Saturday, July 5, 2008

16 Hours and all I Got was Indigestion

Getting out of Myrtle Beach is always the longest part of the trip. The genius that designed the area only designed one, two lane highway with stoplights every 500 feet out. What should take about thirty five to forty five minutes always ends up taking about an hour and a half to two hours. Yesterday was one of the worst days because the tourists were surging in and out of Myrtle Beach for the Forth of July. How does the city evacuate in case of a hurricane? I don't know if they do. I think they just let the entire town drown, and then start over from scratch.

After we got out of the main Myrtle Beach area, we made it to and through most of the Smokies with little interference. We had actually commented on how easy the first five hours had been. Then we hit a couple patches of rain. There's nothing scarier than driving down a 7% grade and getting pelted from above with rain and having your vision from the road roughed up from the steam coming off of it. It was about this time that our overly active (but extremely lovey) cat, Slider, kind of woke up from his tranquilizer induced coma. You could tell the drugs were still in full affect because the little film that covers cats eyes when they sleep, still covered most of his eye even though he was awake. He couldn't decide where he wanted to go and continues to climb over us and the seats until finally coming to rest in the litter box. After the rain and the cat we decided this trip is going downhill quickly and it was time for our first caffeine fix, 2 twelve ounce Redbulls.

An hour later we go for caffine fix two, a soda called Cheerwine (delicious) and a normal Coke.

We still had roughly ten hours of road to cover at this point and we had already resorted to caffeine. With relatively few hold up and distractions (The road was almost clear since everyone else on the planet was off BBQing and watching fireworks) we made it through Nashville, through Kentucky, and into southern Illinois.

During this, nightfall came and we watched fireworks explode from our car. At one point we crossed the Tennessee River and I looked out over a valley to my right and saw a huge factory, with smoke, and orange lights, with fireworks exploding in the background. I swear that a flashback of news footage popped into my head. I through that I had driven across the ocean and was watching Bagdad get bombed. The entire situation felt eerie.

We started hitting patches of fog in southern Illinois hampering our vision to about thirty feet in front of us, and in true idiot driver fashion, we had about 15 billion people driving around with their highbeams on, blinding everyone else. Eventually we needed another Redbull fix. This time I complemented it with two off brand packets of jerky. We filled up at the only gas station for a 55 miles stretch of road and paid $4.19 a gallon. Ouch! I suppose it did its trick and we made it to St. Louis at about 4:30 a.m. Eastern time.

The arch was beautiful and I had a new found excitedness about being back. We unloaded the car, threw some blankets on the floor and slept. I woke up this morning to find a sticky note on my forehead from my stomach. It said, "Dan, you're an idiot. Red Bull and jerky that late in the morning? Really? Since you did that to me, I'm going to go ahead and give you cramps. Good luck with that. Love Stomach." Total time being awake: 22 hours Total Drive time: About 16 hours Next trip to Myrtle Beach in a car: Never Something’s money can't buy, for everything else... there's always packing up and getting out before it gets much worse.