Monday, April 21, 2008

Missing Pieces: Part I: Travelogue

153 miles. Just 153 miles. It should take about 3 hours. Or so I thought. 5 1/2 long, long (did I mention long?) hours later I pulled into my beautiful bed and breakfast to begin my women's conference weekend.

-5 1/2 hours earlier-

To cross the Sousa bridge, I live in the DC area, I had only to travel 8 miles. 8 little miles. An hour later, I just crossed to the other side. I was so desperate I called my brother in L.A. to get on Mapquest and get me out of there. It seems my directions were missing any details on how I could go around the construction with the signs warning, "25 minute delay ahead". Like the levels of hell in Dante's Inferno, the signs detailed my stay in the purgatorially slow traffic on 295. "20 minute delay ahead" (this just an hour from my home). "15 minute delay ahead" You get the picture.

-3 1/2 hours earlier-

Baltimore and its suburbs, I am sure, are beautiful. A great place to live. Why, oh why, did ALL the people that live there take off early THIS particular Friday? And why, oh why, did they ALL need to go in the same direction as I did? No, that's not me banging my head against the steering wheel, that is some other pathetic travelin' soul.

-2 hours earlier-

Harrisburg. The land of the lost. The lost being me. I am lost in a sea of stalled traffic wherein 6 lanes must merge into one. Though the 2 miles of scrap yard were fun to look at, I was reminded of the Transformers Movie, my son's current obsession. As I crawled through traffic, apparently every commuter in Harrisburg likes this back road too, I imagined Bumble Bee rising from the pieces to bat away all the cars stopped in front of me. No banging this time, just a few choice words and several loud renditions of the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. I will love you.....Until my dying day....or when I get out traffic, you get the idea.

-1 hour earlier-

The sign read, "slow 20 mph" with an arrow pointing right. Thankfully I did slow as the road before me simply ended. It was the tightest curve I had yet to navigate in the SUV and the steepest cliff to my right. I can handle 8 lanes of beltway traffic moving at 90+ miles an hour but this country road with the cliff to the right made me sweat.


Apparently the yet another missing piece on this journey would be from my carefully Googled directions. Did you know most roads in this part of the country are named after the family living on them? Did you also know my B&B is not on the Amish farm into which I pulled in (falsely) ecstatic to have arrived? My first clue things were wrong, the children running barefoot through the mud. My first suburban, modern mom thought, "Those children really will have a hard time getting their feet clean tonight before bed." Thought #2, "I am really not in DC anymore!" In calling the B&B they too had no idea where I was. However, if I just continued to drive down the main road (the only road), I would come by the place. I would know it by the black cows grazing in the front yard. Cows.In.The.Front.Yard.

-Destination, Part Deux-

Ah, here at last. I love the smell of fresh manure on a fine Spring evening. I also love the view of a shirtless farm hand. I don't love the view of said shirtless wonder's 'Pa' bending over to fix the tractor....shudder. In my room, a very coordinated boudoir(by very coordinated I mean EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY THING had a peachy color to it), were warnings not to touch the electrical fences and to look carefully before pulling out because tractors do drive everywhere.

Epilogue to the Travelogue
I'm here, but my soap is in my bathroom 5 1/2 hours away. Great. I shower with the sample size bottle of baby soap I find in the deep recesses of my travel bag. I now smell like Grins and Giggles. Before leaving my room for the first session of the conference, I check the directions from the B&B to the church. What if they too are wrong and are missing pieces of roads?

As I remove the dead, ginormous bee from my front seat (dear God, even my car is a haven for living things on this stinky farm!), I hear horns blaring from the road. Speeding past at 100 miles an hour is the caravan of people I know attending the conference. I burn rubber, scare the cows and peel out of the driveway to follow, narrowly missing Pa in his tractor. I don't want to be later than I already am, there are too many missing pieces to find.

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