Right now I’m typing this blog as I sit in our hotel room for the night in Dillon, SC. We’ve driven about ½ the way to Jersey after getting a later than usual start this morning. We obliged the Beast and checked the post office to see if her Amazon order arrived. It had and she immediately started reading the next book in her Emma series. It’s always been a challenge to keep all 3 of my kids in reading materials over the years. Frankenbutt downloaded some books to the e-reader a few days ago so that the Beast could read during the long car ride. She finished them before we ever left the house. I can’t complain … there are worse things she could do.
We also stopped at Frankenbutt’s work place to place a quick order for a front pannier rack. During our last fully loaded ride, it became obvious that Frankenbutt has too much of the load. He has Coco (20 lbs) in her trailer (20 lbs) and the Beast’s race bike (20 lbs) on the rack he made especially for towing it. He also had two of the larger pannier bags on his rear rack. Unfortunately, he can’t have 2 of the smaller, lighter panniers because their required positioning ends up being in the path of his pedals. The better made, larger Jandd panniers have cutaways at the bottom of each pannier to accommodate for even large clipped in feet. The problem lies in that those larger panniers naturally are more loaded and heavier than our smaller personal panniers. So, we’ll see if we can correct that by shifting the larger panniers to my rear bike rack and adding 2 kitchen/food panniers to the new rack we plan to put on the front of my bike. More about that later.
After filling with diesel fuel, setting the GPS for my mom’s address, we finally got moving down the road. We all fell into our usual positions. Frankenbutt was driving, I was on the Blackberry checking emails, the Beast was in the back seat reading and Coco was snuggled up next to her. I didn’t realize that within seconds, the tone for today’s road trip would be set.
I heard Coco snortle and then she bounded over the front bench seat and settled in next to me. About the same time, I heard the Beast whisper, “excuse me”. I went about checking emails when it hit me. About that same time, Frankenbutt and I looked at each other in horror and dove for the down buttons on our windows. We both leaned out into the wind gasping for fresh air. The Beast continued to read murmuring “Sorry” every few seconds.
I shouldn’t be surprised; it runs in the family. When Captain Oblivious (my oldest child) was around 10 years old, he developed an ungodly gas problem! We are a family that deals with most everything in our world with humor. We harassed him for his ability to clear a room, we issued toxic cloud warnings, and we demanded that he warn us immediately while putting the window down whenever he had his own toxic meltdown.
During one road trip to Williamsburg, VA, we offered to pick up my mom up from her sister’s house in Richmond, VA and save her a train trip back to Philly. After her goodbyes to Aunt Lucy, she climbed into our Astro van and sat next to her first born grandson, while the Editor sat on the rear bench. Since we had recently cleared the air of Captain Oblivious’ gas weapon, we warned “Grammy” that she was in a danger zone. We made all our regular barbs and Captain Oblivious giggled right along with us but Grammy didn’t like us “picking on” her grandbaby. She put her arm around him and told him how she knew that we were being unfair; that her sweet boy couldn’t do anything like we had all described in flowery detail. As we rode down the road, we heard Captain Oblivious give the warning and we all dove for our window cranks … all except Grammy, who was telling funny stories about her sister.
She stopped mid-sentence and gasped. “Oh dear Lord! What in the world is that smell?” We could barely hear her over all the air rushing in through every possible opening of the van. Frankenbutt calmly said, “that’s Captain Oblivious, your sweet grandson.” By now, my mom was frantically waving her hand in the air, desperately trying to clear the toxic green cloud that attacked her sinuses. In her heaviest southern accent, she said to him, “what is wrong with you? Are you sick? Do you need Papa to pull over?” Captain Oblivious looked a bit embaressed and was snickering at the same time. When he didn’t respond with a reasonable answer, my mom then turned to me and said, “Dear God, you’ve got to get this boy to a DOCTOR! I think something has crawled up inside of him and DIED!”
As those words flew from her mouth, so did Frankenbutt’s coffee from his own mouth. We laughed so hard, we could barely speak for 5 minutes. Then my mom suggested we all pray about the situation … which honestly, made us laugh again. Not to be disrespectful of my mother’s southern Baptist upbringing, but I seriously couldn’t imagine God hearing that prayer and rushing to solve it before he solved world hunger!
So, today’s road trip brought back funny and smelly memories. We giggled about several other situations en route and took turns snoozing, snacking and cruising the radio stations. By the time we stopped for dinner, we were all pretty tired of sitting in the car. Although Zaxby’s wasn’t our first choice for dinner, it was there and we were hungry. Frankenbutt walked the dog and checked the straps holding the VW onto the UHaul tow dolly while the Beast and I ordered our meals.
They gave us our drink cups and the Beast started filling hers while I gathered condiments, straws and napkins. Frankenbutt joined us at the fountain area in time to catch the Beast’s drink cup incident. After filling it, she attempted to set it on the counter top at the same time as she reached for the lid. The bottom edge of the cup caught the top edge of the counter and soda flew across the counter top. Our first impulse was to giggle … all 3 of us. The Beast was blushing and apologizing (and trying not to giggle) and the restaurant attendant assured her it was fine and assisted her with the clean up.
We made our way to a booth and started to eat dinner and discuss all kinds of stuff, much of it peppered with loopy comments. As we finished up, we sorted who was keeping their drink and refilling it and who was tossing the trash. As the Beast stood up, her elbow hooked her newly filled drink cup and made an EPIC spill! This time soda flew across the table and at least a 5’ swath of the floor beside our table. The Beast looked terrified and we laughed. She looked a little less scared and apologized profusely as the folks at the next table announced, “clean up, aisle 5”.
The Beast said, “what do we do?” I calmly said, “We’ve caused enough trouble here. We need to get out of here. NOW!” Frankenbutt agreed, dumped our trash, and alerted the staff to the spill as we all hurried for the door. We laughed out loud outside and hassled the Beast about her graceful nature. Her only response: a stinker! Luckily, it was before we got into the confined cab of the truck!
Today’s thought: During a bike road trip, at least the air clears quickly and you can ride away from whatever invades your space.