I had grand visions of writing a travelogue of sorts about my recent road trip from Northern Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest. I was envisioning poetic prose regarding the passing scenery, the quirky truck stop breaks and the large statues of animals which seem to dot the North Dakota countryside. But instead I got nothing.
The trip started at midnight in Duluth, Minnesota. Why either my boyfriend or I thought this was a good idea, we have no idea. I had gotten home from rehearsal at 10 and speed packed the coolers and the rest of the car. He had tried to nap in the evening so he could drive in the middle of the night. He was unsuccessful. Needless to say, we were crabby.
There was the new ding on his car from me parking too close to it in the garage, there was the should-we-or-shouldn't-we pack things like the Coleman stove and lantern for chrissake (which we didn't, which was, in a word asinine); we had the mini-freak outs of where is this and that and why aren't you ready and dammit I forgot to put the beer in a bag - things that wouldn't normally stress either of us out.
Let's just say it wasn't the way the way that you're supposed to start vacation. So, we drove. Gas will be cheaper in Scanlon - let's stop there - yay! Something we agreed on. But then the gas station was closed. Almost all of the gas stations were closed which let to more bitchiness on my behalf, I will admit. And then the tiredness started creeping in.
I have a tendency to fall asleep at the wheel at just about any time of the day. This is a malady that struck me when I was doing repertory theatre in Ohio for a summer. Working 12-14 hours a day and having one day 'off' the whole time I was there. I think I fell asleep at a stoplight in downtown Findlay more than once. Not cool. So again, why I thought that driving all night was a "good" idea, I have no idea.
I drove the first stretch - 2 lane highways through deer-laden wetlands, forests and small towns that you have to slow down for even though if you look away to change the radio station or check your cell phone for just a second you've already gone through it ... a road of dips and hills and generally beautiful scenery - when you can see it. And these dips and hills were filled with wisps of fog ... sometimes thick enough to freak me out and cause me to slow down more than I probably needed to. Sometimes wispy enough to cause me to write bad poetry in my head. This went on for 3 hours.
By time I saw the deer standing on the shoulder of the road, I was practically asleep. It's amazing what a rush of adrenaline will do to wake you up! Deer are stupid. Very very stupid. I was lucky and these two just stood there looking at me.
At that point in the trip (about 2 hours in of our 29 hour journey), I stopped thinking about writing this piece. So although I have story after story about our adventures out there and also thoughts on how road-trips should only happen occasionally at best, I will leave it at that.
I will say though, that even after our rocky start ... I am still lucky enough to have come home with a great souvenir - a beautiful ring and a new fiance. Perhaps getting through a road trip is a good marriage omen after all.