Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Return

Ever wonder why "National Lampoon's Vacation" didn't show the Griswolds' trip HOME from Walley World? What further adventures might there have been? Well, just for you, Sports Fans, I present Road Trip 2: Reverse Commute.

Yes, I am a bit punchy. It comes with the territory after a Christmas complete with family drama. As The Husband said to me somewhere in Oklahoma: "Three days was long enough."

OMG - I'm watching the Independence Bowl and ESPN just showed a crowd shot. There was a woman with what looked at first glance like a Chuckie doll on her lap. I guess it was actually a child in Louisiana Tech face paint.

Anyway, Christmas was about as good as could be expected. The drive into Kansas was not nearly as cold as I had anticipated. And Friday was actually a day of record highs! But yesterday it dropped 30 degrees and snowed most of the day. It was 24 degrees when we left this morning, and the first 30 miles of road were icy. Since then it has been smooth sailing, with a high of 60 by the time we made it to Amarillo for the night.

And despite the requisite drama, the family was largely okay as well. I got to see all six of the nieces and nephews, their spouses and children over a two-day period for the first time in... ever, maybe? Mom & Dad loaded us down with a bunch of presents (in addition to the stuff we actually drove to Kansas to retrieve from their house), so the car is even more packed now than it was on the first leg of the trip. Oh well, that's what side mirrors are for, right?

Speaking of Mom & Dad's gifts, this morning over breakfast they offered me cash. No, that's okay... they have these new-fangled things called ATM's. It's not like we're destitute. But by the time we went to buy gas in Amarillo, I was re-considering their offer. My credit card was declined! Turns out their "Fraud Pre-Warning Department" had flagged my recent activity as suspicious. Hmm... a trail of receipts leading from my current address to my former address and a new trail leading back westward. Yep, sounds like someone else stole my card and visited my parents! On the other hand, maybe they were just questioning the sanity of anyone who would make a cross-country trip in the middle of winter; everyone in California certainly did.

We ate at the Big Texan Steakhouse for dinner. There were three guys attempting the 72-oz. steak dinner. None of them made it. Tomorrow I am debating eschewing our pre-printed route map in favor of another highway. The advantages are more four-lane and new scenery. The disadvantages are that it takes us over higher terrain (but the New Mexico Department of Transportation says there are no adverse road conditions on that stretch) and that it is more total miles (though we have less ground to cover tomorrow and we gain back an hour). Decisions, decisions.


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