Beyond The Pale

Where I’ve Been This Last Month — Part 2

I had guard duty today. That was nice, I guess, sitting out in the sun reading and writing in my journal. My arms are fairly well toasted though, as are the tops of my knees.

Dad and I rolled out of Monterey a little bit before 1:00 pm. I was driving; seeing as it was my junk that we were about to drag across the country, I figured that the least I could do was take the first shift. We took the southern route through the mountains because when we were planning, we didn’t know whether or not there was going to be storms further north, not having traveled through that part of the country often before.

There was a restaurant about 6 hours from our starting point called Tom’s that Andrea and her mom had eaten at on their way through about a year ago, and we made a hard push to get there in time for dinner. Andrea had loved the place, and I promised her that I would do everything I could to try to get to eat there. We made it about 7:30, after driving through some of the prettiest brown countryside that I’ve seen (though a green corn field does more for me than the most beautiful desert in the world), and some pretty cool wind fields. Dad wondered why some were spinning and others weren’t, and we finally decided that it must be because the ones that weren’t were down for some kind of maintenance.

Tom’s Burgers was pretty much abandoned except a gigantic couple, the male part of which was so fat that he couldn’t even walk to the counter to order, and ordered our burgers. I got an avocado and bacon burger. Dad just got a burger. We ate. We stared at each other. I pretended I wasn’t staring at the gigantic fat dude. We got up and left.

In the parking lot, I said, “Andrea and Jean must have been really hungry when they stopped there to love it that much.”

“No kidding,” Dad replied, “You want me to take over?”

“Nah, you should sleep for a while, and I’ll wake you up when I can’t take it anymore.”

We drove across the street to gas up, and I ran into the Starbucks there to order a “Black Eye,” which is a dark coffee with two shots of espresso in it, my favorite not-candy-coffee-drink, but they were out of coffee, so I just ordered a triple shot. The workers protested that they would have coffee ready in about five minutes, but I wasn’t willing to wait because I had a blushing bride waiting with bated breath back in the heartland—where there is precipitation—and wanted to get moving, so they gave me a quadruple for the price of three. I thought that was nice of them.

When I got in the truck, Dad was astonished at the small cup I was carrying, so I talked him into tasting it, which took some cajoling. Just as he was raising the cup to his lips, he breathed through his nose, caught a whiff, coughed, and asked me why I would inflict something like that on myself. So much for getting him to taste.

Back on the road, Dad sacked out, and I started watching the first new Star Wars movie. I know. It’s dangerous. You don’t need to tell me. It won’t change my behavior.  For those who are going to harass me, I have two rationalizations: 1) I’d rather run off the road because I swerved a bit much on an abandoned road while watching a movie in the middle of the night than die because I fell asleep from boredom, and 2) I got it honest, only now we have laptops, so I don’t have to do like Dad did when we were kids and find a place to put the TV and VCR between the front seats.

About 5:00 the following morning, having just finished Episode Three, I had a micro-second of narcolepsy, one of those ever so frightening head-bobs that can get people killed, and I immediately woke dad up and headed for the next exit, where we traded off and I got to curl up and sleep.

About nine o’clock, we stopped for breakfast in Albuquerque, and I got Dad to eat at an IHOP for what he said was the first time in about 30 years. Sadly, it wasn’t the best IHOP I’ve been to. Actually it was the worst, which meant that it was only mildly awesome.

Dad wasn’t impressed.

Back in the truck, I had a genius idea that could make life much easier for both Dad and myself, but I’m mature enough to know a bad plan when I see it, so I didn’t even bother to mention it to Dad. About three hours later, dad woke me up at a gas station to say that he needed to sleep some, and as I was grogging to consciousness, he sat staring ahead of him like he was wrestling with an internal conundrum. Finally, he turned to me and said, “Do you think we could clear that couch in the back of the truck?”

Ah ha! I knew that my idiocy came from somewhere. What a horrible, retarded, dangerous, insurance liability nullifying idea!

“Yeah, I was thinking about that earlier,” was my reply. “I think that we could move the kayak over to the other side of the truck and use a couple boxes of books to brace it there.”

As I locked him into the truck, I said “call me on your cell if you need anything.”

“Try not to wreck,” he replied.

Roughly twenty-four hours later, forty eight hours and 2500 miles from the time that we started our little expedition, having stopped only for food, gas, and once in Springfield, Missouri to pick up a ladder I had left in my house there, we arrived at my parents’ home in Dublin, Ohio where that afternoon I would see my sorely missed wife.


May 3, 2009 - Posted by | Journal Style Entries, Travel


  1. What is it about the corn? It makes my heart race. I guess you just can’t take the MidWest out of some people.

    You guys are hilarious. And very dangerous. Oh, and I love avacado on my burgers.

    Good stories. Thanks for the laughs.

    Comment by It's Just Me | May 4, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only person who tries to act like I’m not staring at the morbidly obese.

    Comment by xgravity23 | May 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. This was a fantastic read. There are some great sentences, turns of phrases, word nets in here. I think I would really enjoy hanging out with you and your dad. I can tell you get much of your special sort of brilliant crazy from him, and I think that’s fantastic. I would enjoy being on a trip like this.

    The other day I told a group of people your napalming-your-sister’s-playhouse story, and it was very well received. Damn, son. Let’s hang out.

    Comment by wordorgy | June 29, 2009 | Reply

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