The original plan was this:
We were going from NY to SC. I would take myself, my son - Logan and my brother, Luke. My mom would follow me down in her car. The reason for this was that my mom had to be back earlier, and she also had to meet my other brother, Liam - and his girlfriend, Kaycee - in SC. They had flown there from Washington state. They would ride back up with my mom and I would stay in SC longer and visit.
We were operating on a shoestring budget, and would have to drive about 11 hours straight. No money, or time, for stopping and staying anywhere. We left at about 1pm - no one in my family is a morning person, and that's just how we roll....always late. Anyway, my mom was going to follow me, seeing as she couldn't remember the directions.
(which - by the way - was this: 81S to 77S. Yeah, that's it......)
So off we go. My brother, Luke was riding with me, and my son, Logan was riding with my Mom. Sure enough - we hit some roadwork. There was a highway split, both one lane, surrounded by barrells and cones. You either went straight on 81S, or veered right to go on 80 East. Nearing this split I had a sinking feeling something would go wrong, and my mom did not dissapoint.
She followed the wrong little red car down 80 East. You heard me. So Luke called her, and told her to turn around and get back on 81 South. we would meet up at the next available rest area. Sounds simple enough - right?
Wrong. My brother was trying to explain the plan to my mom over a really crappy cell phone, and I only heard his end of the conversation. So I"m filling in some blanks here - but the conversation went a little like this:
Luke: Mom, meet us at the next rest area.
Luke: The next rest area.
Mom: Where is it?
Luke: Just..the next rest area.
Mom: How far is it?
Luke: Mom, just...the next one!
Mom: Will you be there?
Luke: I don't know, just stop and wait for us!
Mom: Will you get there first?
Luke: I don't know, just stop at the next rest area, if you get there first wait for us. If we get there first we'll wait for you.
Mom: Where's it at?
Luke: The next @*$@*# rest area, Mom. The next one you come to. Meet us there!
Mom: But...how far is it?
Luke: I don't @*(%&*%# KNOW. Just drive until you see a rest area, and stop there!
Mom: But how will I know where to stop?
Luke: You see a sign for a rest area and you @*$#^( STOP.
Mom: How will I know when to stop?
There was a lot of swearing after this one, some more yelling, me hollering and Luke swearing some more, and I think she finally got the picture because Luke swore some more and then hung up. It was sort of comical.
Anyway, we get through the traffic and are zipping along, looking for the next rest area, and the phone rings again. My mom's car had broken down and we had to turn around to go get her. She tells my brother that she's next to the exit to Hazelton (PA) and hangs up.
There are 6 exits into Hazelton. We try to call back to see which one she's at, and there's no answer. We call, over and over, and over, and over. No answer. My brother and I start to worry. A lot. He keeps saying that they've been hijacked. I keep telling him to shut up. (he was scaring me, and I just need to focus and drive) There's a lot of swearing, yelling, finger pointing, and screaming in each others faces. There was almost some hitting and throwing someone out of the car. We were worried. It was hot, and I didn't know where my son was. She finally answered and told us which exit she was at. We find them and get to a gas station, and ask for directions to a mechanic. Needless to say - we get lost trying to find the mechanic, ask for directions again, no one knows anything about anything, ask someone else, and finally find the little tiny podunk place. Fun, fun, fun.
Turned out her radiator fan had broken. It was Thursday evening at about 5pm. The mechanic can't get the part until Monday. The reunion is on Saturday. We make the decision to pack her into my little Honda Civic - 2 door hatchback - and continue on. In hindsight, it was a good thing in a way - because my mom had had a 2 day migraine and was really sick. She was having a hard time driving. Anyway....
Now, me, my brother Luke and my son Logan had each packed a duffle bag and a backpack (for inside the car). We go to get my mothers luggage and try and fit her into the car.
She had - and I quote -
1 suitcase, 1 make up case, 1 small bin of medicines, 1 large bag (her purse), 1 tote bag (personal papers, her Bible), 1 cooler, 1 tote (paper products)1 camera case, 1 fan and 1 tripod. Oh, and 3 bags of food. Which I guess, in her defense, we asked her to bring. There was no way we were getting all that into my car. So , she pared it down and we were finally off. Again.
About 1 hour late my brother tells me he has to go to the bathroom. We stop, he goes in, and - wait for it - comes out holding his stomach. Turns out he was passing a kidney stone. He had vicodin, but was still groaning. He tells me to just keep driving - but by now, it's getting to be near midnight, and we're in Virginia. Virginia is......empty. And the stops are far and few between. And my brother needs a bathroom. So, I finally see a hotel, and I decide to stop for the night. It was a good idea. We got a good nights sleep. We wake up pretty refreshed, and get back on the road at about 2pm.
We drive....and my brother gets a migraine. So, for almost the rest of the trip...he's sick. I feel bad, but we had to keep going. The reunion was Saturday, and this was Friday evening.
But...we finally make into SC at about 7pm. We all head to where ever it is we are staying at, and my brother's migraine goes away. We had a good time while we were down there. The reunion went great, I even played volleyball. My son found the tree fort in the woods, and we all had a blast. I saw cousins and Aunts and Uncles I hadn't seen in almost 15 years. I met all their wives and children. My son even came away from the event with a whole box of Dragonball Z tapes. He was in heaven. We laughed, goofed off, fooled around, ate lots of food and generally made idiots of ourselves. It was awesome.
Until we head home.
But I'm going to make that Part 2.