Traveling


I’m not a fan of the U.S. Interstate System. I do realise that it is supposedly an ingenious invention, for with the construction of these vast concrete mega roadways that ribbon across our country, we are now able to go almost anywhere we like in a fraction of the time. For most people, I’m sure that is a wondrous thing. I, on the other hand, mourn for the days when the words “road trip” meant more than just climbing into your vehicle and hitting the interstate; only seeing the road and other fellow interstaters. It meant a weeks worth of driving, and seeing what there was to see between points A and B. Things like a small town with it’s diners and two screen movie theatres…or better yet, a drive in. Or some rinky dink museum of sorts which boasts the world’s only rock that looks like Abraham Lincoln as its main attraction, or even a quaint little hotel in an even quainter town which claims that George Washington slept there. You know the places: the ones off the now beaten path that no one seems to happen upon anymore because we’re far too interested in getting to point B as quickly as possible. Gone are the days of Route 66 and the enjoyment in the getting there. They have been replaced by I-80 (or I-90, or I-5…) and our penchant toward instant gratification. It really is a very sad thing, and a direct result of our “fast food” culture, where what we want, we need now.

Unfortunately, when one does travel in this inordinately large country of ours, you almost have no choice but to utilse the Interstate System. As much as I abhor the whole mentality behind it, I too would prefer to get to point B in a speedy manner. Now, for me, it means 6 hours to New Hampshire with 11 fidgety and quite often surly children in the back of the van, as opposed to possibly 10 or more hours to New Hampshire with 11 excessively restless, angry, screaming children in the back of the van. So while my choice to go against my better judgment may seem hypocritical, my reasoning why is hopefully understandable. It is this reasoning that puts me in Vermont, on I-89 south as I write.

Usually, I find interstates to be very ugly and even gaudy with their overabundance of far too bright billboards. But this is not the case on the Vermont portion of I-89. Here, the interstate runs gracefully through the Green Mountains. They are all around you as you drive, rising up majestically wherever you look. From time to time, you might see a sleepy village, with a few roof tops or a church steeple poking up through the foresty carpet which seems to go on endlessly along the never ceasing mountainous terrain. . You pass over valleys with magnificent rivers running through them…with names like the Black River, the White River, the Winooski River, and the Lamoille River. You drive past meadows teaming with wildflowers, and wonder if you’re really going to see a bear or moose when you see the sign indicating that one should be watching for them for the next 3 miles or so. The views are breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely make the travel along the interstate much more bearable. It also doesn’t hurt that each and every rest stop has the ultimate in hospitality: a free cup of Green Mountain Coffee waits for each weary traveler in need of a pick me up. This in of itself would almost be enough for me to actually like this leg of the trip…almost, but not quite. I do love those views.

One of these days, before I leave these shores in favour of those of the “Emerald” kind, I will forgo this road and take my time on the one now less traveled. I’ll allow myself to take in the sights and sounds of each small town I find myself in, and finally see things at a leisurely pace rather than at a blur. But for now, as I travel New Hampshire bound, I will be grateful for the beauty around me…and for that cup of delicious coffee…even on this road far too traveled.

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I’m totally exhausted from the lovely 6+ hour ride with 11 kids in the back. 2 got sick…one of them twice. Loads of fun. Plus, since we hadn’t been up to New Hampshire for a while, we all of a sudden became very popular, and my social calendar was full the entire time. It’s always nice to be loved, isn’t it? Although I’m suffering for it now. I swear, I could sleep for a week.

Not much to say…the ride sucked, but the visit was wonderful. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, and getting back into our little routine (yikes! Did I just say that?). I actually wrote a few things while I was gone, so it’ll take me a day or two to get it all up. Well, it’s only 2 things. But even those couple of things helped to wile away the time as we drove.

More later…when I’m actually more coherent.

Tomorrow, we are heading out quite early for a mini vacation to New Hampshire. Well, it’s supposed to be quite early, but when you’re trying to get 13 people out the door, early very quickly becomes later. Everyone is required to go potty, and then head out to the van, but invariably there is someone that forgets to go and makes that known during the head count. So, with a sigh, I take said child into the house (after unlocking the door, since we were ready to pull out…), followed by 3 others that apparently didn’t get the potty memo either. By the time it’s all said and done, an hour has passed, and early has become later. It’s a never ending process, that’s for sure.

Today is Errand Day…otherwise known as the day before departure. There are always tons of things that need to be done before we embark upon a trip of this sort. Where we are going in New Hampshire is 6 hours away…not too terribly long, but long enough that we have to think about food to bring in the van. This means a special grocery shopping trip to get all the food necessary to keep the natives in the back of the van content…their contentedness is very important, and food seems to somewhat tame the savage spirit that dwells within each child. Thank goodness…stuffing their mouths with cookies and carrots prevents them from yelling at each other and asking me if we’re there yet after 5 minutes on the road. There really is a method to my madness. But anyway, back to my story (did I mention that there was a story? I may have forgotten…well, there is).

Along with the grocery shopping, I had to get a prescription before we left. It wasn’t life threatening if I didn’t get it, but despite it’s less than critical nature, I was determined that I should have it. Mr Izz was out with the car, and so all that was here was the big, HUGE 15 passenger van. I talked to the nurse at the doctor’s office, and found out that I needed to get the prescription and take it to the pharmacy myself. So, I call Mr Izz, who is at his mom’s in the completely opposite direction as the doctor’s office, getting some things from her. “You need to pick up my prescription” I tell him. “Are you insane? There’s no way I’m going all that way to get it. You have the van so you can go get it.” I fall silent. I have to drive the van to get my prescription. As I pondered this, my palms grew sweaty, and my heart began to race. “Are you sure you won’t be home in time?” I ask hopefully. “No! I’m not going to be home, so if you want it to be filled, you have to do it yourself.” I hang up the phone, after giving him a hasty goodbye, and start feeling very anxious. You see, I’m not fond of driving in general. This is a fact that is little known to anyone for I’ve kept it well hidden for years. Most people think that Mr Izz likes to go places with me and do all the driving (I’m thinking of changing my name to Miss Daisy, in fact…), and I’ve been content allowing them to think that way. I have gotten better over the years, though, and will drive the car when I need to and Mr Izz isn’t able to drive. But this is different. This is the van…did I mention that it’s huge? I’m totally afraid to drive it. In a big way. And yet, if I am to get this prescription, that’s exactly what I’m going to have to do.

My mind starts to race…maybe I really don’t need that prescription…after all, what’s a little bit of pain while I’m on vacation? Then, of course, I do realise how irrational that is. I do need the darn thing, and it’s only a van. Albeit a HUGE van…but a van nonetheless. So I grab my purse and my keys, and tell the kids that I’m taking the van out to get my prescription. The older Izzlets just look at me wide eyed…”Mom…are you sure you can drive it?” one of them asks with horror. “Of course,” I reply. “It’s only a van!” So, out I go, followed by a few children that seem to be awestruck by the fact that I’m actually going to drive the darn thing (maybe I hadn’t kept it a secret after all…). They gasp as I open the door and then again as I sit down and buckle up. As I turn the key in the ignition, they all look at me, with mouths agape. “Bye!” I say, cheerfully, and procede to back out of the driveway. Good grief, is that thing long! I’m certain that we bought the only model in existence that long. No one on earth has a van as long as ours…I’m convinced of it. But I back out without hitting the fence in the neighbour’s yard…yay me! And to make a long story shorter, I make it all the way to the doctor’s office, and then to the pharmacy, without incident.

As I pull into the driveway, the kids come running out and yelling. “You MADE it!!!” they exclaim with joy. Good grief…kids. You’d think they were worried or something. As if there was anything to worry about. I mean, I wasn’t worried. Well, not really. Maybe a little. Ok, a lot, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be in the end. Not that I want to go about town, cruising in that beast of a van. But I did have a sense of accomplishment knowing I had done something I really was afraid to do. Does this mean I’ll help Mr Izz with the driving tomorrow? Not if I don’t tell him that it went well…what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right? Besides, I really do kind of like being called “Miss Daisy”.