26 June 2012
The Roadtrip.......or Why Do Dads Always Have to Go 100 More Miles?
We spend our last night in New Hampshire at a hotel in Portsmouth.
The same exact hotel we pulled up to on the first day we arrived in New Hampshire.
We walk in and Liam says "I recognize this smell!"
Our room is next door to the room we occupied for the first 3 weeks we lived in New Hampshire; the woman at the front desk gives us directions and tells us where we can get ice and how to find the pool and I'm like "We were just here. Don't you remember us?" It feels like a Twilight Zone episode in which your life is being played in reverse but the people in your life have no memory of you. Like you never existed in the forward version.
Instead of wandering around Portsmouth and saying goodbye to our favorite things, we leave dinner early because Mike's stomach doesn't feel good. When we put Liam to bed, his head feels feverish and he complains of a headache. Four hours later he hangs his head over the toilet and we make a bed for him on the bathroom floor. He wants me to sleep with him on the bathroom floor but my body is aching from the mystery rash that covers my legs and elbows. Doctor visits, food elimination diets and blood tests leave me with nothing except instructions to try not to scratch.
The next morning we have big plans to leave at 7am and knock out 12 hours to Cleveland but our ailments are signalling the gravity of our situation; 1) even a good move is a big move and 2) the last four months of buying a house, selling a house (technically 3 times, but that's a story for another time) and being a family divided by 1500 miles is finally catching up with us. Instead of leaving at 7am, we manage to leave at 9:30am after a stop at the Rite Aide for cold medicine, alka seltzer, another anti-itch cream and a barf bag.
And thus, even before we begin the journey, Mike is obsessing about our ETA, our miles covered, the breakneck speed at which we can attack the interstate road system. I've planned only one fun thing to do on the roadtrip: a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland (very cool, must get some Stevie Nicks boots). And although he is a good sport and tries to be patient, the look on his face says "If we started driving right now, we'd be in Chesterton, Indiana by 5pm."
Why do Dads do this? I remember a day on our last roadtrip in which he was so anxious to leave, he was all "we gotta get packed and outta here by 4:30am, we're not lollygagging around this time, we've got some serious ground to cover, blah, blah, blah......" And I was like "Dude, our destination is 11 miles away." In both of our roadtrips, we had no homes waiting for us - just some form of less-than-comfortable temporary housing while we waited to move in to our actual home - but we're still not allowed to stop and experience the attractions along the way because we won't cover enough ground and it'll cut into some arbitrary ETA. So tell me......if we're not going to stop and see the sites and we're only concerned with the speed of travel, why didn't we just fly? It's faster, more comfortable, and maybe even cheaper. And we could eat food that doesn't come from a rest stop (can't take the time to drive too far off the interstate).
And why is this universal among fathers? It's not a male thing because I don't remember this phenomenon on any of my co-ed roadtrips from the 80's and 90's.
And I want to say shut up already and pull over so we can see the world's biggest ball of string.
That being said, we were all excited and very anxious to be in Minneapolis again. I just didn't need to go so fast.
While we drive, we search for license plates - a game made that much more exciting by recording our finds in our new iPhone app. If you see a Hawaii, will you please call me? I think it's ok if we share that one. We talk about the things we're looking forward to, we listen to Sirius radio (definitely got bored with that), and we clap as we enter each new state; not in a cheering celebratory way but as if we're applauding an accomplished performance. Good work, Ohio, good work.
The landscape changes quickly and the trees and forests of the east give way to the open sky and rolling farmland of the Midwest. The scenery of the east coast is beautiful, but living under the canopy of all those trees has given me a new appreciation for the Midwestern landscape. The scenery speeding by us looks like painting after painting after painting of green carpet, red barn, white farmhouse, tall silo. The sky seems so big and filled with fluffy clouds that don't exist in the smaller, New England sky. The farms are painted into perfect squares of green and ecru, like a quilt carefully laid over the middle of the country, and I almost lose my head when I see what looks like AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN! I'm like "FAMILY LOOK! THAT'S AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN! I MUST'VE DRIVEN BY THIS SCENE A MILLION TIMES IN MY LIFETIME BUT I NEVER NOTICED THAT IT WAS AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN! THEY WROTE A SONG ABOUT THIS, PEOPLE!"
Every scene looks like something you'd see on the side of an organic milk carton.
And although I'm in no way a farm girl, it makes me happy to be heading home.