Tuesday, August 3, 2010

(Mrs) Adventure #16: Holiday Roads

I am what one would describe as a Point A to Point B person. On road trips, for example, I prefer to drive direct to my destination. Fourteen hours in the car? Drive on! I would have Oregon Trailed the heck out of all those early pioneers. Three months? Try three DAYS. And I wouldn’t even slow down for Cholera.

I've recently discovered, however, that my husband is not of the same travel mindset.

Case in point: This morning the hubs and I decided to go over our route from San Diego to Chicago in what I am calling, “The Great Move,” or “The-if-we-don’t-end-up-killing-eachother-somewhere-near-Amarillo-we’re-golden,” October adventure. Obviously this isn't pressing and I am certain it will change no less than six hundred times, but it gives him something to look forward to on this seemingly unending deployment and it also gives me a clear cut plan. I like plans. I need plans. In college, I had every item laid out and organized before I moved into my dorm room. I had visualized in my head where each piece of furniture and book and photograph would hang. The days leading up to the move in date, I would lay awake at night rocking back and forth with some sort of maniacal energy. I must plan or otherwise I start to feel adrift in a sea of disorganization that gradually spirals downward until I’m sitting in a corner clutching a plastic fork. I need roads and itinerary and I want them to be mine. Not someone else’s grand idea. Just mine. I can visualize mine. Otherwise, I fear that I will be forcefully veered off course. Kindly note the foreshadow device used in previous sentence.

Roughly one month ago, I asked Matt if we could possibly take the southern route since I haven't seen as much of that part of the country. Also, I hate Utah. I had an unfortunate experience in a town called “Beaver,” that I would prefer not to revisit and have instead pushed it deep into the darkest recesses of my brain.

Anyway, he agreed.

Until now. Until he realized that instead of making this a road trip, we were going to make this into a third honeymoon. Hmmm.

This morning started out well enough. I had a plan that took us from I-8 to the 40 and then upward through St. Louis. The husband was very happy with said plan. And then he looked at a map. Now here's what happens when someone like my husband studies a map. He sees EVERY SINGLE PLACE he wants to visit and decides that we also need to stop there. I mean, how could we pass up the world's biggest ball of twine?! The last time we traveled together on HIS itinerary I ended up riding a poorly engineered rental bike up the side of a mountain while Japanese cars buzzed past me at alarmingly high speeds. He laughed. I cried. We saw something I could have seen at Epcot Center.

But, in practicing my desire to control every aspect of my life, (I’m a television producer, right Katie B? so it comes with the territory), I decided to give up a little control and allow him to plan our trip.

Also, there was a very interesting article on CNN (let’s be honest, it was dlisted.com), that I wanted to read instead of focusing.

This is how the conversation started…and started to turn. Quickly; like a sinking ship in which the band continues to play on…in his head.

Husband: "OK, so we can take the I-8 through... OOOH!!!! OH!!! OH MAN! (then a more serious voice). STAND BY! STAND BY! We can hit up Yuma and AHHHHH!! I always wanted to go here (name most random city in world that is not even worth mentioning)."

At this point, I try and keep him on track but I can tell that one wrong step and I'm going to somehow send him leaping into a pool of overwhelmed frustration.

Me: Matt, can you take a look at the map around I-40? Do you think that we should stop in Amarillo and then bounce up at Oklahoma City?

Husband: WHAT?! WAIT! I'm not there yet!! WAIT! STAND BY! I'm right at Tubbs Pass (or something along that name? Or maybe Tuba City?). DO YOU COPY ME? DO YOU READ?

Me: What? Yes, I read. (Pause two minutes while I casually search on google maps) Matt, I see Tuba City. It's in the middle of the Grand Canyon roughly three hundred miles off of the 40. Is there even a road that leads into the town?

Husband: STANDBY...STAND BY...OHHH! Monument City!!!

Me: What?

Husband: MONUMENT CITY! (Which sounds roughly like Monumeahsdity because he was talking so fast it was garbled).

Me: WHAT? How do you spell that, Matt?


Me: Matt, how do you spell that?

Husband: Pause. MONUMENT CITY. (Increasing frustration at my inability to understand what he’s saying being tangled with mounting mania as he starts sucking in his breath at presumably another site he wanted to see and begins making little clicking sounds. I don’t have to see him to know that he's rocking back and forth and his desk while staring intensely at the map. His eyes are no doubt darting back and forth as he moves in and out of the satellite versus map function).

Me: Oh. OK, Monument City. OK, that looks pretty. Yes, I've wanted to see that.


Me: Ok, yes Matt, I do. Here we go, how about you make an itinerary and then you give me the roads. Because I just need a solid plan with roads.

Note: See me giving up control here? Compromise Ali and Roberto. Compromise works.

What follows is a bunch of excited squealing, clicking, incessant rambling, quite a few more STAND BYS! And, do you follow? Can you copy? Some additional over and outs. A digression into the various jobs of the Marine Corps..." You see the logistics Marines do just that. And the engineers do their job. And I mission plan. And I'm an Officer, so that's why we do what we do. " Huh? No matter. I'm clicking through Facebook and paying no attention except to hear what sounds like him knocking over a few things on his desk and possibly running around in circles.

Finally, I perk up enough to hear what his route is. I ask him to read it over to me. Now, I will tell you, my route had us taking roughly three different freeways to get to our intended destination city. Efficient, quick and easy while also minimizing arguments about which turn was the correct turn, etc.

Husband: Staaaannnd byyyyy….

And what follows is the plan of a mad man. Or possibly the plan of a crazed Naval Flight Officer? At this point, I have no doubt he’s standing over a printed map of the United States with a pen in one hand and possibly flailing a compass through the air with the other. I picture him wearing a monocle, but I don’t think that part is accurate. Regardless, I know that I am in for a rather long briefing section about our route.

He begins and I have to stop him. Why? Because I need a pen and a piece of paper to write down the route he has us taking-if only to compare to my original route. Let's compare, shall we?

Kate’s Route:

I-8 out of San Diego taking us directly to I-40 at Sedona.

Continue on I-40 until Oklahoma City where we hop on 44 through St. Louis.

Once in St. Louis, we switch over to I-55 and voila! Chicago!

Minor distractions aside this route seems both easy and scenic. We could even have lunch in Sedona and pass below the Grand Canyon. Beautiful, right?

Apparently…not. Below is a verbatim plan from my husband, minus a few cities and possibly roads because I couldn’t keep up with his jet like speech.

“The distinct potential for bloody homicide either at the hands of one another or some messed up nuclear wastoid creature from the Hills Have Eyes” Plan. A.K.A, Matt’s Route

I-8E to Gila Bend
(Or possibly Gilbert? I couldn’t stop him because he was off and running to the next road…)

Arizona 85 State Highway

North to Buckeye

1-10 E to 1-17 Junction

North on 1-17 to Flagstaff with a stop in both Yuma and Sedona,
(I'll give him the Sedona though I don't have a pressing need to see Yuma, Arizona anytime soon. Like, someone send me a postcard and I’m good).

East on 1-40 into the desert through the Army testing facility.
(These were his exact words. Do I need to expound on this or can it stand on its own?)

Continue on to US 191

US 191 North
(which, as he puts it, is a ‘long haul through NO WHERE.’ Gee, I sure hope this plan doesn’t involve us pushing the car through mountainous desert because there are no actual roads. Camping is fun!).

US 60 West to US 163 through Monument City

Pick up at the 191.
(Weren’t we just on this road? Why did we get off this road? Oh, that’s right. Because of the google images. Oh, I kid, I’m sure it’s beautiful but all I can think of are crazy maniacal truckers who will inevitably try to run us off the road and then take us to their crazy maniac house where we will be tortured a la EVERY horror movie EVER MADE IN AMERICA).

To Utah 128
(I guess we’re ignoring my whole, “I hate Utah petition.”)

On to I-70

I-70 to I-76
(Driving through a terrain of road that I must admit helped me in the past. Yes, helped me stare DEATH RIGHT IN THE FACE AS I CAME ACROSS A FREAK SNOW STORM IN ASPEN).

I-76 through Denver meeting up with I-80 in Nebraska,
(also known as the world's most boring drive. Ever).

To I-80 through Iowa and eventually on to Illinois.

Joy. Joy. Joy. But being the supportive wife that I am to my super wonderful husband, I wrote it all down. I hung up the phone before he could launch into his plans about all the battlefield tours we’ll be taking in Virginia and laughed. Another note to my dear friends, if you love me, if you
really love me or at least don't entirely hate me too much, you will not give Matt a Michelin Green Guide that details the state of Virginia. If you do, I will be forced to cut off all communication.

And then I wrote it down. Why? Because at the very least, if we perish at the hands of blood-thirsty hill people, you will all know the truth:

I didn’t just marry an Aviator… I married Clark Griswold. And this is no longer a leisurely vacation across this great country of ours. No, no. This is now a quest.
This is a quest for fun.

So watch out Wally World because we’re (ahem, he's) gunnin’ for

Why aren't we flying? Because getting there is half the fun. You know that.


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