Day 2 of our trip found us driving through Oregon and into Northern California. The curves heading into Grant’s Pass didn’t agree too well with Sassy and we had our only incident of car sickness. For lunch, we pulled into a Burger King. That night, I had pulled into a rest stop for a 5 hour nap and was now feeling tired again so after we ate, I slept for an hour or so while the kids watched a movie and a hummingbird played outside the window. The rest of the day was just a blur of highways and long stretches of farmland.
Our excitement for the day came as the sun had almost set and we were close to our next fuel up break. As I was driving along, I heard little “pings” hitting the windshield. It sounded like it was starting to sprinkle but I didn’t notice any rain drops. And then the storm opened up. Only it wasn’t rain. Our car was suddenly being pelted by…BUGS! We were driving through some sort of bug metropolis and the whole front of the van was being swamped by insect carcasses. My vision was quickly blocked by the grisly scene on my windshield. I turned on the wipers to try to clear them off but between my useless wipers and the sheer number of bug splatters, all I managed to do was smear them a bit. I was only able to see through the one clear spot in the glass that measured about 5 x 5 inches.
At the first exit, I pulled off to get gas and attempt to de-bug Suzy. It was not an easy task. All I had was the dirty water the gas station provides for you to clean your windshield and a small squeegee. I washed off as many as I could and tried not to be sick as I could feel the squeegee breaking through the built up wall of guts and insect pieces that were glued to my car. I managed to scrape off the first layer, getting rid of the biggest chunks but there was no getting off the stickiest layer without some serious soap and a scrub brush. The funny thing was, every other car in the gas station was doing the same thing. We all bonded over the disgusting job of cleaning insect guts off our cars.
Once the tank was filled and I was satisfied that I had knocked off all the loose bugs, we were back on the road. Here are my directions for how to get to Texas from Washington. Head south on I-5 through California, then take a left and drive to Texas. That’s it in a nutshell. California and Texas are both so big that you feel like you will never leave either state. And from the time you take that left in CA to the time you get to Dallas, everything pretty much looks the same. I have to tell you, it’s not a very exciting drive. Luckily I had a good stockpile of CDs to listen to and having the 4 of us singing at the top of our lungs helped to pass the time.
As the kids settled in for the night, I told them they would wake up in a different state. I was wrong. I drove for quite awhile the next morning before I realized that we were still in CA. I was so disappointed! And it seems that somewhere between CA and AZ I lost my ankles. From all the sitting my ankles had swollen so much that they now resembled pale tree trunks. Now, in addition to making sure I was awake enough to drive, I also had to worry about preventing blood clots so I wouldn’t die mid-trip (have I mentioned my hypochondria?).
We finally made it to AZ and had to stop to refuel. While at the gas station, a man was asking around for jumper cables. I had some and I like to be helpful so I offered the use of mine. Then he mentions his car is down the highway and can he use them and bring them back? What do I say to that? I want to be helpful, I mean, I would hope someone would help me out if I was in the same situation. Then again, I don’t want to have to explain to MC that he no longer has jumper cables because I was being naive. I took a chance and told them I would be around for a little while and he could bring them back to me.
As I fueled up, took the dog and the kids to go potty and got fresh drinks, I noticed that the stranded man had a friend and they had collected a gas can as well as my jumper cables and now they were just hanging around the gas station. Oh yeah, this was a scam. The friend eventually came up to me with his guitar in hand and explained that he was trying to make his way to Hollywood where he was going to make it as a singer. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that with the way he butchered “Hey There, Delilah” he’d never make it past the “bad” auditions on American Idol. He finally came out and asked if I could give him a ride to that so-called broken down car. Stranded friend joined him in trying to look really sad and pathetic but even I know when to draw the line. I told them in no uncertain terms that NO ONE was getting into the car with me and my kids. I took back my cables and we took off.
That was the start of Day 3. And it just got more interesting from there. Part 4 will pick up where I left off.