Thursday, August 19, 2010

Top 10 Things Learned When Driving 4,000 Miles

At the beginning of August, I wondered what lay in wait for me as I set out on my cross-country trek to the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. It only took 15 days and a little over 4,000 miles of driving (mostly by myself) to get from Denver to Philly and back with a few stops along the way. I managed to learn a few things in the process.

Top Ten Things Learned When Driving 4,000 Miles in 15 Days By Myself:
10. Don’t plan a road trip longer than one day more than you’ve previously done. Your butt needs time to gradually work up to sitting for that long.

9. GPS means Gotcha Phooled, Sucka! I turned down paper maps at the AAA office, thinking Charmin Garmin (as my granddaughter Kayleigh named her) would get me where I want to go. Ha!

8. Take paper maps. Print Mapquest or Google, get accordion maps, write out directions, or have something non-technological that will tell you where to go. Well, you know what I mean.

7. Line up a “Phone a Friend,” someone who works at home and has a computer on at all times. My friend Ken Arney connected me with AAA to get maps when Charmin died, gave me a detour route for the Indiana turnpike when a truck accident blocked the road for hours, and even figured out how to get my air conditioner to work! (Just a few of the “bumps” in the proverbial road.)

6. That rule about stopping every two hours isn’t just for leg-stretching. It’s also for engine-heat-thawing-the-air-conditioner-condensation-that-froze-and-stopped-the-air-flow. That happened while my friend Becky Spencer with her “personal summers” was riding with me to Detroit. Not a fun day for her.

5. Just like Forrest Gump, when you find a bathroom, use it. Highway personnel are evil and don’t always tell you in advance when the restroom is closed or being cleaned. How do you get that message to your bladder in time? Oops.

4. Use your God-given cruise control. Some folks like the speed up/slow down thing, but it’s aggravating for us good drivers. And you can usually get away with 5 mph over the speed limit when cruising.

3. If my writer friend Rick Marschall offers to ride along when you go to pick someone up at the airport, ask for his hidden agenda. You’ll find yourself driving all over his old stomping grounds to get a milkshake, fries, or fresh pretzels from the Pretzel Factory. Really yummy, by the way.

2. I learned that I can actually take a 4,000-mile trip by myself and not die.

And the Number 1 thing that I learned about taking a solo 4,000-mile road trip:
1. I will NEVER do it again!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Made it to Pennsylvania

Good morning! Well, I made it to Pennsylvania! Each of the first 3 travel days included some "bump in the road" that created frustration, worries, and extended drive time each day! Not good.

So yesterday, when I was on my 5 1/2-hour drive from Cleveland to Harrisburg, I kept waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, wondering what would happen. I'd already had (minor) car problems, an air conditioner that didn't work, a dead GPS and an hours-long traffic jam involving a detour. What else could happen?


It was a smooth, uneventful drive yesterday. I arrived at Hope Flinchbaugh's house right on schedule with all mechanical and electrical devices working. Thank you, Lord! Hope could see how tired I was, so she prayed that I'd get a good night's sleep, which I did. Oh my, how good you can feel after sufficient rest!

I have a 2-hour drive today, followed by setup at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference. I'm taking and setting up displays for Hope and for Becky Spencer, since they'll be arriving later. And I get to make an airport run, so I'll be tired again tonight. But it's a good tired, and I'm looking forward to it.

Please pray for the conference, that everyone will make it there safely and that we'll create new relationships, cement older ones, and meet the right people for our books. I'm SOOOO looking forward to it. Last year I was a newbie. This year, I belong.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where am I going?

In preparing for my cross-country drive to the Greater Philadelphia Writer's Conference, I invested in a Garmin GPS, lovingly named Charmin Garmin by my granddaughter Kayleigh. As a result, when I visited the AAA office for a tour book, I told the lady I didn't need any maps. HA!

At the beginning of my 11-hour drive from Buhler, Kansas, to Chicago on Friday, Charmin decided she had taken me far enough and she quit. Totally! Just quit! I was on an interstate just outside Kansas City and had no idea how to get from there to my friend Ken's in Chicago!

Bottom line - I called Ken who bridged on the AAA office in Kansas City for directions to their office so I could get maps. The directions were wrong! She told me the wrong exit and to go left, not right. Another hour wasted.

As the frustration built, I was determined not to cry but to just keep driving. God and I had a long talk, and I asked if this was a sign that I shouldn't be going. The announcer on radio station 88.7 FM, the FLR (Family Life Radio) that I had on IMMEDIATELY said, "Cheer up! You're right where God wants you. Just give it up and let Him lead the way."

Wow! I had asked for an answer to prayer, but I never expected to hear a literal voice with that answer! Needless to say, I cried. But this time they were tears of relief, not tears of fear or frustration.

I made it to Chicago in 13 hours instead of the 11 I was expecting, but I made it nonetheless. And I know that I'm right where God wants me to be. That's the best place for anyone--to be right where God wants you.

Thank you, Lord!
Love to all-