Thursday, September 27, 2012

Go West Young Man

It’s starting to feel a lot like Fall out there, I’m pretty excited.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.  One of my other favorite things is long distance driving in a box van.  If you follow me on twitter then you already know this, but a friend of mine moved from here, Valley Alabama, to Colorado Springs, CO a few weeks back.  My bride, being the caring, loving and giving person that she is, volunteered me to drive our friend’s belongings to CO for her.  Another friend was recruited and so we formed J&C Moving Co, where our motto is, “J&C Moving Co., we’re a lot like you’re prom date, real cheap and a little dirty”.
I must admit that I was pretty excited about making this drive.  For one, I got to drive through some cities and states that I’ve never visited before, and two, I knew it would be a great time making the drive with Mr. J of J&C moving Co.
Google maps told us it was going to take us around 24 hours to complete the drive, we had about a day and a half to complete the journey, so challenge accepted.  Our plan was to leave around 3:00 AM that Friday morning, and drive until around 8:00 or 9:00 PM, which should put us around Salina KS.  On paper, and Google maps, our timing should be spot on, but in Bridget the Budget the truck, not so much.  It took us a few hours longer to complete our first leg, and about 28 total hours to complete the trip.  
We hit the road around 3:15 am Friday morning and started our journey out west.  To make the trip more exciting we decided that we wouldn’t use Google Maps, Map Quest, or GPS.  We were going old school.  We stopped at rest stops and picked up free maps every time we entered a new state.  Now we know how Columbus felt, because there was nothing but vast nothingness when one map ran out and we hadn’t been able to stop to get the next map.  We also found that some of the maps weren’t quite correct as they had roads listed that were still under construction.  Where the map showed us merging onto an interstate, the onramp hadn’t been built yet.  Our solution?  Get off at the next exit and just start heading in the direction we think will get us on the correct road.  This spawned J&C’s next motto, “Excellence by accident” as we happened upon our road after a few narrow back roads and a couple of miles.
Our next excitement building task was to get random people to pose for pictures with us in the back of the truck.  This wasn’t all that well thought out.  People apparently will run when you ask them if they’d like to come and take some pictures with you on a couch in the back of a moving van.  But seriously, why did EVERYONE seem to think my name was “Stranger Danger”.  That’s just a terrible name and my parents should have been shot if they named me that!
Some of our more burly trucker friends weren’t as concerned and gladly hoped in the back of our box van for a photo op.  Maybe we were the ones that should have been concerned…
We also set a goal for ourselves that wouldn’t eat any chain restaurants, no McDonald’s, No Burger King, all mom and pop or local joints.  Diners, Drive in and Dives style.  Well around 4:50 am on Friday morning our stomach were talking to us, and there aren’t too many Mom and pop joints open at that hour.  So two hours into the journey we’d blown that goal.  We had to stop at the 24 hour drive thru of McDonald’s.  We did stop at a hole in the wall BBQ joint in Arkansas, but  by the time we stopped in Kansas the nice lady at America’s Best Value informed us that everything was either closing or closed except for the IHOP.  So IHOP it was, and the goal was trashed.
I don’t know if any of you guys have driven through Kansas, but we heard horror stories about it.  “Every time you see a gas station you need to stop and fill up, no matter how much gas you have.  You never know when you’ll see another gas station.”, “Might as well drive through KS at night because there’s nothing to see there.”, “KS is just a flat nothingness.”  Let me clear some of these rumors up, Bridget the Budget truck is here to tell you that KS is not all flat.  In fact, KS is a slow grade climb at just enough of an incline to keep Bridget from maintaining a constant speed.  Next, there are PLENTY of petrol stations in KS.  Even getting 9 miles to the gallon we were never worried about running out due to the lack of petrol stations.  If you were to drive through KS at night you would have missed the awesome billboard with Abe Lincoln and dinosaurs.  You would have also missed the Beautiful fields of sunflowers, the 3 foot tall donkey, and the roadside signs planted by the worlds angriest Christian.
The people of Oklahoma were the main trash talkers about KS, and from what I could tell, they have no room to talk smack.  OK was very flat and pretty boring.
Probably the highlight of our trip was around 4:30am on Friday morning as we were listening to some unknown radio station.  The song that was playing suddenly cuts out.  Silence, dead air, nothingness, the cardinal sin in radio.  Before we can reach up and start looking for a new station, the greatest moment in radio history happens.  The DJ’s mic is on and he has no idea.  We sat and listened to this DJ lose his job for close to an hour.  I know he violated several FCC regulations due to his colorful use of the English language, as well as admitting that he is currently cheating on his wife/girlfriend.  He also stated that he should write a book on cheating because he was so good at it.  We named our friend, Fired DJ.  Fired DJ had other classic lines that we’re not quite sure what they were in reference too since we could only hear one side of the conversation.  There was another person in the room that probably lost their job too.
Only two negative parts to our adventure, the first one was when we drove through Arkansas we were greeted by Hurricane Isaac and a lot of road work.  The second bad part of the trip was that our friend’s apartment was on the 3rd floor.  Hauling a persons belongings up three flights of stairs in the thin CO air is not a good time.