Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cross Country Trip

I took this from a small patch of county land at the end of some road--I can't remember the name of it (surprise!), but it's near Haven Beach. I can honestly say I have never been down this particular road before yesterday and didn't know it existed. Speaking of traveling to unknown places, here's a story from a childhood vacation we took across country.

Once upon a time there was a family named Chesapeake Bay Family who lived in Mathews County and did not travel much. In 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 Preteen 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 a rest stop 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.


Big Hair Envy said...

What the heck am I doing up late enough to see this post emerge from the blogosphere??? Oh, yeah. I'm waiting for my teenager to get home! God help me!

Oh, how I loved me a poncho! (A neighbor gal made me one that had every color of the rainbow.) Oh, how I loved me some middle sister tormenting. (Sorry Middle Sis) Unlike CBPre-teen, I tormented Little Sis as well. (Again, sorry) She was only four years younger; therefore, fair game!

Consider yourself lucky. We only had the VW BUG, and had to pee on the side of the road behind a towel. Good times.

Unknown said...

Hysterical. Sounds like one of our family ventures...with five kids in a station wagon.

You guys leftf Middle Sis stranded? Geesh! I can't imagine how she felt. I still suffer stress over leaving my Betsy Wetsy doll in a motel in New Mexico back in '55.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! How hilarious. I think that's just about the best bathroom story I've heard. It's just too funny!

I've had some funny things happen with my sisters, but I think your story takes the cake.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

BHE - I loved the poncho too. Kept the arms and shoulders warm, but wasn't too hot (oh how I hated an itchy old sweater). We had a lime green VW bus, an older bus that was painted for the bicentennial (red, white and blue, gotta love those '70's), a VW Rabbit and at various points in time the bug. I have a bug sitting in my yard right now, but it needs a jump start and perhaps a new tire or two.

GJ - At least we went back and picked her up...did you get to retrieve your Betsy Wetsy? Did she look like Mrs. Beasley?

Geri - There is something inherently hilarious about a public restroom. I've had friends tell me stories that had me rolling in the floor. For example, one former co-worker was at a very fancy restaurant, and she walked out of the bathroom dragging toilet paper that was stuck in her waistband...out the back. Sort of like a tail. She did not find out until it was way too late. Good times.

Bayman said...

I can only imagine attempting that trip with my three teenage boys. No, I can't imagine it. I would rather be in **** with kerosene underwear. There would be blood and broken bones before we got to Richmond. They are cute when they are small. Maybe if there were large cat carriers....

Word verification: STABL...not here.

Mental P Mama said...

I am, quite literally, laughing out loud. No wonder she leaves all that gunk on your wine glasses. I think I would too;)

Anonymous said...

I am laughing so hard the tears are running down my face ... what a great story!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

MPM and John Lee - Glad you enjoyed it. If only one person finds it humorous, I have achieved my mission. Which, believe it or not, isn't to humiliate my sister even though that's what she'll say.

Middle Sister has not read this yet.

Love you, Middle Sister! Thanks for the memories!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Bayman-You may not have made it to West Point with 3 teenaged boys.

Anonymous said...


My husband's family traveled with a "pee jar." Two boys. 'Nuff said. I remember a porta-potty and some incident with it involving an emergency rest stop along the Schuykill expressway outside of Philly. Give me a rest stop pretty much any old day.

Husband's family also forgot a kid - his brother - at some gas station once. There were only two of them to remember. How hard is that?

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Soup - There is even more proof we're kin. It may be (actually sounds like) through your husband's side, but rest assured there's a connection!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we are, like, double cousins or something. :-)

Anonymous said...

OK, we're confusing two stories here. I was left at the GRAND CANYON!!!! By myself....terrified.....a little later in the trip. But, the johnny mop in my poncho story is accurate...except that we were at a restaurant and I had taken my poncho off to do the deed and I laid it down on the cleaning utensil. I believe I was probably singing at the time, because I had this habit of singing while on the toilet. Anyway, I came prancing out of the bathroom and...all eyes on me! I was feeling pretty proud until I heard the laughter coming from Big Sis....

More later my friends!
Middle Sis

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Middle Sister - Just remember that it was NOT Older Sister who left you. Remember that two fully-grown adults were responsible for their children, not the older sister. But I do know that the Mother - Camper episode was also at the Grand Canyon.

Good times.