Driving, in fact he might never be able to stop driving.
Granted I wasn’t moving too fast this morning after last night. But I had parted ways with the boys and was on the road by 10:30am which isn’t bad. Besides Mapquest claimed that from Chicago to the cabin in the Catskills outside Andes NY that was today’s final destination was a drive of about 12.5 hours so I figured I was alright.
You see every year Jay and Rob and John the members of the supergroup Wounded Buffalo Theory host Cabinfest a two day music festival at John’s cabin. I have only missed one, last years, and swore I wouldn’t miss this one specially since people were coming in from all over the country for it.
The problem was yesterday’s brief but torrential downpour was just a precursor to the huge storm front that I met up with just east of Chicago and which tagged along with me all the way across the Eastern half of the United States. And we are just talking a little rain we are talking the kinda rain that shipwrecked the Swiss Family Robinson and made Noah batten down the hatches. Traffic was slow, visibility was terrible and I must have passed three absolutely totaled cars whose accidents slowed traffic even more.
The best part was besides making you stare intently at the white lines of the freeway (cue Joni Mitchell) the rain made it difficult to see roadsigns so I missed the sign telling me I-80 and I-90 were splitting and it was a damn 20 miles before I realized the signs I passed read 80 not 90. It was another 15 before I could find an exit and backtrack all that way through the rain and get back on the right road.
So by the time I finally got to the turn off that I should’ve reached at 11pm it was 1am. At this point I had been driving through torrential rains for 13.5 hours on little sleep and a mild hangover. As miserable as that had been it was about to get a lot worse. I had been driving on a state highway for the last hour without seeing much life and the directions called for me to turn off it onto a rural route. Which I did, but I hadn’t gotten halfway up the first steep incline when the gas light went on. I knew damn well I had at least 50 miles still to go and that there aren’t 24 hour gas stations on rural routes through the Catskills so I had to go back onto the state highway and go further down the road (cause I knew I hadn’t passed any open stations in the direction I came) so as I drove further and further past where I needed to be I kept getting off at every exit to find their closed gas stations.
It was getting to the point that I was seriously thinking I would have to just sleep in front of the pumps till the station opened in the morning when I finally found a 24 hour Mobile. I don’t think I have ever been made that happy by a full tank of gas. Now stocked up, and practically shaking at this point from the long hours of intense concentration, I backtracked to the original turnoff and began the long slog through the backroads of the Catskills.
Road conditions were even worse here because it was so warm the rain, which was still coming down hard, was creating this steamy fog that hovered about two feet off the ground completely obscuring not just the lines on the road but most of the road itself. You figured out where the road was more by looking for the gaps in the trees than down at the pavement. Obviously then staying on the road required complete focus which made finding the landmarks on the directions problematic. A closed McDonalds, set back from the road, all dark and obscured by fog and rain at 3 am is not an easy landmark to find so of course I overshot it by about 15 minutes and had to backtrack there too. In fact of the final 5 turns, I initially missed all but one.
By the time I finally saw the familiar outline of the cabin it was 5am and I had been on the road for 17.5 hours with no breaks other than to fill up with gas and one stop for Wendy’s which I got to go. Even more obnoxious was that everyone there was already passed out. If I had been even an hour earlier, or if it wasn’t the Cabinfest “preview night” and thus more relaxed I would’ve found at least a couple people to welcome me. Instead I had to content myself with a beer from the keg before curling up to catch a few hours of sleep in the front seat of my car, cause of course by the time I got there all the beds were taken.
What a long f*cking day.