Wooo-wee. Last week was the most un-vacationy vacation ever. What started as an impromptu romp across three states to check in with family turned into a huge work day...then two...then three...then SIX.
West Virginia was the place of my birth, but I moved to Ohio as a child and then slid to the great state of Tennessee.
This year officially marks the point in time where I can say I've lived in Tennessee longer than any other state. There are many perks of living here. The climate is moderate, the people ooze friendly and there's way more colleges than necessary. Sometimes you skip seasons here, which is pretty cool. You can go from winter to summer in the same week. In other years, winter is more like a rainy season and no one complains that they were "winter gypped." Kind people sweeten your tea for you and look at you like you're crazy if you want to do that yourself. Festivals celebrate the biscuit (true story...we have a Biscuit Festival). The Smoky Mountains are beautiful and easy to find - just drive toward them. We have Dollywood. DOLLYWOOD, people.
In spite of all that, I miss the Midwest and the ethnic melting pot that was my hometown and it's nice to visit.
Here are some post-roadtrip observations and revelations:
- If Tennessee, Kentucky or Ohio are serious about interstate travel, someone needs to tell the road crews. Nothing is more discouraging than being five hours into a road trip, otherwise known as the numb-butt phase, when suddenly the freeway is more like a parking lot.
- Gonzo cannot stomach road kill (no, we weren't eating it). Funny thing about not wanting to look at something gross: your brain confuses the message. You're telling it "don't look at raccoon carnage" and your brain processes that as "look intently and don't miss any details that might make you retain your lunch."
- There's an ungodly amount of large roadkill in Kentucky and Ohio. If you are one of the many good intentioned animal lovers who feed wildlife, I'd like to suggest you spike your deer feed with Prozac or Zoloft. Bambi has a death wish.
- Nauseated teenagers don't find anything about roadkill humorous; I tried ("Hey, who turned that thing inside out?" or "Who had a grenade for lunch?"). All the rules about the hilarity of incongruous or ridiculous deadpan comments don't apply, apparently.
- In light of the previous three comments, we observed that Ohio has a ridiculous amount of buzzards and they're circling the entire southern half of the state.
- The CIA may be following me. It's the only explanation I have for the same two or three vehicles traveling with me the whole way, even after we would stop for lunch. If it was a dark panel van, I'd say that I'm certain it was a covert operation, but as it is I am just highly suspicious. Now I have to figure out what I've done. I mean, I did pull off the mattress tag but I didn't really think it was that big of a deal. My bad.
- Tennessee, you could lure the whole state of Ohio down here if you'd just get a decent deli. Oy vey, what you're doing to corned beef down there is a crime. I do a great impression of the local grocery cashier's face when I said the word "pierogi." After I said it three times, he informed me that there was no such thing in Tennessee. He was right.
- Every year, things get smaller in my hometown - especially my mom's house. Did five people and a dog really live in that house? Why is it that I didn't think of the bedrooms as small? The house I grew up in had three bedrooms and they were totally adequate. Fast forward to today: as I look for a smaller house, I wouldn't consider buying a house with bedrooms that same size.
- Ohio's roads make Tennessee's roads look fabulous. I'll never complain again. Potholes were so prevalent that I didn't let Gonzo drive and that was one of the main reasons I took him along! In retrospect, I should have let him experience it since he'll probably never get to drive on the moon (the most similar terrain).
- Want to keep a seat belt on a kid for life? Drive past a wreck where a passenger was thrown from his vehicle. No joke. Emergency personnel had not yet arrived and the poor guy was getting chest compressions right there in the middle of the road. Heartbreaking!
- I never want to eat out again.
Lastly, my bed is awesome and I'm glad I'm sleeping there tonight.