Thursday, March 30, 2006

Driving to Austin, or 1000 Miles with a Four Year-Old

I meant to get an early start Tuesday morning (I hear chuckling)—to the point that at one time I thought we might leave at 6:00 am (I hear outright guffaws). Dave helped with the major loading Monday night, but it still took me a lot more time than I would have liked to figure out how to pack the van for a retail show again (got to get the tent in) after almost a year's hiatus. We got on the road by 1:30 pm. The late start negated the possibility of dinner with friends in Dallas, but there is always another meal--in this case breakfast Wednesday.

When we did finally get moving we did so in technological style: Dave bought us a Garmin Street Pilot gps, I brought my iPod with the cable that plays it through the fm radio and your car speakers, and Jessie had her portable dvd player. We are fortunate that the car has two cigarette lighter power adapter outlets and I was also able to get an adapter that transforms one power adapter outlet to three and another adapter that allows regular electrical devices to plug-in through it. I could navigate, listen to music and charge my cell phone while Jessie watched movies in the back. Sweet.

There are no rest stops between Atlanta and Birmingham on I-20W. Just be prepared.

After driving awhile Jessie's natural curiosity asserted itself and she asked me where my osstrills are. What? You know, your osstrills--like an elephant has at the end of his trunk. Oh. I showed her. I don't even want to know what the sequitur for that one was.

A little while later after I finished talking to my friend Mike in Dallas about eating together Jessie asked me if my friend Mike was brown or white. I said white and she asked who my friends are who are brown. I named some names for her and she replied sagely that "Cross men are bad." When quizzed about what/who cross men are she replied "Men who wear crosses around their necks... and dress all in white." Oookay. Then she said, "There was a man in the fellowship hall (in the church where her pre-school is located) who said that everybody should get to go where they want, even little kids. They killed him. He was brown. He is in heaven now. Where is heaven?" The lessons the teachers did for Martin Luther King Day must have been really intense as she is still processing them.

Down the road a ways we had to stop for gas. Side note: Cars would be great things if there was a way that they could run with no need to stop for fuel. The whole need for gas thing is going to make it really difficult to flee to Montana if there is a national catastrophe and I feel the need to flee it. The gas station I picked took marketing a bit far and after I paid (at the pump, of course) the pump started talking to me about all the cool things I could buy inside the store. It was creepy. My first thought was that they didn't really sell anything inside the store, they just lured you in and rendered you for parts. I got back in the car and closed my door until the gas was finished pumping so I wouldn't have to hear the creepy talking pump.

We finally stopped for the night after leaving Shreveport and crossing into Texas. It was 11:00 pm and we were about an hour shy of Dallas (making it easy to get there for breakfast with Mike the next morning before doing a gallery delivery). Hotels off the interstate are always a crap shoot. No, that's wrong. They are always either way over priced or crappy. There is no variability. Tuesday night's room (ostensibly at a Hampton Inn) smelled of cat urine, had cigarette burns on the 1970's synthetic fuzz fiber blanket, and was stingy on towels and water pressure. But we slept well, and by accident at 6:30 am when I had to get J up, dressed and brush her hair, I found the Wiggles on the Disney Channel which kept her docilely mesmerized through the getting ready process. That was a relief.

You know you're in Texas when: The Tanger Outlets billboard advertises the Bible Outlet Store. The Dallas police also have their own billboard: Join the Dallas Police Force, 4 yrs active military service OR 45 hours of college. Huh? Either we want people who have had the ability to think for themselves drummed right out of them OR we want people who have been trained to think for themselves...

And then we got to Austin. Lovely, warm Austin (brutally hot comes a bit later in the year). I am very happy to have a couple of days of downtime/recharge time with friends here. And shopping. And a pedicure. Whoo hoo.


Bill Paley said...

Something wrong with your peds that needs curing? Perhaps they need a pediatrician? When you go for a pedicure, and they need to wear things down a bit, do they use a pedophile? Do they measure their work with a pedometer? Do they put your feet up on a pedestal? These are things the world wants to know!

Jodi said...

You're brave to do that trip with a child. More power to you! Eric and I drove from Florida to L.A. with our one dog at the time and had to find (cheap) places to stay that allowed pets. Yikes...not fun.