Road Trip 101

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Having left her empty apartment, this author takes to the open road for a bit of sightseeing before her heralded departure from the USA.

Submitted: September 17, 2006

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Submitted: September 17, 2006



Greetings from sunny Wisconsin.

Actually, now that I peer out from behind my hotel room curtains, it’s not that sunny at all. In fact, I can see the man of the manor running to move the car.
Ouch! Watch that hail stone, dear.

We arrived here relatively in one piece. I ceded to the constant barrage of suggested reasoning from my husband that we leave a little ‘earlier’ so as to miss peak hour traffic.

Believe me, I am the first person to take the road less troubled, but 3am???
My brain and other vital senses do not kick into gear until at least 8am, and not without the assistance of a turbo-caffeine IV in one arm.

So, equipped with a map large enough to cover my living room floor, and an uneasy sense of foreboding, we took to the road. I remember that our conversation probably mirrored that of any other happily married couple in a car, in the dark, and slightly sleep-deprived:

“Look, honey, we’re saying bye-bye to Chicago for now. Look at the lights, aren’t they pretty? Say bye-bye to Chicago. “


“Have a look at the map would you, darling? I am driving here and..oh, quick look! There’s a squirrel!”


“What exit are we taking? Are you following the map there? You probably can’t read it whilst you are using it for a blanket you know.”


See? Happily married couples assisting one another on the open road.

It was as we were finally leaving Chicago’s city-limits that we heard the one sound that those in a car on a long trip don’t want to hear:

phut, phut, phut, pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

That, coupled with the angry, red flashing “E” on the gas meter, gave me a clue to the fact that we were, what is commonly known as, screwed.

I won’t go into details about the conversation that ensued shortly after this revelation, but I will tell you that we have a bucket of confetti in the trunk which used to resemble a road map.
Luckily for us, even at that ungodly hour of the morning, a kindly passerby pulled his truck over for assistance.

The gentleman was obviously not a sharp city slicker from Chicago, with his dirty green overalls and mud-encrusted boots, but that didn’t bother me too much. I have never been one to look a gift-horse in the mouth.

Even when he opened his mouth to speak, and both my husband and I nearly withered on the ground from the overpowering stench of beer and pork rinds, we reserved our judgement.
He stuck out one hairy, calloused paw and smiled, his pearly tooth glittering in the moonlight.

“Ugh..look’s like yer havin a bit of trouble eh? Eh? Eh? “

We conceded that yes, our situation was a bit dire as it stood.

“M’ name’s Gale, and I’m from Galesburg. Hyuk hyuk. Gale from Galesburg. Get it? Get it? Hyuk Hyuk!”

Again, we nodded gravely, and advised him that we had acknowleged the humorous nature of this canny link to his hometown and first name.

He looked our vehicle up and down, and furrowed his brow in concentration as he sought to comprehend the essence of our dilemma.

“Car don’t run without gas now, do it?"

It was at this point, that both my husband and I realized “Gale” was an exceedingly sharp and perceptive individual.

Without hesitating, Gale went around to the back of his truck. Even in the dark, I could make out the shape of something black, furry and most definitely ’moving’ in the front seat. I declined to probe any further, as I had an idea that any sort of pet a guy like “Gale from Galesburg” might have, was not one that I would like to become aquainted with in a hurry.

Everything now appeared to be going swimmingly. Gale proceeded to fill up our tank, occasionally showering us with sparkling banter and charming bon mots about his Aunt Betty, and her unfortunate case of hemorrhoids.

We were happy to just stand back, and nod when required. It was only when Gale lit up a Marlboro whilst pouring the gasoline, that my husband decided it was time to take a more active part in this conversation.
He mentioned to Gale in a rather high and strangled voice, that whilst he was no chemistry major, he had heard that the combination of a naked flame and petrol usually meant a free-for-all human BBQ.

Gale chuckled comfortably and shook his head, (dropping ash perilously close to the cylinder.)

“Naaaaw! We’re just fine. This ain’t gonna blow. Ya need oxygen for that.”

Bring out the steak sauce and coleslaw, please?

If you are wondering what this Aussie duck was doing throughout this little tete-a-tete, ask anyone who was driving on I-94 at 4am on Sunday, April 18th 2004, and they will probably recall seeing a young woman in her thirties, screaming and running back towards Chicago.

Gale finally finished filling up our tank and bid us a fond farewell. We did pay him handsomely for his trouble, and asked him to give Aunt Betty our very best.
On returning to our car, we just sat and looked at the ignition key, not certain as to whether we should turn it and risk sautéing ourselves, or just hitch hike for the rest of the way.

As it turns out, we managed to rumble into salubrious downtown Racine, Wisconsin several hours later, and once we had checked into our hotel, we made a pact with each other.
I promised that I would refrain from shredding the road maps, and threatening to perform an impromptu tonsillectomy on him, and he vowed that he would always check that the tank is full.

Now, we have some time to kick back and enjoy all the exciting things that Racine has to offer, and I can probably tell you all about those in one sentence. However, that is for another story.

I will sign off for now. We are going to take in a movie at the lovingly restored Racine Theater, (and when I say lovingly restored, they have recently put in seats.)

Currently showing, is the film “21 Dams,” (apparently the sequel to “21 Grams.") I am not quite sure of the plot, but the trailer states that it is a traumatic story, set in Minnesota, involving a former drug addict, a born again Christian and a terminally ill man, who meet through fate and go looking for beavers.

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