THINGS I’VE LEARNED ON THE ROAD…….

So far, I’m having a ball. But have learned so much in the last several days.

1) The part of Utah I drove through may be some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen — huge red statues for miles and miles that no man could have ever created. I must have said, “Wow” a hundred times, and there was more than one “Thelma and Louise” moment when I almost lost track of where the road was…..

however, it’s time for man to step up and add a few things…..like exits. Exits with servics. Don’t they want us to stay and enjoy the beautiful territory?  Or get gas? Or feed us? Evidently not.

If driving through Utah you see a sign that says, “No services for 115 miles….No Bull,” believe it.  Unfortunately, that sign was right AFTER the last exit for 115 miles.

That was fine with me, because “little car” can go six hours without being fed. And I figured that exit was too early to stop for the night, so another 90 minutes would have been just about right. Unfortunately, the next several services AFTER the 115 miles were tiny service stations; some of which had closed for the night. I was into Colorado before I found a motel.

2) If there has been no motel for about 3.5 hours, the hotels in Fruita, Colorado (where there were no fruit stands, damn it. I really wanted some fresh fruit) can charge whatever the hell they want.

3) At least for me, it’s probably not a good idea to drive a full day on a diet of suckers and popcorn — even if they are organic and from Trader Joe’s.  My bad.

4) We had lived in Denver for four years between ’83 & the end of ’87. My ex had training and eventually was stationed at Lowry AFB, and we divorced there. That’s just one of the reasons I love Colorado so much.

I’d forgotten how much I love that beautiful state…..where else can you go skiing in the morning and swim in the afternoon? And know that as long as the mountains are either on your left or your right, depending on where you’re going, you’re headed in the right direction.

I was in sales back  then and when burn out hit, all it took was a trip to Estes Park or Echo Lake or Breckenridge or Georgetown, and by the end of the day, I was fine.  I found myself calling Greek Life departments at University of Denver, Colorado State and University of Colorado to see if they had any house director openings for fall.  I could so live there again. And Peggy and I could see each other more often than every 10 years.

5) If I cover myself in Lidoderm patches — literally — three on my right leg (plus ankle brace), one on left knee, and one on right hip,(don’t tell my doctor — I’m only suposed to use 3 a day) and take a Vicodin, I can drive without too much pain. Once they’re taken off, however……..

6) Regardless of how many years it’s been since I saw an M & M with nuts, and in spite of the fact that I’ve been eating healthy for so long, the damned things jump into my hand — by the handful. And if they’re in a Cosco-sized bag, I’m in big trouble. There may have been a day when that was all I ate until Peggy yelled at me and fixed me a healthy grilled-cheese sandwich with spinich….but I think I had some more M & M’s for dessert.  I was a very bad girl.

7) I don’t sleep well the night before I’m going to be driving. The night before leaving Peggy’s, I didn’t get to sleep until 3 or 4 am…..and the painters next door started clanging and banging at about 7am.

For the first time in the history of Ann driving (and there were times I used to get in the car in Omaha and not stop except to get a Coke, go to the bathroom, and fill up the tank between there and Charleston, WV — about  a 20-hour drive) I acknowledged I was too tired to drive and stopped by the side of the road for a power nap.

And though I probably could have made it all the way to Oklahoma City last night, I stopped for the night. However, I have no idea where I am.  Driving east from Denver, once there are no longer mountains in the rear-view mirror, there is nothing. NOTHING for scenery.  I may be in Nebraska. Or Kansas. Or Iowa. Hell, I may even be in Oklahoma. But I may as well put the car on cruise control and take a nap, because as long as the front end is in alignment and I don’t run out of gas, the car can just keep going straight and within the speed limit, and it doesn’t need me. I could stop at Costco and pick up peanut M & M’s and a good book.

So until tomorrow when I’ll have much more wisdom to share, be safe out there.