Friday, January 21, 2011

Cross Country Trip

View of Queen's Creek from my yard.  January 2011

With so much left to do for my father's 70th birthday party on Saturday, there's no time to contemplate a fresh blog post for today.  So I'm recycling an old one.  

This is a timely repost since it features the whole Chesapeake Bay Family on one of the rare occasions (such as this weekend) when we're all together--in this instance trapped in a Volkswagen Bus with no Matchbox cars such thing as the internet;  no communication devices other than a CB radio; not even an 8-track cartridge for music-- and most importantly, not a single grain of sense to be found in the group. 

This December 2008 post was the initial chapter in a series that attempted to capture the month of August 1977, a month which shall live in infamy in this family, and not just because Elvis died.


Once upon a time there was a family named Chesapeake Bay who lived in Mathews County and did not travel much. In August of 1977, they shoved one cooler, one porta-potty, three bickering children, no games and no other form of entertainment whatsoever into a Volkswagen bus pulling a Coleman pop-up camper. They headed to California. Driving. With three bickering children, two of whom were ornery sisters, trapped with their parents. No entertainment.

Chesapeake Bay Pre-Teen spent the majority of the trip sitting in the well in the back of the bus picking her toenails and plotting a scheme to torture her younger sisters--mostly Middle Sister because Baby Sister was too young and that would have been taking advantage of the situation. That would take all of the fun out of it.

As it turned out,Chesapeake Bay Pre-Teen didn’t have to do much plotting to be entertained by her Middle Sister during this trip. Fate took over that task quite nicely.

There were many interesting sites and several entertaining stories that happened prior to this one, but I'm going to start with the Nevada Bathroom Incident.

By the time this haggard crew arrived in Nevada, they were tired. They were bored. They were cranky. And they loved the rest stops because it gave them the chance to see something different, such as fresh air and plenty of distance between them and their irritating family members.

Here in Nevada, the Chesapeake Bay Family pulled over for a break, and the children raced to the restroom. (Sitting on a porta-potty in a VW bus with 4 other family members within touching distance while tractor trailer drivers honk at you as they peer down much to your horror? It gives a person a whole new appreciation for porcelain fixtures and doors with locks, even if 4,000 of your closest strangers have used the facilities before you.)

Anyway, this particular place was crowded, and everyone except Chesapeake Bay Middle Sister had completed the mission. Chesapeake Bay Family waited patiently for Middle Sister. There was a whole lot of commotion, lots of people milling around.

And then it happened. Chesapeake Bay Middle sister emerged from the restroom and there, hanging from her poncho, was a johnny mop. Middle Sister's poncho had caught onto the frizzy part of the toilet cleaning apparatus when she sat down, and it stuck like velcro to that poncho. And she did not know it. She was walking towards us in slow motion as angels sang in the background donning a johnny mop. Attached to her poncho.

OK. It's only in my version of this story that angels were singing and she was striding in slow motion dragging a johnny mop in front of hundreds of people in the state of Nevada. But this is my version, after all, and in all versions of the story she was dragging that johnny mop.

Chesapeake Bay Pre-Teen had enough entertainment to last at least until California, which I do believe was the state where the entire Chesapeake Bay family loaded up in the VW bus after yet another rest stop break and took off down the road.

Except the entire Chesapeake Bay family was not, in fact, in the bus.

Middle Sister had been left behind. 

Angels were singing in this instance as well, though they stopped when we turned around to go get her.

I'll share more details on that incident and others relating to this trip the very next time I'm too busy to prepare a new blog post, in other words very soon. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


Kay L. Davies said...

When my youngest brother was a baby, Mom and Dad left him with my grandparents while they were busy running the family business.
One day they closed up the shop, drove home, and were parking the car when Mom yelled, "Oh, no, we forgot um, uh, whatsisname!"
Now I really want to know what happens in the next installment of Chesapeake Bay sister being left behind.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mental P Mama said...


deborah said...

isn't there a movie based on the CB family's adventure?
snow and ice and frigid cold here today

Daryl said...

You are such a talented writer ... I loved this back then and I love it even more now that I actually know you ..

Mrs F with 4 said...

I never heard the phrase johnny mop before... I'm afraid in our house it is just a plain old bog brush. But now I can't stop laughing.. that is, until someone remembers the infamous time when I went out to visit friends, stark naked below the waist. Well, I had shoes on, obviously. And yes, I did walk a couple of miles like that. In my defence, I DID have a newborn baby with me.

Have a GREAT party!