Warning: Many tedious, unnecessary details included. So, this could take awhile.( oh, and I'm not proofing it at all, so assume all mistakes are typos. Feel free to comment on any you find so I can fix them. )
So, as I posted last week, I joined the M & Ms in TN for our first annual girls' week. According to Google, from St. Louis it's an approximately 9-10 hour drive. I think the furthest I've ever driven alone is maybe 3 hours so I was excited and scared to death all at the same time. I decided to leave Sunday afternoon, drive as far as I felt comfortable with, then stop for the night. The hubby and K had to actually push me out the door to leave. But once I got on the road I felt pretty good. Traffic was sparse and the cruise control helped me avoid any speed traps. I cruised along for about 2-3 hours and then.... my check engine light came on. So I pulled over to a gas station (that was 4 MILES from the exit ramp, why did they even list it?! If you're that desperate for gas or a bathroom you probably won't make it that far anyway.) and texted Shawn. His response "Do you want me to come get you?" Hell, no. I am not a wimp! I can do this. When the engine light came on the oil warning light came on briefly also so I decided to check the oil, thinking that was the problem. I have done minor "work" on my cars in the past- check and fill the oil, refill wiper fluid, change the battery (with help) etc so I was pretty sure I could handle it. Until I realized I didn't even know where the latch was to open the hood. Not the one inside the car, the one under the grill. I finally got the hood up and boy does the engine compartant of my car look clean! Too bad nothing is ever in the same place from car to car. However, a nice fatherly gentleman stopped to help me out. We tested the oil- it was perfect so we dug into my car book again and finally found the engine warning light entry (it's BURIED). Guess what it said?! Your car is still safe to drive, just have a tech check it when you can. Seriously. Why even bother putting the light there then?
An hour lost, I headed back out on the road. The rest of the evening was fairly uneventful (except a kinda weird, kinda sweet little old lady who sat down with me at dinner so she wouldn't dirty any of the other tables while waiting for her to go order. I told her I was deaf but she kept up a steady stream of conversation anyway.) I decided to stop in Nashville for the night then finish the last of the drive Monday morning. Shout out to the security guard at the rest stop who helped me find a great coupon for the Best Western off exit 219. Saved me $40! Checked in, lugged my stuff up to the 2nd floor room (on the other side of the "buuilding" from the elevator) and tried to plug my phone in to charge. Nope, not happening. Apparently at some point between St. Louis and Nashville I broke my charger. So, the first full day of my vacation involved me missing (free!) breakfast to search out a Verizon store to get a replacement. The staff at B.W were SO helpful. They even printed off directions for me. Replacement secured I left phone in room to charge while I headed out (again) in search of food. The Waffle House next to the hotel looked fairly clean and smelled pretty good (breakfast ALWAYS smells good) so in I went. I ignored the "save booths for parties of 2 or more" and plopped myself down. Guess what? You don't have to have waffles at Waffle House. I got biscuits and gravy instead and it was pretty darn good. After all that I was still on the road by 10:00 am... Central time. Which means 11:00 at my destination. Not too, too late. And had I not got lost on the way (thanks to some truly confusing Google directions) I think I would have made it by my promised arrival of 3:00 pm. Instead I drove in circles for an extra 40 minutes, then got stuck in some extremely expletive worthy traffic. (Only because I had stopped using my a/c after the warning light came on- apparently it's connected to the cooling system. Better safe than sorry.) Finally managed to drag my sorry, sweat-soaked ass into the hotel at about... (4:30-5:00?) way after I said I'd be there. My 9-10 hour drive took... 24 hours. :) But I still beat Mary!
Hmmm, I think I'll stop there for now. Leg is getting sore (that story will be in episode 2 or 3 or 4).