2018-03-14 / Loose Ends

Up North

Road trip hazards
Susan Nienow

Packing for another road trip – going north as usual. I don’t really like to make this trip during the winter. We pack for the worst – snowmageddon. The forecast from here to there is temperatures in the low 40s and upper 30s with a snow possibility on Sunday.

My other half assures me that the bad weather on Sunday will all be south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and may be rain. Nevertheless, I have packed a hat, gloves, boots, spare clothes, an extra blanket, protein bars and bottles of water. I will only regret it when I get home and have to unpack all of it.

For as many trips north as we have made since we got married and moved here in 1971 we should have enough “stories” to write a book. We only have two that I remember, and I am only telling one of them. Decades ago, before we had the kids, we were making the trip north, and it was snowing like crazy, dark and past time to get a motel room.

We stopped and were turned away from the brand-name motel – no rooms left, so we drove on to one of the locally owned, smaller motels. We got the last room and felt bad for the people behind us in line. Just not bad enough to give up our room. Exhausted, we fell into bed and went right to sleep. Some time later when it was still dark, an air raid siren went off right over our heads.

After we peeled ourselves off the ceiling and checked to make sure our hearts were still beating, we realized that in this very small town they were still using an air raid siren to summon the volunteer firemen to an accident on the turnpike, and the siren was on the roof of the motel. It would have been nice to have been forewarned.

Since then the only things we have noticed are when a farmer paints his barn or there’s another wind farm on a hill. The scenery is the same, not counting the seasonal changes in vegetation.

Assuming there are no weather or traffic events, we should arrive about nine hours after we start. We try to get off before rush hour here and sometimes make it. I am the one who is chronically late. You would think after this many years my other half would have learned to add a half hour to the leave time so he wouldn’t have to tap his foot for so long.

I am taking a large stack of magazines with me to finish so I can leave them at the senior living facility where my mother’s apartment is located. My other half is tolerant of my magazine addiction. If I want to haul them 500 miles to get rid of them, he’s on board with that. Besides, the added weight in the back of the car will give us extra traction if we have snow.

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