Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The More The Merrier, Blazing a Trail, and The Glorious Arrival - Day One of the Four Day Wedding Roadtrip

It all started with a wedding. A friend of mine, in fact a mutual friend of most of my friends, announced her wedding date a year or so ago, and a few months after asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. Needless to say, I was thrilled (and honored) that she'd asked. I'd never been in a wedding before -- gone, sure, but been an active participant? Not as such! Anyway, that was the start of it. 

The More The Merrier

I, along with three of my friends (whom we'll call Jackie, Michelle, and Emma for the sake of the story) would be driving up to P-town Texas for the whole affair.

Of course, as the date got closer and we managed to round up our outfits and request off work and save up the money to go, we narrowed down the plans. Leave Thursday, early as we can, get there Thursday night. Friday we'd tackle the rehearsal dinner, Saturday the wedding, and Sunday we'd hoof it back to Midlo, safe, sound, and having completed the task of marrying off our friend.

As usual, I procrastinated to the very last -- I bought my shirt a couple of days before we left, and I bought my shoes literally the day before (but hey, they're super cute!). And of course I was rushing around even the morning of to find the snacks I'd 'signed up' to bring.

Thursday rolls around, I'm still packing. Naturally it took me longer than I thought it would. Story of my life. Jackie picks me up, we load all of my junk in the car. I've got my suitcase and duffel in the back, my purse, and bags of food at my feet.
**please note the picture to the right at your convenience.**
Oh, and the blanket I brought in case I get cold? Yeah, I'm sitting on that. Which I later find out made me quite a bit taller than I realized. Loading the car doesn't take too long, but when you have to do it two more times it starts to slow things down. That, and the fuller the car got, the more rearranging we had to do. Oh, and I just think that you should know that
 the floorboards at my feet weren't the only ones that looked like that. We stuffed the trunk to maximum capacity. We even had to reconfigure because it was so stuffed that it was keeping the car from starting. You know us girls, though; can't travel light, can we? *casual scoff*

Anyway, we left town around noon and jammed out to Jackie's playlist. Eclectic is good, especially when you've got a long drive ahead of you. Did I mention that this particular trip was going to be somewhere in the area of 7 and a half to 8 hours? Well it was. And all of us, much like clowns in a circus car, were skillfully fitted into Jackie's two-door Honda Civic. Did I mention it's a standard? Well it is. Did I mention that Jackie is the only one of our quartet that knows how to drive stick? Well she is. And unfortunately her car gets the best gas mileage of the four of us, so in exchange for the whole driving-the-entire-time thing, we paid for her gas as needed. 

Blazing a Trail

I think that people who don't live in Texas can't truly appreciate just how big it is. In fact, I'll go as far to say that unless you live here or are here very often, you really don't understand exactly how long you can drive and still never leave Texas. The drive from our town
 to P-town took nearly 8 hours. But in P-town, the closest Walmart is in Kansas. And by closest I mean about 45 minutes away. Quick recap -- we drive the equivilent of a third of the DAY to get to a town where going through the little strip of Oklahoma to get to Walmart is faster than going to Amarillo. Who knew? Needless to say we saw more than our fair share of land. As far as the eye can see, land. And then, just when you think it's over, you look out the window and - LOOK! - More land! Not that it wasn't pretty, or even at times awe-inspiring, but I'm a photo fiend and let me just tell you that with the camera I was packin' there was only so many landscape shots that would be interesting. Maybe if I'd had more zoom...

So we've driven for hours, and we're almost halfway. Childress is up ahead and the only thing between us and it is Quanah. For those of you who don't know, Quanah is where my Grandpa lived, and he passed away earlier this year. So the last time I was in Quanah was for his funeral, and I guess I wasn't quite ready to handle that. It's just strange to drive through a town that you've been to countless times in your life and realize that somehow, someway you no longer have any connection to it besides a headstone. I don't have any more family in Quanah, which hasn't been the case since I can remember. It was just odd. In a sort of uncomfortable way.

When we all agreed that a pit stop was in order, we hit up the only place we could find that we thought might have a chance at decent sanitation: Dairy Queen. And, I feel that it's important to mention that somehow DQ's in little towns are different from those in larger cities. I know from experience. Midlo has a Dairy Queen, and Midlo is a small town. Small town Dairy Queen establishments can be...odd. It's like any other place - it has its regulars. Only DQ regulars can be an interesting bunch. We pile out of the car, tripping over bags and blankets, water bottles, etc., and flock into DQ. I notice that there are people, but for the most part I'm thinking that if I don't get to that porcelain I'm going to explode right here in front of God and everybody. After my turn, I head outside with Michelle -- Jackie and Emma are still inside. Michelle and I proceed to take pictures and goof off, then our other two join us. Jackie then informed us
 that apparently the DQ natives found us quite interesting. At least we assume they did, since apparently they stared. The phrase, "Take a picture, it'll last longer," comes to mind. That being said, we did indeed take a picture.

Of course DQ wasn't the only place we stopped along the way. It was just one of the more interesting stories. And as I actually don't want to bore you, I figured I'd stick to the mentionables as opposed to a word for word account of what went down. :)

By the time we hit Childress, all of the road markers were disappointing. We kept expecting to eventually see a sign for P-town. In fact, when we finally did there was much rejoicing amongst us four. After hours of driving, no matter how fun the trip or enjoyable the company, being in the car just isn't in the least appealing. 

The Glorious Arrival

When we finally got to P-Town, we met the bride-to-be at the gas station and followed her to our motel. Our room was nice. Not the Ritz, but come on - if it had been, no way would we have been able to afford it. While Jackie and Michelle checked us in, Emma and I waited in the car. I can't speak for her, but I know all I wanted to do was lay down. This, however, was not quite meant to happen for me yet. We unloaded the car, dumped our stuff off in the room, and piled back into the car (minus Emma, who rode with the bride), and followed Maranda to her house. There we met the boys -a couple of them, anyway. But I'll be honest; that deserves its own entry, so I'll get to that later. Anyway, we had dinner with Maranda, chatted with the guys, and left when the number of sobers no longer outweighed the number of not-so-sobers. ;) It was fun, but we were all glad to make it back to the room and crawl under our blankets.

Thus ends post one of what will most likely be a four or five post update. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm going to bed. Check back soon for Day Two - Bubbles Wear Hats, Practice Makes Perfect, and The B-Party. 

To Be Continued...

1 comment:

Sandra Ferguson said...

Great post. I love road trips, and those with cherished friends are the best ones. That doesn't change no matter what the age.

Sorry to hear about your grandfather. Your description is poignant and thought-provoking. There are so many stages to grief and sometimes it seems to simply take too long and be never-ending. Perhaps you link to that town is gone, but from your words it sounds as though your grandfather still lives on through your memories. Keeping those . . . will last a life-time.