1600 Miles on the Road

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve taken a really long road trip because of the following reasons:

1. I assured Julie that most motels on the interstate cost $35 to $40 for one night. They actually cost $80 to $110.

2. I am pleasantly surprised that our hotel room has free wifi, and even the most deplorable motel boasts this amenity.

3. I thought that Continental breakfast includes scrambled eggs. Not so at the motel on our way out. They only had a few store-bought muffins.

We are on our way back to Vermont from a friend’s wedding in Indiana, and we decided to drive the whole way, breaking it up with stops at hotels on the way. Since we’re off the grad school budget, it’s not catastrophic to shell out $60 or even $110 for a hotel room.

It’s been a bit of an adventure. Before we left I noticed my car wasn’t running quite right and took it to our mechanic who said all was well, only to have it roar at an ear-splitting volume from somewhere around the engine three hours into the trip. We called Julie’s dad, who correctly diagnosed it as an exhaust leak of some sort, and the bark was worse than its bite. It helped that the noise died down once we got moving around 70 mph. Nothing like that to help you speed.

Our trashy motel for the first night of our trip was next to an even trashier bar and an auto repair shop. After two hours of work on the following morning they had it fixed and road-worthy, leaving us with just enough time to arrive in time for the wedding rehearsal.

On our way back we determined that two things were necessary: a book on CD and a stop at IKEA for a chandelier. We found an IKEA in Pittsburgh and completely changed our route to go there. Finding a large book store was a bit harder, and for that we once again called Julie’s poor dad who found one near Columbus, OH.

We’re currently on CD 5 of Jasper Fforde’s hysterical book, Thursday Next: First of Sequels. Unfortunately the time we took to find the book store meant we cut it really close on IKEA.

In our five years of marriage, Julie and I have a way of always hitting IKEA right before it closes. This means we ALWAYS have to run against the tide of neatly marked arrows and haul ridiculous shelves, chairs, etc. through the store and into the check out line while Julie stocks up on the rye crisps, cookies, and other items from the food section.

With less to pick up than usual, we arrived 45 minutes before closing and charged out with several minutes to spare and all of our objectives accomplished. To this day I don’t know what it’s like to shop at IKEA with the luxury of time.

The fine hotel we chose for tonight is West of Buffalo, which means we have another six hours of driving  before we pull in to our Vermont home. There is nothing better than finishing a road trip.

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