Northern Illinois to attend Rob's brother's wedding, Lily was tired of car games, and watching movies, Caroline was sick of being crammed into the back sear, Rob realized that he had no cash for tolls, and I was just plain sick. I had foolishly attended an in-service the day that we were set to leave. That means that I wasn't able to run around with my lists and systematically check off everything that went into the car. I would come to pay for this later....

We let Rob's GPS choose the route that we took. I think that Rob's GPS must be getting a kick back from the east coast/mid-west toll companies. We must have spent over $50 dollars in tolls alone. I depleted my change stash from the glove box. Guess what? Most of them didn't take credit cards. At one point, I had to write a check to the Pennsylvania Transit Authority. At around 10 pm, I heard Caroline fussing at Lily about messing with her nose. All of the sudden I hear "Whoa, whoa, whoa, your nose is BLEEDING!" I tried to find tissues and wipes in the dark while Caroline gingerly swiped at Lily's nose trying not to touch the blood (no medical career for her, I guess). We pulled into a gas station that stayed open for 5 extra minutes so I could clean her up. This was also around the time that Caroline realized that she forgot her glasses. She had contacts for the day, but nothing for the night. That meant no reading or texting at night. That also meant a steamed teenager. We finally pulled into Toledo to stay the night at around 1 am. At 5 am, I woke up and realized that we had left the garment bag with all of our dress clothes at home!!! I shared our dilemma with Rob, who wasn't able to sleep anyway. What happened next is a true testament to how far our marriage has come. He calmly replied "Don't worry about it, we'll stop somewhere and find new clothes." Can you imagine the kind of screaming, blame passing argument that would have happened in the early years of a marriage? It pays to be older, wiser, and have a little more financial wiggle room.

We woke up the next morning to continue along the "Most Expensive Route Ever." After a harried 15 minute stop waiting for another toll to work while Lily yelled that she had to "GO TO THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW!!", we were able to stop and get some cash and food. As mentioned, we got stuck in hellish traffic outside of Chicago. What I didn't mention was the fact that we were stuck next to a garbage truck and I had to listen to a 20 minute argument between the girls about whether or not the Sears Tower was the tallest building they'd ever seen. Needless to say I was horribly car sick. I just sat there clutching a plastic bag wishing that my children would just please "shut the hell up!" At one point Lily tried to drag me into the discussion. Rob saved me with "Not now, Honey, Mom's trying not to throw up."

We stopped at an outlet mall outside of Indiana, but I was the only one who could find a dress. It wasn't as cute and sparkly as my new cocktail dress that I will never have a chance to wear now, but it worked. We decided to look for a Kohls the morning of the wedding. I am always amazed at how well our family works together when we need to. We finally arrived in Galena, Illinois. We were stinkier, poorer, and definitely more tired.

Despite it all, we ended up finding nice clothes and had a wonderful time at a beautiful wedding. On the way back, we chose the route without tolls. We drove through Iowa (which is gorgeous!!!) and stopped by Antique Archeology (the American Pickers' store), so Lily could see it and get a tee shirt. There was a brief moment as we drove over the Mississippi River, that I wondered why we didn't do this more often. The kids were happy, we were seeing things that we'd never seen before, I was getting great pictures.... It was the great American road trip! That was all before we got stuck in a rain storm in West Virginia.