I drove to Pennsylvania yesterday to visit my family and some friends. Usually, the trip is pretty uneventful-yawn through the boring stretch from Cincy to Columbus (seriously, nothing to look at but flat land), stop at least twice for bathroom breaks (not just for the children, but for this pregnant lady as well) and eventually make it to that familiar Hubbard exit that takes me home.
This particular trip let us experience three adventures in our 4 1/2 hour drive. One scary, one victorious, and one just plain delightful.
I will begin with the scary, since that clearly is the one that wants to be heard first.
We were only a short distance outside of Cincinnati, driving in the right lane and going a steady 70 mph (which was a safe speed considering everyone else was flying past me). I was determined not to get a speeding ticket on this holiday weekend, knowing that the police would be everywhere. As I was driving in the right lane, a car that was sitting on the side of the road suddenly began to merge onto the highway. Not a merge like one would expect-there was no gradual building up speed on the side or even waiting for a clear lane before joining traffic. No, this lady decided to pull out right in front of me-you know, the woman driving a bright red van and going 70.
I slammed on my brakes (picture the kids lurching forward and all of our luggage flying from the back to the front) and actually had to go onto to the side of the highway so that I was right next to her in order to avoid crashing. I managed to punch my horn in anger at her just in case she did not happen to see me next to her (since she clearly did not see me before). And what did she do?
Nothing. No wave of apology. No looking in her rearview mirror with a look of guilt. She simply picked up her speed and took off.
I merged back onto the highway (the proper way) and never could catch up to her. I finally saw her ahead of me, taking an exit. It took every bit of restraint to keep from following her and getting her license, but one never knows what kind of nut job one could be following.
After our narrowing brush with death, a more satisfying story came along. I was driving through a construction zone, not going the 55 posted speed, but also not overly speeding (again, for fear of those police tickets). Some moron behind me decides that I am not moving fast enough and started tailing me. When I was finally able to move over to the right lane, he flew past, passionately talking on his cell phone.
We have all been there. We see the rude driver who deserves the ticket, but never seems to get caught. But, I have hope to share-a few miles later, I saw this driver get pulled over for speeding! Oh, the joy that my heart felt. I began to stick up my hand to wave at my friend, but stopped that reaction for fear of my own ticket.
Finally, my favorite tale of them all. I pulled into a gas station for another bathroom break (I so love being pregnant) and as I pulled into a parking space and got out of the van, a police officer approached me.
My first thought was, "Seriously? After avoiding all of those police officers on the road, I just parked in a handicap spot?" However, this nice man explained to the kids and I that it was "Click it or ticket" day and because we all had on our seatbelts, we got to go inside and get a free cookie.
I do not know who was more excited-the kids for their cookies or me for not being in trouble.
The kids also received a badge and a ruler (or, as Caleb turned it into, a sword). Such fun for them.
After near death, judgmental victory, and free cookies, I can call it a successful trip. I cannot wait to see what happens when I leave in a few days.