I watched Michael from across the room as he gathered the last of his things from his office. A few lame goodbyes and we walked hand-in-hand out the door, boring eyes on our backs, half the town watching. Just outside, he dropped his hands and did the dance of joy, hips wiggling, hands in the air like he was in the Halleluiah choir! "I'm free! I'm free!" 40 years of being a cop. Over. He grabbed me and kissed me and we practically ran to the Jeep. For those of you who keep asking, "what will he do now." the answer is, anything he wants to. Don't worry about it. We have a good friend, Jim, who has shown us by example that you don't have to be defined by a 9-5 job. Enjoy yourself along the way!
It was like fighting to get out of a paper bag. We were no sooner on the road than we had a detour. Instead of being able to head west, then north, the easy way I might add, we headed west, then east, then south, then north toward Minnesota. Get a map out. This wasn't pretty. Really, we are Pollacks. Discovered that we could've used a side road. It only added about 87 miles....twice.
We are on a pretty tight schedule and we've gotten a let start. Originally, it was about 11am but with the detours just in Des Moines it's noon before we start heading north. We planned on being in Wall, South Dakota a mere, 675 miles away by nightfall. The wind is strong, but behind us as we turn West on I 90. We are driving, driving, driving.I'm trying to answer work emails, make phone calls, get people what they need all the while choking back vomit because I get carsick looking down. I'm calling Dan at work and putting him through a butt load of tasks while Michael is jerking the Jeep on and off the road like some drunken sailor. "Honey, PLEASE keep you eyes on the road!," I yell. "What?" he says innocently, as though he thinks I don't remember his habit of driving where he's looking. I've got whiplash by now, but he is sure enjoying the view! Thank goodness we were still in the flat lands. I tell you I am notmlooking forward to the mountains.
The Rest of The Ride
The golden fields of the prairelands turned into what started to look like lumpy beds. Spools of butter colored hay lay on velvet green land and we began to notice services and Signage beginning to disappear. Before we knew it rest areas and gas stations were exciting places. We pledged on this trip we were going to eat better and that worked well for the first eleven miles. Bananas, peaches and pineapple turned to our hands plunged into a Wise chip bag, arms buried up to our elbows. Throughout the day we added to the menu...peanut butter cheese crackers, donuts and a couple of candy bars. I swear the manufacturers rub salt on the outside of the chip bags because we could both smell them calling us.
As we drew closer to Wall, God treated us to the most spectacular showing of a storm we have ever seen. Though the storm was about 10 miles away, we watched as lightening cut across the sky sideways, then crashed towards the ground every 3 or 4 seconds, thunder grumbling low and angry, yet to the north, the sun was setting like a red ember in a white gauzy cloud and to the south, a brilliant quarter moon was rising. Never seen anything like it! And we didn't have a drop if rain.
Arriving in town, we found our hotel, the Super 88. Seems we were a bit misguided by the website.
The room was so small that Michael had to enter sideways, shimmy himself along the wall and have me unpack in the hallway and toss our clothes in one by one. He stood on the bed when I slid in, hunched over, as I soon realized we were in a midgets hotel. A bed light, the only one in the room, hung over the mattress, its 4 watt bulb and pointy end only 4 1/2 inches above the mattress. More on that later. Taking a shower proved to be interesting. I had gone in to use the toilet when Michael decided to come in to take a shower. He had to straddle me. I had to cover myself with a towel and wear a shower cap to finish my business on the toilet. When he turned on water to the shower, the water hit him at the waist. He spent the whole shower with my face in his rear end as he tried to get on his knees so he'd be able to wash his hair. Reminded me of a motorhome shower.
I did make one little mistake. I flushed the toilet BEFORE I got up, which evidently was where all of the power for the shower must have gone? It sucked me onto that seat tighter than a hose clamp on a baby seat, but that's a whole other story. Anyway, it took Michael another half hour to pry me off the seat with the plunger. It wasn't pretty and left me with a sink- sized butt hickey.
We finished the night off with a home-made dinner at the Red Rock Restaurant and Auto Supply Store.We congratulated each other on a better day of eating just as the waitress slapped down a two platefuls of Country fried steak and mashed potatoes covered with white gravy. mmmmmmmm! But we did skip dessert!
We only had one more incident. Remember that light that hung over the bed? Well, we both got up a couple of times last night and rolled over at least a dozen times. This morning we woke up bloodied like we had been battling fat women at a buffet line, trails of the red stuff on our pillows like we'd been beaten by Chinamen. We left this morning, scarred and marred, the front desk clerk eyeing us warily, both of us covered from head to foot with Bandaids. We are leaving now. Stopping at the drug store though. Need some first aid supplies.