Thanks to everyone who sent Thor sympathy yesterday for having no one to play with. He was miserable because Jeffrey had left for college a few days earlier, since he's an RA this year, and we were taking Kellie to college for the first time, with Cass. Patrick was still home, but most of Thor's people left Wednesday night, and Thor was Not Pleased!
Now, before you hear this story, you have to know a couple of things about me: First, I love driving. I do all of the driving in our household. I've done Cheyenne to Peoria in one day (yes, 1000 miles) once. I've driven the 750 miles to Myrtle Beach leaving my house at 10PM, and arriving there for breakfast. So 375 miles is no big deal to me. Second, I hate traffic jams. I've been known to wander 50 miles of back roads to avoid worshipping at a 20 mile long PENNDOT erected shrine to Our Lady of Perpetual Road Construction. Single lane traffic on an interstate makes me crazy! Finally, I don't have GPS, and never consult maps. I always know where I am. I'm never lost. I can find my way anywhere.
So, Kellie and Cass filled the back of the Suburban (look at this picture: the bags were 3 feet deep, plus some in the second and third seats), leaving them to watch the back of my "black bus" whenever I needed to change lanes. And off we went at 7:30PM. Not much in the way of construction messes had me very happy. A stop at Perkins for dinner had everyone else happy (except for my dearly beloved, who doesn't like leaving home AT ALL!). So on we went merrily, until Cumberland, Maryland. Around 1:30 AM, at mile 46, there was a flashing sign warning of an accident and "all lanes of traffic blocked" at exit 43A. Oh, c**p! At exit 43D, I ducked off the exit ramp, beside already-parked traffic, and dropped down (literally) into Cumberland.
Cumberland is a very old city with narrow streets (not really large enough for my Suburban), nestled into a hillside, below I-68. As such, the streets don't run parallel to the highway. So I rambled along a mile or 2, until I saw a cab parked in a closed shopping center. I pulled up alongside it, and the driver looked like Santa with a couple of teeth missing, wearing a wife-beater and shorts. I explained the interstate parking lot, and asked if he could direct me to a point beyone exit 43A, and he responded, "Wail, no, ah cain't. But ah'll lead you there!" So I wound around narrow streets, once having to make a u-turn in the middle of a road blocked by a train; the girls were cheering in glee at this turn of events. When he turned into a gravel alley between a white cinderblock building and a bridge, a great roar of joy erupted from the back of my Suburban, and continued for the half mile or so. Bouncing over curbs, ignoring stop signs, it was classic movie chase scene, or as my girls said, "Just like being in a real, live video game!" He got me to a mile from the highway, pointed me in the right direction, and refused my money. Did I mention that I've always been fond of Santa Claus? Anyway, I got back on the highway, and NEVER again saw another car on my side of the highway. Not for another 70 miles. It must have been one heckuva pileup, to have shut down all traffic! But at least I didn't have to park on the highway. (You now know how much I hate to do that!) My Suburban was acting up a bit in Cumberland, and I did threaten to turn into the next dealership and dump it in favor of a 4WD pickup, which seemed to scare it into better behaviour. (Am I the only lunatic who talks to and threatens my vehicles? Sometimes it works, really, and sometimes they call your bluff.)
So we got my daughters moved into their rooms, and Ryan was in tears leaving his sisters and brother behind (Mom hid her distraught feelings well). No car problems after I threatened my "bus" with abandonment, and now my house is far too quiet, empty, lonely....
Edited to add: I just looked at my photo again, and had to laugh at how big this vehicle is. Well, I got 16mpg on this trip (I might have done better had I not exceeded posted speed limits), and all 5 people in this car other than me were stretched out and "chillin'," as the girls would say. I do love big cars (and trucks).