There comes a time in every journey – usually sooner rather than later – when you simply run out of things to talk about. I mean, the same three people inside the same car for hours upon hours can get to be a little monotonous.
Oh sure, we had new topics to talk about after our visit to Louisville on Sunday, but that lasted just a little while.
As I drove down the long road ahead of me, I started to imagine the most annoying part of the movie, Shrek II – the scene where Shrek and Fiona are on their way to see Fiona’s parents in the kingdom of Far, Far Away. Donkey, in the back of the carriage, is bored and keeps asking, “Are we there yet?” He repeats it over and over – and over again – to the point that Shrek and Fiona lose their cool and yell, “Nnnnoooooo!”
Thank goodness there was no one in our car to ask, “Are we there yet?” Instead, I kept hearing – especially through West Virginia and Virginia – that “That lady is taking us way out of the way!”
“That lady,” as my dad called her, was Greta Garmin, and Mom and I both knew Greta would take us right where we wanted to go. The alternative, we figured, was some back country road with continuous curves up and down the mountains that separated the rolling hills of Kentucky from the sandy beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
In the days before GPS, I’d made the mistake of leading us on “a shortcut” through southern Idaho – the Lewis and Clark Trail, as I recall – instead of following I-90 way up to the northern part of the state. Well, after hairpin curves and mountainside driving – in some places without guardrails – Mom and I were a bundle of nerves. This time around, we were both quite content to follow Greta’s path for us.
Three against one – yes, it was that simple!
So what did we do in those long hours in the car when we’d exhausted our topics of discussion and our leaf-peeping had become a ho-hum sport?
We talked about the road kill we saw.
Yes, I admit it – deep down I’m a country hick!
Away from the corn and soybean fields of Minnesota, where road kill tends to be the basic deer, raccoon, rabbit or skunk, we noticed a few new road kill critters.
Within a stretch of probably 100 miles, I saw three dead coyotes on the side of the road. I also saw what looked like a porcupine.
The greatest discovery – the one that made me really gasp – was seeing a dead black bear splayed out in a grassy median. I’d forgotten what state we were in when I spotted it, but thanks to Mom keeping a daily log from her post in the back seat, I can tell you it was near Lewisburg, W.V.
The West Virginia road kill incident wasn’t the only time we’d be reminded we were in bear country, but more about that in a later travel blog.
I want to mention one more thing from Mom’s daily log before I sign off on this story. It was noted at 4:40 p.m. on Monday afternoon, “Hooray, we made it to Kitty Hawk!”