Friday, December 19, 2008

Was I the Boxer or the Bag?

Notes from a 13-hour, 856.89-mile trip across our nation's belly.

1. Love's Travel Centers are to modern-day road travel what Stuckey's was to travel when I was a kid. Only with grittier bathrooms. This is the kind of place where there are cigarette burns on the toilet seat. But I guess there's an upside to that. If you crave a little leg exercise after 4 bazillion hours in the cab of a Dodge Ram 2500 (ex cuze ay Moi, 1500), nothing gets the blood flowing back into the quads like squatting to pee. Then again, as my good buddy and intrepid traveler Wicked Thistle always says, "Go ahead and sit down already. There's nothing you can catch from a toilet seat." Hmm. I wonder if she's willing to cross stitch that on a pillow for me?

2. The largest cross in the Western Hemisphere sits on the south side of I-40 just outside of Groom, Texas. About two miles before you get there, a huge sign alerts you to its existence, proclaiming it's one of life's great miracles, and oh, by the way? Don't forget to stop by the gift shop, y'all! I, however, beg to differ. One of life's great miracles is having survived a 9-hour slog through pea soup thick fog starting at the hills of the Ozarks on down through Tulsa to the edge of Amarillo, all without sacrificing one's life to the underside of an 18-wheeler.

3. The wind never stops blowing in Oklahoma. Never. Ever.

4. Whether holding the remote to the television set or to the satellite radio, the homo Sapien male is, indeed, singularly incapable of remaining on any one channel for longer than a nanosecond. The only tune I got to listen to in its entirety was Pearl Jam's "Yellow Ledbetter," a song so lyrically cryptic it makes "Blinded by the Light" sounds like a nursery rhyme. Baby, make me cry.

5. At about 4:30 p.m. in the middle of December on a middle-of-nowhere stretch of I-40 somewhere near the border of New Mexico and Texas, just after a sudden downpour as the sun begins to shimmer through the swirl of bruise-colored clouds, all that lonesome beauty will sting your eyes and suck the air right out of your lungs.

5. Fudkin' squirrels follow Moi wherever I go, even on famblee vay-cay.


h said...

I love that Stuckey's pic! Are you old enough to remember Sambo's? They were closed due to political corectness and some became Stuckey's and/or Shoney's.

I like travel centers. Pilot's are cleaner than Love's.

Where did you go anyhoo? Da bayou?

Gnomeself Be True said...

There's still the original Sambo''s in Santa Barbara...of all places.

Yea Moi...where did you go?

Glad to see the nutty bretheren hounding you, whereever you were.

Jenny said...

I remember Sambo's ... great pancakes.

Welcome HOME! I've driven across Texas and watched an amazing thunderstorm while listening to very strange talk radio.

Helloooooo Squirrels. I have news for you... they've been on alert and those were fresh recruits following you the entire trip.

Look out your window.... heeeeeee....chomp,chomp,chomp.

moi said...

Troll: I don't remember Sambo's. Doesn't mean I'm not old enough. Just, perhaps, missing those particular brain cells. Nope, not da Bayou dis year. Clues to follow . . .

Gnome: You should have seen the mess o' squirrels I scared up during a run through the forest. And me without my shotgun.

Boxer: I loves all of God's lil' creatures. Just some more than others :o). Texas fascinated me. Next on my list: Big Bend.

Jenny said...

p.s that's a very, very, very big cross. Wow.

Aunty Belle said...

Hey! Welcome home! Yea, ya's safe and back to the keyboard. Love that sunset.

I never knowed what the heck that tune was about--Bkinded by the light. Mebbe I doan need to know.

We oughta re-read Little Black Sambo, I mean, the story makes the boy and his mama look very clever--why is it un PC anyhoo?

Mandy_Fish said...

Squirrels are guaranteed comedy.

Big Shamu said...

Freakin' squirrels. You need a travel permit for that gun.

Doris Rose said...

Welcome back Amiga! you were missed. Loved that Sunset and I totally agree with the sentiment.

fishy said...

Merry Christmas! Hope it was a great get out of the truck experience upon arrival. I sometimes travel in Blowfish's diesel dually and the noise, the noise the noise! Then, pf course, there is the multi hour relentless shakin of my gizzard which transforms me into something that would make the Grinch seem...kindly by comparison. I won;t even mention the stuff Blowfish claims is music!
Hope it was a great get away.

czar said...

welcome home.

last week we did 740 miles in a day twice, Thursday and Sunday. Thursday through the spine of a driving rainstorm for 12 hours. i'm convinced the ride can be made in 10.25 hours, given the proper conditions: one gas stop (warm weather a necessity for the hybrid), prepacked food, weekend, good weather, no bonus pee stops.

no big crosses though, but plenty of pretty Shenandoah Valley and points north.

yes, troll, i remember sambo's . . . and when HoJos was an ice cream joint . . . and when South of the Border wasn't a flat-out dump.

moi said...

Boxer: It was, in fact, the largest cross I've ever seen. It was almost obscene, making me think back to the days of early Christianity when images of the cross were verboten, because of what it represented.

Aunty: One of my favorite road games is making up lyrics to "Blinded by the Light." Pecked up like a sluice you know the tumor in the night?

Mandy: Or dinner, depending on your POV.

Shamu: Travel permit? We don't need no stinkin' travel permit!

Doris: Thanks. I'll give ya a ringy dingy sometime this weekend when I'm multi-tasking.

Fishy: The spousal unit recently informed me his Dodge is a 1500, not a 2500. What ev. Whenever I think he's getting a wee bit precious about his truck? I just remember my closet full of shoes.

Czar: I loved two things about Howard Johnson's: the ice cream and those awesome fried clams. We had purdy scenery, too. The Ozarks are, quite simply, stunning, despite S.B. humming the theme song to Deliverance the entire way . . .

sparringK9 said...

the wind is so impressive they write musicals about it

ohhhhhhhkalhoma where the wind..........

stuckeys: pecan rolls, live hermit crabs and a dried alligator heads

Pam said...

Hope you had a good va-cay. And Love's can be a fairly decent pee-stop as opposed to some other vile truck stop restrooms I have seen. Just gotta pick the right ones. And I know exactly what foggy day you were driving thru -- we've had one foggy day in six years and it was all dang day for sure. I remember Sambo's too. And they had Tiger Butter! No idea what it was, but I remember it!

h said...

Four words, my young friends.'


I'm older than dirt...

Burgerilla. Count FangBurger.

moi said...

K9: mmmmm . . . pecan rolls.

pamokc: yeah, it was indeed totally bizarre! Good thing it's a flat-as-a-pancake shot outta OKC into Texas, otherwise driving would have been much more of a headache.

Troll: You are not older than dirt because I remember Burger Chef and Jeff and I am NOT older than dirt!

Meghan said...

Oh shit. I thought you were really on some tropical island. Then I saw that huge cross and realized it was a roadtrip through "the heartland". Sorry about that.