Travel pet peeves hit hard on wedding road trips

Fawn Musick

We drove 12 hours one-way last weekend to attend a wedding out in Middle-of-Nowhere, Arkansas. It was pretty, but it was also in the boonies. We stayed in little log cabins that were considerably more primitive than the popular moniker “rustic.” As we rolled to a stop, the college daughter, with her spry legs, jumped from the car, ran into the cabin to use the restroom, came back to the porch and announced to Mr. Jr. High, “Your bed is in the bathroom!”

I told her to be nice, but she grinned and said, “But, Mom, it is.”

Sure enough, the two-room cabin with the queen and twin had two rooms and two beds. However, the twin was right by the sink in the bathroom. He moaned and groaned for a bit, but it ended up being a great joke for the weekend. The worst part for everyone, not just Mr. Jr. High, was being without cell service. I didn’t mind so much, as I helped get things ready for the wedding, AND I had my quilting. I was fine.

The destination was great. The wedding was beautiful. The company was fun. Earlier in the summer, we drove a bit further to a different wedding that involved two vehicles, more time on the road and hotels. Again, the destination was great, the wedding was beautiful, and the company was fun. However, the travel part of participating in far-off weddings is not so fun and can be downright dodgy at times. I have a few travel pet peeves that, well, drive me nuts.

When I stop at the lone and only convenience store, bar, gas station for miles and miles, it is because I need to go to the bathroom. If I am in line, please do not ask me to let you go in front because you gotta go “bad.” So do I! In fact, the only reason I risked the lives of my children and husband at this particular place was because someone had to go really bad.

When we stop because the gas gauge has been dinging for the last 30 miles, or for a squeaky bladder, and the debit card does not work is a particular irritation. I know there is money in the account, but because I forgot to file my travel plans with the bank, they have closed my cards, and I am stuck at a dodgy place right off the highway, and the dudes in the truck next to us are eyeballing my daughter, with no way to get more gas and get outta there. I know that banks are concerned about my money — at least that is what they say — but it is really aggravating to not have access to my money. Luckily, I always travel with a little bit of cash that tides us over until I can talk to the bank on the phone.

I almost missed the rehearsal dinner at the last wedding while waiting for the bank lady to confirm that I am really who I say I am on the phone, even though I provided her with every detail of my life, my husband’s life, our children’s lives, AND I invited her to the wedding. Just a small travel pet peeve.

We have survived several out-of-town trips, but one of the biggest irritations is the folks who drive perpetually on the left-hand side of the highway. Hubs tries to push them on through. He tries to go around, but they seem to travel almost exactly the same speed as the car next to them. It is like one has their cruise set to 70 mph, and the other one has theirs set to 70 1/2 mph. No one can get around, and the words in the car become very inventive. Add in a few trucks and some hills with a left-lane driver, and I have to tell the kids to turn up their music and put in their earbuds.

Cars back up in both lanes and tempers flare. If there is the tiniest break in the traffic, about 90 cars all rush to fill the gap. More inventive words fly, and FINALLY we break out of the pack and are traveling at a nice clip, trying to get home from a long weekend. Hubs thinks he is Al Unser, and we weave in and out of traffic, smoothly coming to the front of the pack. The words about left-lane drivers taper off, and then suddenly, there are blue lights, and we are no longer at the front of the pack.

We watch in misery as the same cars we worked so hard to get around swoosh by us as we wait for the officer to check our credentials. I thought about telling the officer to call the bank lady, as she has all our pertinent information, but I thought better of it at the last moment.

Meanwhile, hubs was talking to the police officer when I saw the left-lane driver roll on by with his right blinker flashing.

Fawn Musick is a Princeton Times columnist, a mom, and a blogger. To read more of her work, visit fawn.musick.com. To contact her, write fawnmusick@yahoo.com