Vacation Interruptus

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Aug 10th, 2012
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The yearly biker vacation (heretofore known as World Vacation Tour Extravaganza 2012) has came and went and I have yet to write a single damn word about it. Oh sure, I posted some random nonsensical pictures on the Facebook thingy, but I haven’t done my usual spiel about sore butts and sunscreen and eating too much pie. Returning home, I fell into the whole “do responsible things” like laundry and actually listening to what the children are saying. Adulthood is so hard, folks.

 

I mean, I bought myself this pretty bloggy-space and then proceeded to ignore it like that unfortunate pair of skinny jeans in the back of my closet. Apologies. It’s now time to correct that and start spewing all the random crap that built up in my brain over the last few months. But now it’s time to get back to the Vacation-That-Almost-Never Was. Or Kinda-Was. Or That-Was-Twice. Lemme explain.

 

After postponing our vacation for an entire month in order to regain some of the billions of dollars (slight exaggeration) we had spent on vet bills over the last couple of months, we finally set a date. We packed jeans, deodorant, and comfortable panties and headed out. Ok, maybe that just what I packed. The man packed many, many T-shirts and sunscreen. Because he’s smarter than me. And probably didn’t plan on buying 12 new shirts in a four hour time span…like I did. Whatever, Mister.

 

I’ve explained the whole packing for a trip on a motorcycle thing before, so if you’re new here, just go back and read through the archives. And remember: Seam placement is EVERYTHING. Word.

 

This year we decided to head north, partially because we have never taken a trip together in that direction, and mostly because the temperature here had been approximately the same as the fifth ring of hell. North had to be cooler, right?

 

In an effort to make it out of the state as quickly as possible (so that we might actually feel like we were going somewhere and not tooling around our own state) we headed northwest towards the Illinois state line. Vacation! Excitement! Giddiness and the promise of adventure lay before us.

Almost out of the state!

 

As we crossed the state line we did our traditional weird high-five, finger wiggling, congratulatory acknowledgement that accompanies every monumental vacation state-line crossing.  It’s a thing.  I don’t understand it, but it makes me happy.  Just go with me on this one.  It’s a good thing.  And only marginally unsafe while traveling on two-wheels.

 

We did it!  We made it another year and got the hell outta Dodge!  We totally win at this vacation stuff.  This was gonna be epic!  Bugs in teeth be damned, I was grinning like a fool.  Northward bound, we sped through Illinois in the general direction of Chicago.  Some miles later we stopped for gas, something cold to drink, and to update Facebook with such stunning commentary as “Vacation Underway!” and “See ya next week, Suckers!”.  That’s when we noticed that we both had several missed calls.  And a text message that read, “Please call.  Urgent.”

 

One phone call later, we learned that The Man’s grandmother had passed away that very day.  We had visited her the day before.  I teased her about giving the nurses a hard time and having more sewing supplies in her room than the local fabric store.  She told me that the nurses were tolerable and the food was inedible.  At one point she asked for a steak knife to cut a green bean.  The Man urged, coddled and tried to shame her into eating more food.  She ever so politely told him to butt out and mind his own business.  She also reminded him of trying to get him to eat back when he was a little boy and didn’t feel well.  Touche’, Ma’am.

Beautiful lady. And a pistol until the very end.

 

This was The Man’s maternal grandmother.  We spoke briefly to his mother, who was practically shouting at us not to come home.  “Go enjoy yourselves.  It’s what she would have wanted.”  Only an hour had gone by since her final moments and everyone was upset.  Not thinking clearly.  Not thinking past the moment and their grief.  I think is a totally natural reaction.  We decided to wait an hour and call back to the family.  It was too soon to do anything but grieve.

 

We spoke again to the family again one (very long) hour later.  It had been decided that the viewing/funeral would not happen until Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning.  So what do we do now?  All the family were urging us to go on.  Our hearts were telling us to go back, be with family.  I told The Man that I would support any decision he made.  It was HIS grandmother.  I loved her dearly, but we also remembered that the last words she said to us when we visited the previous day were ” You kids go have fun.  Be safe.  I love you.”

 

With heavy hearts we decided to continue on, spend a day or two away and return home early.  We informed the family of our decision, and loaded back up.  The joy of earlier was gone, but as the day progressed past the initial news, I began to look around at the world as it passed by.

LIfe goes on. A little more cloudy without one lady’s sparkle.

Without me realizing it, we were almost to Chicago.  I had been so lost in my own thoughts that the miles had disappeared without me noticing.  Ok, not the best of times, but we had two days to work with and I was determined not to waste this opportunity.  The day’s events had taught me a lesson that I sometimes forget: Don’t let one single day get by without making a memory.  

 

Hello Chi-town

 

At the next stop it was decided that we would continue on to Milwaukee before stopping for the night.  There were things in Milwaukee that The Man wanted to see, and it would give me the reason to sing the opening song for the Laverne and Shirley Show.  (Like I ever needed a reason before.)

 

 

It’s at about this time that this showed up.

Sorry for the blurriness, but it’s hard to focus when you’re giggling like that one stoner friend that you used to have that always ate all the Doritos and slept on your couch.

 

Things were looking up.  We had resigned ourselves to two days of vacation escape before we had to face the reality of the real world.  Milwaukee loomed ahead like a bright shiny penny.  (I just gagged on a little cliche stuck in my throat when I wrote that sentence.  Fuck it, I’m leaving it.)

 

Tune in tomorrow for the story of how I fell in love with a hotel room.  For reals.

 

 

 

Ready, Set…Go Away

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Jul 1st, 2011
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I have a bad habit. Actually I have several which my mother can list in alphabetical order for you, but there’s one that I would like to talk about. I am currently the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations. I will build something up in my head to be so wonderfully fabulous, that not even Willy Wonka or the Great Wizard of Oz or Her Royal Oprahness could fulfill my plans.

This year I put forth an assload of effort into NOT being that person. Everytime my brain would get all “IMMA GONNA PET AN ALLIGATOR!” or “I CAN SPEND FOUR HOURS SHOPPING AND GET GIFTS FOR SEVENTY TWO PEOPLE!”, I would make myself go sit quietly in the corner at work and stare at spreadsheets.

And you know what? It worked. Apparently it isn’t very hard to trick my brain. No one that knows me would be very surprised to hear this information.

So…We packed up some clean underwear and got the hell outta town. As I’ve mentioned before, The Man works night shift, so we left on a Friday at the crack of noon. Because falling asleep while driving me around on a Harley can lead to uncomfortable roadrash. Our first stop? Kentucky. Yes, we made it one whole state away.

My favorite picture of Kentucky.

There’s a place in Kentucky called Land Between the Lakes. The scenery is beautiful, the road is idyllic, and there is an Elk and Bison reserve. Now since The Man is a hunter/gatherer/Ted Nugent fan, this was ideal. I could sit back and take beautiful pictures that National Geographic would swoon over, and he could stand at a fence and imagine shooting things. Wins for everyone.


Bison are kind of stand-offish.

After this was taken we headed of to the Elk Reserve to partake more of nature’s beasts. Antlers are a priority for The Man. As we enter the Elk Area (Arena? Habitat? Hood?), we aew greeted by a large gate and a sign saying there is a charge for driving though the Elk Reserve. Fine, whatever. Just bring on the large mammals. As we approach the gate we see a second sign. “No motorcycles.”
So, I guess Kentucky is kind of an asshole, what with the profiling and whatnot. But it was still purdy.

So while I told The Man over and over that the brochure said nothing about cars being required, we loaded back up and got the hell out of Kentucky. We decided to make our way to Somewheresville, Tennessee and get a room. It really didn’t matter where, we just wanted to get out of Kentucky and closer to something fun. A few more hours of riding brought us to Jackson, Tennessee. It seemed like a good place to stop for the night, get a good dinner and prepare a game plan for the next day. We stopped at a well known chain motel, parked near the front door and went inside to hand over some money in exchange for a key to a hopefully clean room that didn’t smell like a retirement village.

Now, everyone has done this. You walk in and are greeted by someone dressed as though they are impersonating an airline stewardess. You list your requirents for a room (single, king bed, smoking, first floor) and hand over the money. In return you get a plastic key card which will not work until the fourth time you try it, and a lecture on what additional charges you *may* incur. Total time for the process is what? Four minutes? Five, tops? We did all this, and returned to move the bike and take our bags inside. That’s when we noticed it. Some asshat had stolen his helmet! Now lest you not be familiar with the motorcycle laws in the great state of Tennessee, let me inform you. Approved helmets are required for all motorcycle drivers and passengers.

After searching several times and taking to the airline stewardess, I mean front desk co-assistant manager Tammilou (who was entirely unhelpful), we resigned ourselves to walking to dinner and trying to figure out what to do over a couple of plates of barbeque. (I think much better when there’s food present, don’t you?)

Long story short, we called the police and got a weird sort of almost permission for The Man to ride to the Harley shop the next morning helmetless.

New helmet purchased with vacation monies. Thanks to Bumpus Harley in Jackson for commiserating and making me giggle while you called the thieves Motherfuckers.

I’m gonna leave off here, becuase this post has gone on way too long. Chalk up Day One of vacation to the thieves and assholes. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.

As Promised, A Biker Rally

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Sep 23rd, 2010
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Feel free to smack me on the ass and tell me I’ve been bad. I’ve been away so long and I don’t even really have a good excuse. Except that work is hard. And relationships are hard. Raising kids is hard. Life is hard. As a result, I am whiny.

But this is not the time for being a whiny-ass bitching. It’s a time for storytelling. Time to get my hand-printed ass(you shouldn’t smack so hard)busy and channel the funny. For realz.

Anyhooters, not long ago the Man and I spent a long weekend at a biker rally, in a tiny little place called Bean Blossom. We and the besties loaded up the camper for the four of us and dived head first into the melee. The rally is held in a campground that is famous for hosting the Bill Monroe Bluegrass festival every year.

The next three days and nights were spent watching revelry and bad decisions. It was glorious. If you ever need a place to feel better about yourself, it’s here. check out these distinguished members of society:

Someone should really tell her that this does not flatter her body type.

And there’s this: (Sidenote, a backpack, thigh high hose and combat boots. Seeexxxyyyy!

I did how ever meet a knight in shining armour. Or a fool in a tin-foil hat. Either way he was drinking out of a horn.

Now, lest you think it was all horror and scenes that make you want to bleach your eyeballs, here’s some man candy, who incidentally had the voice of an angel. I tried to buy him, the ladies surrounding him weren’t hearing of it.

One memory from the weekend that stand out in my mind (through the drunken haze) is the field games. Think of it as the Biker Olympics, only for “special” or “challenged” bikers. Events included are the Slow Ride (yes, it’s a contgest to see who can go the slowest without putting their feet down) The Weenie Catch, The Keg Roll, and The Great Escape. Since pictures of the Slow Ride are boring (I mean, really?) here’s a self-explanatory picture of the Weenie Catch. Boobies Optional.

That’s a hot dog coated in mustard hanging from a frame. I’ll let you figure out the rules from there.

But my favorite is The Great Escape. A whole stage is set. It’s a production! There are props! And a story!

First a mattress is placed on the ground. Then the “entrant” lies down and is joined by two girls. The girls are there to “hold” the guy down and keep him from getting off the mattress. The premise to the story is this: when the time keeper says Go! the man is to jump off the matress, throwing the girls all wily-nily to the ground, as if he has just been busted by a jealous husband. Next to the mattress is a window (frame) for jumping through, then they must jump a hurdle (in this year’s case, it was a keg) and mount their bike. They must then start their bike and ride through a series of cones to cross the finish line. Confusing? I have visuals. Of course I do.

Didja notice that one gentleman decided to complete the task sans clothing? I have photographic evidence that he completed the task at hand, but did not win the gold. That honor went to the man-candy shown above. The cutie-patootie. The one I tried to buy. But naked man did ask everyone not to put any pictures on the net showing his face. Because he is a high school girls volleyball coach. But at least one of the women sitting astride his naked body was his wife. The other was her best friend. And they sat on every man that entered the contest. THAT’S the kind of weekend it was.

I’m leaving out alot , but this nonsense has dragged on long enough. I’ll tell you next time about the killer camper (and I mean in a stabby kind of way, not an awesome kind of way) and the bike show and leaving one evening to accept my Mother of the Year award. I’m tired and that’s all I got tonight. But I’ll take my Geritol and write more tomorrow. Pinky swear.

Phoning It In

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Jul 22nd, 2010
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In the midst of the chaos and general nuttiness that has been the last week or so, I finally realized that I did not finish writing about my last day or so of vacation. So in the interest of finishing ONE DAMNED THING in my life, here it is.

We drove through Kentucky.
Dave had the oil changed at the Harley shop.
We went home.

Suck. AmIright? Yeah.

It appears that once you get to a state that actually touches the state you live in, things go downhill.

I have several things to blame. Laundry is at the top of the list. I was getting dangerously close to needing to do laundry while on vacation. This, my dear friends, is a cardinal sin (I’m pretty sure). Next, would be the calendar which taunted me it’s “You have to go back to the real world soon. And no one will make your bed or bring you food.” And finally there was the odometer, which politely told me that my ass had been sitting on this seat for almost two thousand miles.

See? It was like I had been on a week-long one night stand and it was now almost time for the walk of shame. Vacation had totally sexed me up and now was kicking me out of bed without giving me it’s phone number. So really, vacation is a bastard.

I don’t have any really good pictures of the last days of vacation, so instead I’ll just show you what The Man refused to buy me at the Harley Shop (I don’t care if we are almost home, Mr. Man!)because he obviously doesn’t love me care about the condition of my ass.

So, I’m back at work now. With Monkey Butt.

Hot for Teacher

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Jul 8th, 2010
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Day 4: Washington, DC
Temperature: 102
Likelihood of heat-induced brain trauma: 75%
Likelihood of me fanning my T-shirt so vigorously that I inadvertantly flash a senator’s aide during his lunch: 90%

I’m feeling not funny today, so this post is likely to be full of suckage. But whatev. I’m committed to finishing this thing. I jotted down a few notes yesterday, so the chances of this being mildly coherent are up slightly. So at least there’s that.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, Capitol Building. We parked there and died. Not really, but now that we were no longer moving, the air seemed stifling. (Gah, I need spellcheck. Is that right? Stifling? Doesn’t seem right.) Looking around the Mall, we personafied typical tourists, all gape-mouthed and whatnot. As we stumbled towards the big fancy buildings, this approached us.

This is Dave. Everybody say hi, Dave! Dave is a high school science teacher and may have saved our lives. He kindly offered to pedal our sweaty asses around the Mall for an undetermined amount of money. Dave drives a Pedi-cab when he’s not teaching science to adolescents and works for tips. Since we have cash and looming heat-strokes, we take him up on his offer.

I’m quite sure that Dave is the hot teacher at his high school and all the girls giggle whenever he talks about positive ion attraction and big bang theories. He is a fountain of information and told us more about the area and buildings than we could have gotten from any tourist-y booklets. Since he knew we were in town for only a few hours, he filled us in on which places were best and which would not be worth our time.

I have lots of pictures like this. I didn’t want to lean too far out of my seat and take a chance on swaying the Pedi-cab rickshaw thingy, thus causing Dave to get irritated and throw me out, leaving me to die along the street.

After pedaling 2/3’s of the way around, we disembarked, paid the cute teacher and started to head into the first of many Smithsonian biuldings. This is when we overheard Dave the Cute Teacher negotiating with his next client. He offered to take the couple HALF the distance we had just ridden, for well OVER the price we had just paid. Clearly, we are cheap and he is re-thinking the whole “working for tips” thing. But in our defense, he told us to just pay whatever we thought was fair. Meh. I hate being cheap. I also hate being guilted into paying more. FAK!

We loaded up our guilt and plowed into the first building, surrounded by middle schoolers on field trips and Griswold family vacationers. First up, the Air and Space Building.

Then the Museum of Natural History


RAWR!

I think this one looks sneaky. I suspect that dinosaurs were assholes like that.

And that’s when it happened. You know how you can go somewhere, somewhere far away, somewhere no one ever goes and then you see someone you know? Well there he was. My Ex. The Milkdud himself.


Hi, Asshat.

After that, it was time to change buildings and hope The Milkdud wouldn’t find us. The Museum of American History. (My apologies for the poor quality of pics, it’s really dark in there and my camera is ashamed of the fact that it is smarter than me.)


You can almost smell the napalm and weed.

I have oodles more pictures, but I’m afraid this is turning into a slideshow at Aunt Liz’s house of their trip to Bumfuckville while eating crappy appetizers and inhaling Uncle Raymond’s second-hand cigar smoke and beer farts.

A few more buildings later, as our blood reached the temperature of lava, we headed back to Chesapeake Bay and comfy beds and air conditioning.

Stop back by tomorrow, there will be bears, hikers and funeral processions. Not neccesarily in that order.

Bye Dave! You’ll always be my Capitol Crush!

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