Thursday, April 8, 2010

Journey South

Editors Note: If you haven't read The Plea, please do so before continuing.

Editors Note 2: To get the full effect of The Journey South, please open a different window with the following link: Road Trip Official Song

I love road trips. Big ones. Little ones. And yes, even ones to Kentucky (which from Wisconsin means you must travel the entire length - top to bottom - of Illinois). As they say, it's not the destination (I think whoever "they" are, were themselves traveling to Kentucky through Illinois...), it's the journey (okay, and whom you're visiting...). So it was, a few Tuesdays ago, at 6:42pm, we found ourselves pulling out of the St. Joseph Catholic School parking lot, heading south - with, of course, a stop first at the local Quik Trip for cokes and snack'ms (no road trip is complete without an abundance of junk food). While an abundance of snacks was in fact purchased, we made sure not to indulge too much, as a mere 1.78 hours down the road stood the ever-Incredible Belvidere Oasis!

Earlier in the day, Bill had reminded us - quite emphatically, I might add - that because we'd be passing near Chicago, our travels would take us under the Belvidere Oasis. The exuberant reaction from this reminder-statement was similar to when John Lucas III drained the 3-pointer against St. Joes in 2004 to send Okie State to the Final Four! Pure unadulterated ecstaticness!

If you're unaware, the Belivdere Oasis is an Interstate Rest Area that would no doubt fail a HGH test (The Mark McGwire of Rest Areas - albeit, the Belvidere fully admits that his HGH use is for performance enhancement and not simply to recover from injury (a la the Big Mac)). It couldn't be more appropriately named, as it's located in Illinois (translation: desert). It is located above (yes! above!) Interstate 90 and is packed full of delicious restaurants (Panda Express, Taco Bell, Subway, etc), wonderful snack locales (Auntie Anne's), piping hot and d-lish caffeinated beverages (Starbucks!), fun games (they have a mini-bus that has been turned into one of those games that are crammed full with stuffed animals that you throw 50 cents at and you try in vain to position the claw in order to successfully retrieve one of the aforementioned stuffed animals, yet inevitably, the claw is equivalent to a dead fish hand shake that is so weak that you're half-scared you may have done damage), and the always important $1/3 minute vibrating chair:

Anywhoski, the stop was delightful, but probably a scosh long, because our late departure meant we wouldn't be pulling into Allie's driveway until around 4 in the morn.

Along the way, there was nothing we wouldn't do to assure that all five of us were wide awake for the entire journey - one of those agreements that seems well and good early in the day, but turns into a cluster as we had to struggle nearly perpetually to keep one of our road-trippers awake. I won't mention names, but his name starts with a 'B' and ends with 'ill Van Wagner'. A half-asleep Bill turns into a crabby Bill, but thanks to my many years of road tripping (I once drove to Chicago from Stillwater, OK with 9 guys in a 5 seat Tahoe just to eat a deep dish pizza - not that I'm bragging or anything, it was just awesome, and there is talk of turning that adventure (or one like it) into a full length feature story on a blog), I knew the perfect remedy to a late night crabby road-trip passenger... DASHBOARD CONFESSIONAL! Now, I know what you're thinking, "How does emo turn a crabster into a joyster?" Well, how does mustard turn a corn dog into a masterpiece? Exactly.

Another technique we used to keep all engaged and joyful was an attempt to successfully quote Dumb & Dumber - yes, the entire movie (and, since the soundtrack may or may not be a part of my compact disc collection, we may or may not have been able to use the music to illustrate the beauty of this masterpiece). Not only did we quote the movie, but we would narrate the scene so that our less enthusiastic D&D friends were kept in the loop. Though we only made it to the part where Harry slips the GAS MAN the rat poison -

Harry: "You heard him. He blamed me. Those were his last words."
Lloyd: "Not if you count the gurgling sound..."

I'd say we got an A- for the solid effort put forth by all!

Finally, after nearly 11 hours of driving, we pulled into Allie's driveway at a quarter to 5am. Naturally, when we were a mere 8 - 10 minutes from our destination, we put in the classic road-trip celebratory compact disc: Garth Brooks! Unfortunately, Allie didn't reciprocate our excitement for both finally arriving to her home, and for jamming out to The Man, because before she even said hello, she exclaimed: "Why are you listening to Garth Brooks?" Answer: Click Here. Enough Said.

Our adventure was much to short, as we were at Allie's for only about 26 hours before we had to hit the road back north. However, it was as fun a 26 hours as any of us four have ever had, albeit, a bit of a blur.

Because the time spent at Allie's was a bit of a blur: little to no sleep + super spicy tomato soup + amazingly fun and outrageous "extreme ping pong" - I won't pen much regarding our time there, except to say that we're extremely grateful for Allie's hospitality. She made us eggs, french toast, and coffee for breakfast, showed us around her campus, introduced us to her new friends, bought us all coffee at her favorite coffee shop, and even let us throw a football illegally in the student union! Yes, her hospitality was grand. Thanks Allie!

A random roadtrip to Kentucky?! Yes! Jenna, Sean, Topher, Mot, William, & Allie can't contain big toothy smiles.

Oh, and also, look for a video to be posted here soon with exclusive footage of the aforementioned "extreme ping pong."

P.S. The actual Official Road Trip song was in fact "Crimson and Clover," but performed by Jimmy Eat World, not Tommy James. However, I couldn't find a quality version by Jimmy, so Tommy's version had to suffice. Thanks for understanding.

- peace be da journey

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