Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why We Drive

Our youngest son left early today to return to Ithaca, New York and his studies at Cornell University there. My wife and I drove him as far as Toledo, Ohio, dropping him off at the AMTRAK station there at one-thirty this morning. His train was scheduled to leave at three.

We had offered to drive him back to Syracuse in New York where his truck lay parked in a field adjacent to the AMTRAK station there. Wendy and I felt sure the truck would have at least a dead battery since Scott had been home here a month. Scott wouldn't hear of that. Too far a drive for us, he said.

Too far a drive? We're driving to Florida next month . . . all the way down to the Keys! Flying? Forget it. Sure, I flew to London but I would have driven there too if I could have. Wendy's not too fond of getting on a plane now either, worried about those new scanners that peer through your clothing. She doesn't want to risk being the centerfold for the next issue of Airport Security Illustrated.

Scott said he didn't mind the long train ride from New York and back, nor being without his car while at home since he just drove our mini-van around. In fact, Wendy and I had to drive our other car pretty much the whole time our son was home during Christmas.

When we dropped him off in Toledo, there was already a large contingent of people waiting for the train, almost all of them Amish. They were certainly from one of the more fundamental Amish sects--the men all with beards and hats, and the women clad from head to toe, mostly in black. As I passed by I did notice one young Amish woman breast-feeding her baby. She didn't make much effort to hide it either, which I found rather ironic considering how conservatively dressed she was otherwise.

Scott said later that this particular Amish clan spoke no English. Leastways none that he heard. But it wasn't the Amish who made Scott's trip home a little more eventful.

The train hadn't even left the Toledo station when one man complained that he needed sleep and requested a sleeper car. There were none operating this trip, he was told. Undeterred, once aboard the man began going from car to car, looking for a sleeper. Not a good idea. He was summarily kicked off the train.

Down the tracks in Erie, Pennsylvania, a train official with a flashlight came up the darkened aisle checking the citizenship and identification papers of passengers. Wow, right out one of those Eastern European spy novels. But this is America! Of course, Scott was fine. But not the unfortunately fellow sitting a few rows behind him.

Scott heard the man say he left his student visa at home. And that it had expired in 2007. And that he no longer was a student in the U.S. Three strikes, you're out. Off the train, anyway.

Luck also wasn't with Scott's seatmate riding east on the Lakeshore Limited. This lady managed to catch a little sleep while the train rocked and rolled across the countryside. After one stop, the woman awoke to ask Scott where they were as the train rolled on again. They had just left Buffalo, Scott said.

"That was my stop," the woman said, panicking. She pleaded with the conductor and others but the best they could do was to let her off at the next stop. She could either rent a car, take a taxi, get someone to pick her up, or catch the westbound train early the next morning.

That's why we drive. Hmmmm, but today I turned on the radio in the mini-van to hear some techno-hip hop music of some kind. Scott must have been messing with my radio. I hit another button on the selector and now get Jimi Hendrix. Sheesh. I'll get Wendy to re-program my stations back. She knows how to do it better than I.

"'Scuse me while I kiss the sky. Purple haze . . . "

I need some road songs. Oh, and Scott's truck? Started up fine, he said.

24 Comments:

Blogger Lynilu said...

I like driving. I also like "railing." I used to fly everywhere, but that was in the days of pre-9/11 security, not the current gobbeldygook. It isn't nearly as much fun now. So I fly only when I need to. The last several years I've really enjoyed seeing the US from the ground. Hmm, suddenly I'm hearing an old commercial .... "See the USA, In your Chevrolet, America is asking you to call ...." Dinah Shore, wasn't it?

9:00 PM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

We prefer driving too. Freedom to stop and stretch or see something on the spur of the moment. How long of a drive will it be for you on your Florida trip? What music do you usually have the radio set to?

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not such a bad trip. I heard once that these people in a sleeper car on there way out to Montana had to put up with a group of guys next to them who were partying all night and getting into drunken arguments about who was better than who at meaningless things.

Sounds like a bunch of jerks.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

LYNILU--Yes, I can hear that Dinah Shore classic now. Traveling back then was quite an adventure too. I still remember Route 66, though that was quite a long time ago.

TECHNOBABE--I didn't even check the miles yet but I know it will be over 20 hours on the road--one way! We'll survive if we can find a classic rock station on the radio.

ANONYMOUS--Hmmmm, we went to Montana once on the train. What I remember best about that trip was seeing my nephew trying to smuggle some "contraband" beer aboard AMTRAK wrapped in plain brown paper. And seeing the look on his face when he spied the security guard at the train station.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

we're about to leave for vegas & phoenix dave. dil & me-we tend to get pretty queasy. plus, dh insists on doing all the driving himself and he stops for NOTHING. that's why when we go on vacation-we go on cruises, he has no choice but to STOP and smell the proverbial roses.

glad it worked out for Scott. I hate the thought of my 1/2 hour drive in the rain for today's dr's appt.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey we are going to Florida in a month too. Though we are flying. Mmm, Let's see, 2 hours in a plane or 25 hours in a car (from Traverse City). That's a tough one, we would need to take 2-3 extra vacation days just for the drive.

12:36 PM  
Blogger 美麗之城 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--Vegas, eh. Just don't let happen to you what happened to this one couple in this movie I watched--Lost in America. Traveling does have its risks.

ANONYMOUS--"Getting there is half the fun, you know that." Chevy Chase, Vacation.

美麗之城--Are you the spammer whose comments I've been deleting? I'm going to let this one go since it halfway makes sense, but I'm deleting anything that doesn't.

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Enforcer said...

Whats wrong with Hendrix? Do you prefer Yanni?

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Enforcer said...

Hey, what's up with the Asian girl, did you click on the dots ?

5:29 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ENFORCER--Shoot! Didn't see that link. Darn spammer. He's gone. For now anyway.

Hendrix is a little too heavy metal for me. I prefer the Beatles.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Big Red Bear said...

I never changed the radio presets in the van.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BIG RED BEAR--Then maybe it was Greg. Wendy said somebody did.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Scott's Spartan spirit saves and salvages the scenario!

We live near Jimi's grave. There is a guitar on the headstone which his fans use to make rubbings. I know this because a few of my kiddos are fans. Renegades!

I dislike hip-hop, as well, but, because he has donned Spartan gear with panache, I selected Snoop Dogg's voice for my GPS.(http://www.spartantailgate.com/forums/msu-red-cedar-message-board/319431-michael-moore-vs-snoop-dog-msu-gear.html)

Nursing a baby is the most natural thing known to man, Dave. Amish women, like all loving and nurturing mothers, have no inclination toward "false" modesty. You should try to stay abreast of these matters.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BONNIE--Don't know if I'd trust Snoop Dogg's directions here in the Wolverine state. Maybe Kid Rock or Bob Seger.

In fact, I don't know if I'd trust a GPS unit in your part of the country either after what I hear on the news. You might be trying to navigate some maze of logging roads out there and Snoop would say, "Dude, you're on your own."

7:44 AM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

A good road song, after today's Spartan B-Ball victory (No choking whatsoever!) might be: He Got Game by Public Enemy with the harmony part singing For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I have ever been on a plane and have no wish to do so. It
takes longer to drive bur you see more and can choose to stop etc.
I am glad Scott's truck started OK.
There are special breakfasts here too
but I rarely eat out, so don't know much about them. I guess you can get most things. Take care, my friend. Regards, Merle.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

BONNIE--Back again crowing about a one-point b-ball victory against one of the Big Ten's lesser teams?? Pretty soon you'll be breaking in here to announce a Spartan victory in a Tiddlywinks competition.

Not sure I get the criminal and gun references though. Are the ranks of the Sparty b-ballers getting thinned out by arrests like the football team?

MERLE--We're on the same page with our flying. I do like to travel though so I may have to put up with it if I want to see other countries.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Isabelle said...

You've got a picture of our Cassie on your blog!

By the way, are you sure that cat of yours wasn't a fox?...

1:20 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sounds like AMTRAX run a pretty tight ship... Err... train Dave, happy tripping to Florida, as you know I nearly alwys drive too.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Whew! Glad the truck started.

I used to recruit at Cornell from the ILR school. Driving from Syracuse to Ithaca could be a challenge at times.

And, you guys are driving to the Keys? Wow, brave souls!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

ISABELLE--Your Cassie here is always trying to sell something though. Not sure I like that.

PETER--Yeah, long distances there in Australia for drivers too.

FRED--Oh, oh. Why so brave? Is there a lot of traffic around Miami? Alligator ambushes around the everglades?

3:46 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Big Dave ~ So then the moral of the story is "Don't sleep while NOT driving?" ~ te he! ~ jb///

11:14 AM  
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3:41 PM  

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