Weird Road Trip Conversations & The F-Bomb

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Day 31       July 10

The Crab Orchard Campground was beautiful, and we’d scored a site right on the lake. When we woke up this morning, we knew why we’d gotten such a “great” site. SKEETERS!!! The space shuttle was covered in huge skeeters. We were way too close to the stagnant water!!

Yowza!!! This wasn’t the first time we’d hi-tailed it out of a campground to escape skeeters, and it probably wouldn’t be the last.

On the road

On the road

We drove through the campus of Southern Illinois University, just to see it, and then made a stop at Walmart to buy a small hand held vacuum. I don’t love Walmart, but, it made sense to buy one there. That way, if it didn’t work, or we didn’t like it, we could return it to the next Walmart in the next town. Walmart is super convenient if you’re traveling, so, while we’re traveling, I’ll just leave it at that.

Today was a great day for interesting conversation as we drove. Here’s what we covered today:

• People with big properties spend a lot of time mowing their lawns

• I like to wear skirts when I travel, because they’re comfortable, but I don’t know how to stop the bugs from flying up them.

• General discussion about Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Cathy Ireland.

• General discussion about why I won’t make sandwiches in a moving RV

• What is the proper name to call a “little person?” Is it “dwarf,” or “little person,” or…??? We are pretty sure that the term “midget” is no longer used, or is not considered to be kind.

Time flew by with such stimulating conversation. We drove south on Rt 34, and before we knew it, we were in Shawnee National Forest.

Shawnee National Forest, IL

Shawnee National Forest, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

Garden of the Gods, IL

We first explored an area called Garden of the Gods. While crouched down, walking through a tunnel in the rocks, I hit my head on the rock ceiling so hard, that I knocked myself on my ass.

You know what lesson I learned from that? Do NOT wear a hat while hiking. I was wearing a baseball cap, and the brim, essentially, blocked my upper peripheral view.

You know what other lesson I learned? That families out hiking with young kids, do NOT appreciate hearing the f-bomb while they’re out in nature.

Our next stop was a hiking area called Rim Rock. The guide book described the main hike at Rim Rock as having a “breath-taking view.”  Hmmm…no view at all, but a pretty little hike in the woods.

And then, a stop at Pounds Hallow, a local fishing and swimming hole.

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

Pounds Hallow, IL

We headed out on Rt 1, to Rt 146. Went through some cool little places, and pretty countryside. We also passed about a zillion deer and their little babies out galavanting where they should not be….on the dang road. And because of this, I inadvertently invented a new swear word….”Shimaran.”

“Shimaran” is what came out of my mouth when I tried to yell, “Shit, Mark, the deer are running!” I was trying to warn him that some deer were about to run in front of us. Lucky he saw the deer, ‘cause he had no clue what I had yelled and he started yelling at me, “Use your words! Use your  words!”

Ohio River. Elizabethtown, IL

Ohio River. Elizabethtown, IL

Ohio River. Elizabethtown, IL

Ohio River. Elizabethtown, IL

The scenic route

The scenic route

Elizabethtown, IL

Elizabethtown, IL

Ohio River, IL

Ohio River, IL

Early evening, we safely crossed the Kentucky state line. We had a great dinner at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement, in Grand Rivers. It’s kind of a crazy tourist trap place, but, we thought it was fun, and the dinner was delicious.

Hello Kentucky!

Hello Kentucky!

Dinner @ Patti's

Dinner @ Patti’s

They serve these loaves of bread there called Flower Pot Loaves, or some such name. These are loaves of bread that are baked in, shaped like, and served in, flowerpots. Dangerous shit. We ate two whole flower pots of bread with our meal, and then still had enough wits about us to buy some fudge at the little gift shop! No wonder my pants are gettin’ tight!

We finally found, and settled in for the night at the Kentucky Dam Campground.

I’m So Lucky, I Could Cry!!

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Are you a glass half full kind of person, or a glass half empty kind of person? I try to be a glass half full kind of person. And when things really go to hell, I try to be one of those annoying people who says, “Well, look on the bright side of things.” I know, I hate those people too. But, I am one too.

Today was a doozy. Woke up, had breakfast, went to the pool for a swim, and then took my car in for a routine service appointment. And that’s when things went to shit.

I was expecting my car appointment to take about an hour. But no. As I was checking in, they told me that I was due for a REALLY BIG service this time. Ok, whatever.

And they were like,

Do you understand what we are saying? Please step into the office cubicle so that we can go over this with you. This is a REALLY BIG service appointment. Three years/30,000 miles/$1300. Is that ok? It’s $1300.

And I was like,

WTF? $1300?

Well, I signed the approvals. Gotta take good care of my little Abbey Roadster. And then they told me that this was gonna take all day. They would give me a loaner vehicle, and I’ll have to drive back at 5:00, during rush hour, to pick up my car. OK, me not so happy at this point.

So far, not having such a great time at the Nissan dealer. But, it was to get worse.

I opened the front passenger door of my car to reach in and get my stuff so that I could put it in the loaner car. Just then, a huge gust of wind swooped in on me. As I reached out to stop the door from slamming shut on me, I dropped my iPhone on the pavement. Completely shattered the glass. Great!

Such is life sometimes. But no, this gets worse. I take the loaner car and my shattered iPhone, and I head home. As soon as I got home, I got a phone call. The toilet tank had shattered in a 5th floor condo that we own and rent out. Water had leaked all over the condo and had seeped all the way down to the 2nd floor.

Instead of having lunch, I was making calls to our tenant, calls to the water damage restoration company, calls to our insurance agent, calls to the plumber to replace the toilet, calls to the liquor store to ask for a quick delivery (I’m kidding! I’ve got a fridge full of jello shots, and fixin’s for gin & tonics).

What a totally shit day, eh? Or was it? I realized that, once again, I must be the luckiest person on the planet, because who else would be so lucky as to have had such an awesome morning swim before the shit hit the fan?!

Life was full of good fortune for me today! Might be a good day to buy a lottery ticket?! If I win big, I could use some of the money to pay for the car, the iPhone, and the broken toilet and water damage!

Yep, it’s a great day! Think I’ll have a couple Jello shots!

 

 

 

 

The Great Swim Race….Smackdown @ the YMCA

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The funniest shit happens to me when I go to the pool. Yesterday I got to race against a remote controlled speed boat. Me, lane #5. Speed boat, lane #2.

SPOILER ALERT: I won.

 

There I was, minding my own business, gettin’ my lap swimmin’ on, in a luxurious lane all to myself. I noticed the strangest thing a couple lanes over from me. Three guys in street clothes, standing on the deck, were launching a small remote controlled speed boat into lane #2.

 

I’m estimating the boat was about 16″ long, and a real beauty, as far as fake toy remote controlled water craft go. This is the YMCA, after all, so you know they’re not lettin’ in any trailer trash or riff raff with broken down water craft.

 

I yelled over to the guys,

That’s cool. How fast does that thing go?

 

They replied by puttin’ the petal to the metal to show me, and the boat took off like a bat out of hell. And then one guy yelled,

The fastest lap, so far, is twelve seconds

 

Twelve seconds! That’s fast. Faster than I swim. But I couldn’t help myself, ’cause I’m a non-recovered competitive freak, and I yelled back,

I want to race it!

 

And that was that. Game on! Boat in lane #2. Me in lane #5. One length of the pool. Winner take all (all of nothin’ except for bragging rights!)

 

The count down began….3….2….1….GO! And I swam my little heart out to the other end of the pool, taking only one breath along the way. And I touched the wall and looked up. And I could see the little boat in lane #2, still about 8 feet from the wall.

 

I raised myself up out of the water, pumped my fist in the air, and shouted out a great big WOOOOHOOOO  (just like the Olympic swimmers). I’d won!!!

 

But wait. This couldn’t be right. They must have let me win. I asked if they had run the boat on a slower speed. To which they replied,

No. We ran into the lane rope about half way.

 

 

I laughed loudly, and then yelled back,

Well, I am still the champion, unless someone disputes it!!

 

The woman in the lane next to me laughed. And she told me she’d watched the whole race. And, she told me that I was ahead of the boat the whole time, even prior to it crashing into the lane rope. Just sayin.’

 

So much fun to be had at the pool. I don’t understand why people tell me that lap swimming is boring! Maybe if it’s boring, you’re just not doing it right!! Come to the pool with me. I guarantee something weird and wonderful will happen!

Swimming With Old Ladies

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Swimming. I like it. I’m really good at it.

I swam this morning. It was cold out, and I decided to swim in the warm indoor pool instead of the outdoor pool. Big mistake. Lap #1, I was already overheating. I was in and committed though, so I stuck with it.

To keep from really overheating and passing out, I swam slowly. And when the heat became just too much to take, I did some laps water-walking. Swim a little, walk a little, repeat.

Right next to my lane, in the other half of the pool, there was a water exercise class for seniors. On one of my water walking laps, a nice older woman in the exercise class turned to me and said, “You are such a smooth swimmer.”

Well, I just lit up. I smiled, and told her I’ve been swimming since I was a wee child. I was just pleased as punch that she took the time to give me kudos on my beautiful and efficient swim stroke.

Her next comment kind of burst my bubble a bit. “Some people swim next to us and they splash and it gets our hair wet.”

Oh, I see. She wasn’t so much complimenting my swimming, as she was thanking me for not getting her hair wet.

Whatever. It’s still a compliment, and I’m gonna take it and run with it. It is Monday, after all, and it’s nice to start the week off on a positive note!