Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whirwind Trips

Just got back yesterday from a trip to Kansas City. Though the trip was swift, leaving Saturday and coming back Monday, it had been planned for a couple weeks now since we received an invite to Wendy's sister's surprise sixtieth birthday party at the home of her son in rural Kansas.

After driving over 12 hours, our party consisting of me, Wendy, her sister Denise and her two older boys, arrived at the party late. That just provided a double surprise for Sue, my wife's sister. She had already received her first surprise when she arrived herself to see a gathering of children and grandkids there in her honor. When she saw Wendy emerge from our car, she excitedly hurried to the end of the driveway. They hadn't seen eachother since the death of their mother almost seven years ago.

The get-together was planned by Sue's husband Fred who conspired with other members of the immediate family to make her 60th birthday that much more memorable. I particularly enjoyed the dinner that included a seafood boil and Kansas style barbecue. I took a picture of the boil here. You can see crab legs but probably not the shrimp, crawdads, clams, andouille sausage, potatoes, corn on the cob, mmmmmmmmmmm.'

We drove back to Michigan a different way than AAA mapped out for us. I'm not sure I trust AAA maps anymore, though Mapquest's route didn't seem that much better. At least we didn't have any mishaps though there were a few scary moments. Driving around Chicago, we spotted the through sign for I-80 but there were also tollbooths going the same way for the turnpike.

It was weird, most everyone pulled off the expressway to pay their toll. Not us. We continued on through the lanes that were reserved for I-Pass. Except, I don't think we have I-Pass. Hea, it was all confusing. And not just for me. On our way back at the same location my sister-in-law who was driving at the time made the same mistake. She skipped the tollbooths and continued on through the I-Pass lanes.

She was going to swerve across a painted divider to get into the toll lanes, but I said to drive on. I'll just owe the state of Illinois a buck and twenty. They can bill me. I wasn't too happy with their interstate system there anyway. They need more rest areas.

Also on a whirlwind trip beginning this past weekend is my nephew Zac from South Dakota. Hoping for a career in medicine, he hooked up with a medical team from near my hometown in Michigan. They’re doing a weeklong medical mission in Haiti.

But Zac must have had some scary moments traveling as well, I think. He was supposed to rendezvous with the medical team at La Quinta Inn in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, prior to catching a 5 a.m. flight to Haiti. But when the group sent a representative to Zac’s room at before four in the morning to make sure he was up and ready, the door was answered by an older Hispanic gentleman instead. Zac was at a different La Quinta Inn. Somehow they did rendezvous but I don't know how. Zac is in Haiti now.

Let's hope his trip back is more uneventful. Whirlwind trips don’t tend to be though.


Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Twelve hours in the car is a lot. So glad it was for such a wonderful reunion for the two sisters and a great occasion. Driving and toll roads and reading maps at the same time are a bit much. So glad you all got there and had a good time and got back home safe.

7:01 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Luckily my wife and I make a good team. She navigates while I drive. Usually that works well.

3:50 AM  
Blogger B.S. said...

Thanks for the tip about ignoring the toll booths! I'll remember it if I'm ever so unfortunate as to have to drive around Chicago again.

That seafood boil looks enticing. I guess your 12 hour drive paid off!


4:46 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

B.S.--After passing those toll booths, there was a sign giving us a website where we could pay if we "missed the tollbooth." Don't remember the website though, so I just hope they don't have our car on video or something.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I am so glad you and your wife got to her sister's birthday. It was a long trip, but worth it by the sounds of it. I always paid tolls when and where necessary when I drove - they seem to catch up with you. Do let us know if they bill you later on.
Thanks for your kind words about my health. I don't like medical procedures either. I haven't seen any of those flesh-eating zombie movies but maybe I will give the fork a miss too.
Take care my friend,Regards,Merle.

1:28 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

hmmm, well we just had an hour and a half drive w/ a cranky and rude 80 year old (2 ways) in the back seat Dave. Then, I just got off the boat after 7 days of 6 people in 300 sq ft and 2 bathrooms.

it was fun, but I'm not sure which one of us had the "best" time on our adventures!

More on mine Friday!

12:00 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--I think I have some old parking fines I haven't paid either. Some of those go back decades. I know I should avoid Cleveland for a while yet.

CARINE--I was all ready to go to your site and get the scoop, then I saw I had to wait till Friday. Darn!

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please get a GPS. This is getting out of control. That would be an excellent anniversary gift. Or some fierce whirly ball action!

12:53 PM  

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