Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My Life as a Road Warrior

I may as well admit it ... I am a Road Warrior! Not that I set out to be one, but there was one thing and then another ... soon enough I was a full-fledged member of the million mile club ... an offical Road Warrior.

My first "move" away from home (my hometown) involved a town 60 miles away. I was so afraid of traveling that far that I made it a practice to know exactly which mile markers I was between ... you know ... just in case ... there's just no telling what could happen to someone traveling so far!  Then I moved 8 hours from home ... catapulting my traveling life into high-gear (a term my mother likes to use when she needs extra emphasis for something). Years later, a move from Iowa to Indianapolis stepped things up a few more notches! Then there was the year when I stayed in Indy (until our home sold) while Bruce and Katy got our life in northwest Iowa started (trust me ... there were lots of trips that year!) After I joined them, I worked as a consultant for a company 2 and a half hours from Storm Lake ... now THAT was a commute! These days we have children (who, by the way, have our grandchildren!) living on each of the US coastlines and one holdout still in the midwest ... living in a vehicle has managed to become a way-of-life!

I tend to be a singularly-focused person ... getting so wrapped up in the moment (or task-at-hand) that I lose track of all else. Recently I got to thinking about how this attribute has created some interesting (and scary) moments along the path to the Road Warrior Club!

My sister, Sandy, once rode with me on the way back home many years ago. After picking her up in LeSueur, MN, I focused so much on our chit-chat while I was driving that eventually I had to ask her if she knew the name of the town we were approaching (it was after I couldn't use any landmarks to try and guess, and obviously I hadn't been reading signs). She thought I was kidding because we were only 5 miles from mom's house! How can you not know you are approaching your destination? Well, it's easy ... if you are me!

On one of my trips from Storm Lake to Indianapolis the year we first bought the acreage ... I found myself reading a sign for Indiana's Exit 4 (our favorite exit for gas and refreshments along the I-74 route). The problem was ... the last stop I'd paid any attention to was the I-80 Truck Stop in Davenport, Iowa. My auto-pilot was apparently ON through the entire state of Illinois! You can bet I was thankful I hadn't run out of gas!

Then there's the trip north from Storm Lake to Alexandria (MN) one year when they were tearing up Hwy 71 and toally replacing the road (that means they totally remove everything ... all the way down past the road bed!) ...  I'd gotten so engrossed in a conversation with my mother-in-law (the co-pilot) that I simply went around barracades were meant to protect drivers from the dangers of a "missing" road! I didn't pay much attention to the decreasing quality of the road until it was impossible to not notice, "My goodness! This road is crazy bad!" I said.  To which, my rider replied, "Yep. That's probably because way back there you went around a sign that said, Road Closed!"

I don't know, but I'm guessing that the knowledge of these events is largely behind the fact that my sweetie doesn't ask me to be a "relief-driver" on our recent long trips to Birmingham? What do you think?

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