Though I may have exhausted your patience with the three posts of observations on our
trip driving from Chicagoland to Northern Maine last month, here's just one post covering our trip home two weeks later.
• After an awkward, nearly wordless, moment, I found out the reason the gas station attendant in New Jersey took the pump from my hand and put it into the car for me was that it is illegal to pump your own gas in the state of New Jersey. (Oregon is the only other state with a similar law.)
Some online research revealed that it has been this way since 1949, following the logic that the untrained public should not be allowed to handle such large quantities of flammable liquids. Now I'm sure repealing this ridiculousness is a union/jobs issue, and since it's New Jersey, probably also a mafia issue.
I'm not sure what Oregon's excuse is, though. Something granola or sandal related, perhaps?
• Exit 12 on I-80 offers to take you to "The Land of Make Believe". There are so many sarcastic remarks to make here, they're all jammed up in my brain trying to get out first. Do you smell smoke?
The coffee machine at one of the rest stops we visited along I-80 offered "whitener" for your coffee. Not cream, not milk, not "creamer"-- whitener. This is too ambiguous a substance to allow in any drink of mine, especially when that drink came out of a machine that was probably almost as shady-looking back when I was born.
On the way back, after numerous very happy trips across the Ohio Turnpike in my time, I finally found a chink in its armor-- the last rest stop on the Westbound side, at mile marker #49, Oak Openings. Upon walking in, I was confronted by the question of exactly which openings of the oak we would be lucky enough to stumble into.
As I strode warily across the taint, I guessed that those industrious Ohioans had started overhauling their rest stops at the west end moving east, then moved back from east to west before running out of money while tricking out the Blue Heron stop just before this one.
I guess this economy finally brought me something good, in that I was sent home far less tempted than usual to move to Ohio just to work as a migrant panhandler hobo-ing it up and down the Turnpike with the kids in tow. Think about it-- living rent-free, eating fine fast foods, and all the change my cargo pants could hold!
Now, I have to amend this dream to leave at least one of the kids at home, for their own safety and my sanity. But which one? ...Which one would bring me more sweet sympathy coins? Which one could better pick a pocket and outrun the fuzz when needed? Ahhh, choices.
And this, mercifully, closes out the drawn-out series of posts about our trip, from which we returned over three weeks ago now.