A Day in the Car

Friday morning I left for a long-planned weekend trip to Lexington, VA for a cousin’s wedding. I should’ve known that the weekend might not go exactly according to plan when my alarm malfunctioned. I woke on my own, opened one eye and saw light. “Hmmm…that can’t be good,” I thought. You see, the alarm was set for 4:45. I woke up at 5:16. But exactly frantic 51 minutes later, we were on the road…only 5 minutes late.

The drive through east Tennessee and Virginia were full of beautiful scenery and we arrived well in time for the rehearsal dinner followed by a luncheon the next day and, of course, the wedding and reception on Saturday night. The bride was lovely. The groom was handsome. And my cousin, the mother of the bride, was unflappable–at least on the outside.

We set our departure time for 8 Sunday morning.

About 6:30 I turned on CNN to hear that a section of I-40 was closed. I quickly reasoned that I-40 stretches from coast to coast and the odds that this stretch was one that we would travel are exceedingly low. I should’ve taken those odds because the 10-mile stretch was just about the half-way point of our journey home. To make matters worse, traffic was being diverted from Knoxville down to Chattanooga and then to Nashville on I-24–about 2 hours out of our way.

Let the fun begin. Herewith, a timeline of the day.

8:00–leave our hotel in Lexington, VA (484 miles from Franklin, according to Tom Tom.)

8:01–stop at 7/11 for diet cokes and diet pepsis

9:00–call niece in Chattanooga to see if she can suggest alternate route

9:30–pit stop #1–also buy gas because car’s owner doesn’t like to go below a 1/4 tank

10:03–start searching maps for alternate route that will help avoid Chattanooga

10:22–attempt to call husband in China to see what he would do. Evidently direct dialing to China is not included on my Verizon plan–attempt failed

10:45–pit stop #2 and driver exchange

10:47–torrential downpour starts

11:30–pit stop #3 at Tennessee Welcome Center. Also attempt to find out more about the situation ahead. Attempt failed.

12:14–decide to create our own detour and avoid Chattanooga by taking the “old road,” — Hwy. 70.

12:51–pit stop #4,  buy more gas because needle was hovering dangerously close to the half-empty line.

1:00–drive near interstate and see traffic going in both directions. Yippee we think–they reopened it. Get on I-40 feeling very smug. Forced off at next exit. Smugness gone.

1:02–Tom Tom GPS just up and dies. My theory is that it knew what was ahead and didn’t want any part of it.

1:03–interviewed by local tv talking with motorists stopped along the road. Noticed a couple of hours later that I had poppyseeds stuck in my teeth from homemade cookies. That’s just great. Nothing better that speckled teeth when you’re on tv. But am assured by sister that cookies came after the interview.

1:05-3:30–an exercise in patience as we navigate curvy mountian roads in bumper to bumper traffic. Remember that we have forgotten to eat lunch and wonder about the feasibilty of having a pizza delivered to the side of the road. Try to remember that we are almost at the end of the detour while the cars coming toward us were just beginning.

3:30–finally make it on to I-40. Figure that even with all our traffic, we were better off than going to Chattanooga.

3:55–5th and final pit stop

4:00–Tom Tom is miraculouly healed and decides to start working again. Nice to know I can rely on it when the going gets tough.

5:30–Home sweet home. At last.

Cutting the grass can wait ’til tomorrow.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “A Day in the Car

  1. Little Sister

    Pretty good time line except for the fact that the departure time you listed was eastern. So actually we were in the car from 7 until 530! Pretty good that I did not cuss one time! Not even when I was driving up the mountain and that lady in the back seat was questioning us about whether we were going in the right direction.

  2. hereinfranklin

    That’s why you shouldn’t pick up hitchhikers.

  3. Beck

    Glad you made it – but still think you should have gone through Chattabubba ( as I suggested at 8:30 this morning) – may have taken the same amount of time but at least you would have kept moving…………..that’s always a good thing in our car at least.

  4. Niece Lash

    Sounded like a whole lot of fun and some good bonding time as well. Too bad I was not invited.

  5. hereinfranklin

    Wish you had been there, too. Vivi will make a beautiful flower girl in a year or two!

  6. Mother

    i was the lady in the back seat of MY car who really worked real hard to keep her mouth shut -except I didnt want to end up sitting on the side of the rode with an empty gas tank. The drivers were correct about our direction – as usual)

  7. hereinfranklin

    You were an exemplary passenger and it was a fun trip despite the traffic.

  8. Julie Fisher

    Well!!! If you had just remembered to take me with you, I could have reminded you about my favorite song, “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

  9. I am exhaused after only having read your story. Man oh man, it’s time for a nap. 🙂

  10. Niece Julie

    Had you decided to detour to Chatt – I would have had lunch ready for you….but thankfully you braved 40 and made it home just fine!

  11. hereinfranklin

    Shoot–If we’d know there was a possiblity of lunch we would’ve headed your way. Next time I’m detoured to Chattanooga I’m expecting some homemade chicken salad!

  12. Tammy Jamison

    I would have gladly been stuck with you for some of those poppyseeds to be stuck in my teeth. Sounds like the lady in the back seat provided some of those delicious lemon cookies that would be good for a week stuck in traffic. : ) Yum

  13. hereinfranklin

    The cookies were DELISH!

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