Going Nowhere Fast

As you know, we headed out west for Jackie’s wedding directly after work. The last time we drove to Care Bear’s house it took us 22 hours. So I’ve been anticipating a 22 hour drive. We punched Care Bear’s address into the Garmin and let it calculate the map. Eighteen hours, it told us. I looked at the estimated time of arrival and said, “That’s not 22 hours.”

Mark said: “That’s not 22 hours.”

Matt said: “That’s not 22 hours.”

Ann said: “That’s not 22 hours.”

I could go on because there were seven of us in the vehicle. For some reason, they thought it was funny to mimic me.

That was the last bit of hilarity we had on our trip for the next twenty hours.

The Garmin told me to go up I29, hang a left on IA-2, then hook up with I80 shortly before we hit Lincoln, Nebraska. Now, I never go out west on that part of I80. I always head out I70 and hang a right at Denver and take a left at Cheyenne. As I was driving up I29 I kept thinking, “This is all wrong.” It felt so abnormal to me that I was nervous. Of course, I’m always nervous whenever I rely on the Garmin for directions. I’m an old school kinda gal and prefer to hold a map in my hand. I want to see the whole picture in one shot. Mark gives me a fair amount of crap for not believing what the bitch says. Oh, uh, sorry. The Garmin says. So up I29 we headed, in a completely opposite direction that I felt we should be going.

The thing I love about the Garmin is that it tells me the number of miles to my next turn-off, and keeps an up-to-date Estimated Time of Arrival. And, dammitalltohell if that “estimated” time isn’t accurate! It’s a game that I play with myself. Trying to shave off time from the estimated. For what it’s worth, each stop for gas takes about fifteen minutes. Pretty much on the money for that amount of time, but I’ve always made up the time once we got back on the road.

I’m religiously watching the “miles to next turn-off” number and had 20 miles before my next exit when I saw the blockades. The road was closed and there was a detour. I’m trying to remain completely hinged as I pull off the road and head EAST to follow the detour, but the further east we headed, the more unhinged I became. I could feel my blood pressure rising. Mark was making bi-minute updates, “It’s now put us back 10 minutes.” “20 minutes.” “30 minutes.” Yet we continued to drive the completely wrong direction. All the while Ms. Garmin was saying, “Recalculating. Recalculating.” I had to mute her because it was clear that she didn’t know that the road was closed because she kept trying to convince me to turn around and head back to I29. The only thing that I can figure is that the road must have been awfully close to the Missouri River and it was flooded. I did not one time take into consideration the flooding that the Iowa/Nebraska/Missouri border has been dealing with when I was planning my trip. Where I live, it’s been clear as a bell. The river is high, but not over its banks. At the risk of sounding horribly selfish, the reason that we’ve been fine is thanks to a couple of levee breaks up river. Apparently, this did not spare the people at the junction that where I needed to exit. So we drove. And drove. And drove!

The blue is the route Ms. Garmin said to take. The red is the route we had to take to get across the Missouri River. Hmmm. Looks like Texas!

When all was said and done, it added an hour and a half to our trip. Considering that we didn’t leave home until 5:15pm, every minute wasted was a precious minute lost.

We drove through construction zone after construction zone after construction zone on I80. Every zone we went through I would be agitated. One of the reasons that I decided to go up to I80 was because I knew that there was construction on I70 and was hoping to avoid it by going further north. Next time I guess I should google what the traffic restrictions and hang ups are before I leave.

Aside from the irritating construction, we made it clear through to Cheyenne without incident. It was early morning and I was driving. Everyone else in the car was asleep except Ann who was awesomely keeping me company while I drove. We came upon an exit off the highway that a semi was coming down, trying to merge into traffic. There was another full size van not getting out of the way. From my view, it looked like the semi had room to pull onto the highway in front of the van. I was in the other lane when the semi made its move. It damned near side-swiped the van in the lane next to me and he swerved right into my lane, nearly side-swiping me. I swerved onto the shoulder of the road and gunned it to avoid being hit. Ann may have shit herself because it was her side of the vehicle that was in harm’s way. The sudden swerving of the vehicle and the sound of me laying on the horn woke up all the other passengers in my vehicle. Once the WTFs and OMGs had settled down I explained what had happened. I’ll tell ya, that’ll get your heart racing.

Then. THEN!!! We pulled off at a rest area to take a potty break and saw some very cute prairie dogs. Of course, I had to snap some pictures before I went in to go pee. When I came back out, the kids pointed out this ghastly site!

(not Mark…look on top of the car behind him.)

I laughed because it is an odd place to strap down a dog crate, but the kids said, “No, Mom. The dog was RIDING IN IT!!!!!” They saw the owner open up the crate and let the dog out to go potty. Blow my freaking mind! Who does that??  I snapped a picture and then headed off with my camera for this:

The cutest little prairie dogs.  Melissa and Michelle were determined to pet them. They sauntered over there quite casually and squatted down. Holding their hands out, they were actually able to pet the prairie dogs. They must be fairly used to people. As soon as the girls touched them, they scampered off.  They both squeeeeeeed!!!!

After twenty hours in the vehicle, Care Bear’s house was a welcome site!! Hopefully our trip home will be a little less eventful.

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