Monday, March 31, 2008

Where do 4 Wheelers go at Night?

We quickly realized, as we started our trip back to Indiana in our toad, that we have done little long distance driving in the USA outside of an RV. (Strictly speaking, we have a frog - Four Rolling On Ground - not a toad, which is a backronym for Two On A Dolly. In any event, it's that little clunker that follows the coach everywhere)
Back in the old country, of course, there is no such thing as long distance driving since the whole place is only about the size of Alabama. Worse yet, the longest drive we had taken in the toad (a Saturn Vue) had been occasional emergencies - ice cream procurement or
Outback Steakhouse therapy, that sort of thing. Driving nearly 1200 miles in this woeful little machine is certainly not for the faint of heart!
Roadside feeding is also a crap-shoot. The only constant is that the same basic four food groups - fat, starch, cholesterol and salt - are always on offer in a variety of branded disguises. Bio-breaks are yet another excruciating "off-road" experience with adventures into swampy grottoes adorned with wet paper towels and other, even less inviting artifacts. In reality, even the acquisition of a glass of water, a cup of tea or a cold soda is elevated to the level of a carefully planned excursion into the hinterland of such magnitude, that dehydration quickly becomes the preferred alternative. To make matters even worse, each of these forays into the DMZ results in a loss of twenty minutes or more, making daily progress miserably slow.
The ultimate terror, what to do when it gets dark? No more locating a convenient Wal-Mart on the Internet and setting the GPS to head there. Instead, there are volumes of visitor reviews of stays at various of America's finest roadside motels. Noted features include sticky carpets, freeway noise, trains passing every ten minutes, eccentric plumbing, strange stains, large insects stumbling around, curious odors, hostile staff, no functioning air conditioner and many other unexpected thrills for the innocent traveler to discover. Checking in was a little bizarre as well, since we had no formal baggage, just armfuls of computers, cameras, GPSs - each with its yards of entrails and dangling connectors - and, as a hurried afterthought, a couple of grocery sacks containing needed personal items.
Even so, the
Interstate motel scene was quite interesting. Many old geezers like ourselves leisurely roving around the country (most well heeled enough to have real luggage), "new-lifers" hauling their old life behind them in U-Haul rentals, coach loads of of sports retards traveling to or from their latest vandal gathering and regular families with their 2.4 kids burning off a day's energy screaming along the corridors and slamming doors. A challenging slice of Americana.
And the evening meal? You guessed it, another selection from the four food groups. If there is an upside to this regime, it is that each meal probably moves one a week closer to the big cash register in the sky, ultimately eliminating the need to travel, sooner rather than later.
Despite these horrors, there are a few pluses to
four-wheeler travel. You can get in and out of every parking lot, find somewhere to park in almost every little burg, buy fuel at any gas station (sometimes more than once a day!) and back track easily to visit unexpected features that sometimes flash by. The azaleas and their butterfly sex-slave was one such stop that would have been impracticable in the big rig.
Our conclusion from this rude awakening is to devise ways in which we can reduce the pain on our return trip to Lazy Days at the end of June to pick up our new coach. Two things for sure, we will be so grateful to have our home on wheels back again and will forever regard four wheelers with a new level of pity!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is hard to believe that you, Pete, let the city slickers of Lazy Days talk you into a two for one deal I honestly thought better of you. Know you will enjoy your new coach and obviously you will get a good return on your investment via the Crown Club and the RV Park there. Guess when Marion is happy the whole family is happy.