we got to 46th street (in queens) when i noticed we still hadn't gone above ground, and wasn't that strange? then i looked at the map on the car. oh, yes. we should have taken any other train. the maj and i collapsed into giggles and decided at that point, it'd be easier to get a car to the airport than worry with the subway anymore.
so we went above ground and wandered aimlessly for a while before going to a deli and asking for a number. they said we didn't need a number, just stick up your hand. so we did. successfully.
we got to national car rental, home of our pricelined vehicle, and breezed through the paperwork. the lady at the counter told us to go to the green area of the parking lot and pick any car you want. i bolted out the door with fire under my heels. i was to be sorely disappointed. all they had were minivans and suvs. the maj and i were both immediately voicing our disapproval. neither of us like driving big cars, we have no need for all that room, and it would have cost twice as much in gas. i went back in and asked if there was anything else. we made them give us our shitty little car.
in case any of you are like my mother, who asked me three times what we had, it was a white chrysler seabring. i enjoy having a white rental car because lots of people on the road think you're a cop, and i am a fairly mean-spirited person, so i enjoy scaring the crap out of people.
we drove to our houses and picked up our crap (i'd decided since we were driving to just take all my laundry with me) and got on the road about 7. at about 12 (is that right, maj?) we were tired and in virginia. since we'd passed dc, we figured we could stop whenever, so we started looking for cheap motels.
we went to five different places before settling on a $60/a night econo lodge. whilst the maj was checking in, i saw two shooting stars. it was a little random. our room had a couple of special features: first, it was room 212, second, there was a little note pad by the bed, which someone had previously scrawled the number for pizza hut and domino's. turns out, he or she wasted his or her time, because the number for domino's is on all the key cards.
the next morning i woke up and couldn't find the maj anywhere. her bed was empty, but i didn't hear anyone in the shower. suddenly, in all my sleepiness, it dawned on me: that crazyass bitch went running.
i berated her the moment she walked back in the room. then i berated her for making my first act of the day an angry one. she laughed at me and got in the shower and i watched tv. i think this is when we saw the cooking show in which the chef, who was making cookies that bend, looked like a fucking serial killer.
we had acheived our goal of staying below the waffle house line, and so dined there for breakfast. although we had bonnaroo's ipod/radio thingy, we spent a good deal of time seeking through various radio stations, one of which blessed us with the gem: "i'm not cool, but it's ok, my god loves me anyway". you're not gonna get any cooler singing a song like that, are you?
we didn't really push ourselves too hard friday. we stopped at an outlet center, where i bought a sweater and jeans and maj deegan got a sweater and some trousers. then i got a harley-davidson shirt for my uncle. we got back on the highway and exited again almost immediately for a subway excursion. then we got back on and off again to go, because there's nothing else to do, to south of the border.
let's take a little side trip with south of the border here. their billboards start roughly 150 miles from the actual destination. while the maj deegan figured it out immediately, i didn't know what the hell pedro's sash thingy was for about 65 miles (each mile has a billboard, i think). i thought it was a giant, phallic firework. pedro is a stunning depiction of a mexican dude who is clearly a human version of speedy gonzalez. each billboard features strange and usually non-sequitorial word plays...e.g., "holy mackeral" with a picture of a fish and a halo; or "hi!" on an unusually high billboard; or a picture of pedro kicking a donkey for no apparent reason.
holy lord, i just found this on their website:
Recently married?...Honeymoon at Pedro's in one of our 20 "heir-conditioned" honeymoon suites complete with a complimentary bottle of champagne. Nothing but the very best will do for your bride!
it's worth a look at the website, just to see how bizarre and more than midly offensive this place is.
anyway, we drove in, the place is seriously depressed. i think it's fading fast as a piece of americana. still, we bought some fireworks and i got 18 beers for $16, so all was not lost.
then we stopped again about 10 mintues later because i wanted a blizzard at the DQ. maj had a chocolate-dipped cone. the lady working at the DQ was one of the saddest souls i've ever seen. she was in her 40s probably, and working at a DQ/stuckey's off 95 in south carolina. she just didn't look like she cared about anything anymore. she made a wicked oreo blizzard, though. i hope she appreciates her talent in that aspect. i've never been so happy with the oreo:ice cream ratio before. NB: the blizzard just turned 20. i remember when it was introduced. this is a depressing fact.
we got back on the road and vowed not to stop until we got to the house, which almost worked out. but we stopped at the BiLo to pick up some groceries first.
now is a good time to list the menus of the trip.
friday dinner: tomato/basil risotto and sauteed veggies, baguette and goat cheese; beaujolais nouveau
saturday breakfast: scrambled eggs on toast with herbed brie, toast and damson jam; tea
saturday lunch: pbj; bud light
saturday dinner: @ Poe's tavern, cheese fries, mahi-mahi tacos (maj had the tuna tacos); anchorsteam/palmetto ale
sunday breakfast: poached eggs and cheese/garlic grits; tea
sunday lunch: oysters, crab legs, pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw, cheese cornbread; bud light, michelob ultra, budweiser select (it was in tubs in the backyard, i wasn't about to complain)
sunday dinner: salmon with dill and lemon, grits cakes, artichokes; bud light, miller light
monday breakfast: salmon and eggs with more grits, toast and damson jam; tea
monday lunch: pbj
monday dinner: chinese food in ashland, va.
tuesday breakfast: waho!!!
tuesday lunch: subway
the origninal plan was to go on the cheap, with a couple bags of pasta and sauce and pbj's the whole time. but then we got to the grocery store and decided to do it up. it was all delicious.
getting to the house was awesome. i've been there about a dozen times and the maj has been there a few, too. it's giant. there are five bedrooms, two full and two half baths, a bar, a huge kitchen, a tv room and many sqaure feet of decking all around. we ate dinner and got drunk and discussed how awesome it was to finally be there and i did my laundry .
saturday we ate breakfast on the upstairs deck. it was fucking awesome. it might have been 60 degrees, brisk, not a cloud in the sky. later that afternoon, we dragged the papasaans up to the deck and "read". i was awakened from my "reading" by a phone call from dave, a friend who's spending some time in charleston with his older brother, john, who lives there. dave suggested we get some dinner.
we went to a place called poe's tavern. they have a fireplace. which was lit. even though it was 65 degrees that day. i am not in any way complaining. we had a lovely dinner, and then john and dave came back to the house and we played cranium and drank a fuckload of beer. i do a killer michael jordan impersonation, by the way.
sunday dave came over and the maj deegan and i schooled him in beach bocce. maj won the game, which is good, because our last game is on monday and we gotta bring it. we jumped in john's car and drove to john's island. this took us over the new someone ravenel, jr. bridge. they're deconstructing the old bridges, and it looks so fucking weird. like future movie or something. the new bridge, which is a nice piece of architecture and the longest something bridge in the americas (?acc. to wikipedia), it's all white with two triangle shaped things of cables. but it runs right down the center of where the two old bridges used to go. so there's two half bridges on one side and then two half bridges on the other side. it's totally cool. i didn't have my camera, of course. the ronald mcdonald house is using blast the bridge as a fundraiser. you enter to have a chance to blow up part of the old bridges. weird idea, but i'd do it. here's a video of a blast. i couldn't get it to work. here are some uber rad flickrs. those show the old bridges and new bridge in all their glory.
as we drove along, we were listening to 96 wave, which i remember from high school and college as a very good radio station. hilariously, they are still a good radio station, but not much of the format has changed. they play a lot of nirvana, foo fighters, pearl jam, stone temple pilots, jane's addiction and pixies, with a dash of the grateful dead, phish, the white stripes and death cab thrown in for good measure. beleive it 20somethings, we have our first oldies station.
the drive was about 1/2 an hour, and we got to the party and walked down a long gravel driveway and under the house to emerge in a backyard that abutts a marsh. there was a long dock out to the water and huge live oaks with spanish moss and a stage with some christmas trees hanging off it. it really threw me off when i'd see christmas decorations everywhere, it was so warm and sunny, it just didn't feel like december. the maj and i kept reminding each other that it was, in fact, december.
so that afternoon, at about 65 degrees, we enjoyed steamed gulf and local oysters, crab legs, bbq and many beers. we listened to the blue dogs, who are friends of john's, we went out on the dock, where oddly some older locals were listening to eminem, we watched the sun fall down in the sky, and i saw venus for the first time (at least that i was aware of). we played ping pong until the little kids asked if they could have their ping pong table back (which didn't take too long). we danced a little bit. we made fun of some of the people around us, we watched the hot camera guy all night. it was a gorgeous time. the perfect southern party, where you think to yourself, "maybe i could live this kind of slow, laid back lifestyle and not be slogging through three inches of slushy muck on the way to to work".
we went back to the house and made dinner and watched movies and drank. for the second night in a row, we figured we'd each had upwards of eight beers but neither of us had felt more than a light buzz. the charlestonian way of drinking allows for very long hours of drinking without getting smashed until very late. it worked out well for us.
monday i was watching the weather and realized that our plans to leave around four were probably over. we packed up and left around noon, took a quick car-tour through downtown and got on the road back to new york. the maj drove and was very excited to drive through four hours of rain and then an hour of freezing rain and sleet and finally snow. we called it quits around eight and found a motel 6 in ashland, va. home of "scotchtown", which i haven't figured out yet.
the guy at the counter of the motel 6 told me how he'd played a trick on the people who were checking in in front of me. it was four big black dudes, who were apparently also from brooklyn, and the clerk had told one of them that he'd won $500. i'm sure it was hilarious, he sure thought it was. but he went the other direction with us and gave me the AAA discount, as well as charging me for one adult and one child instead of two adults. we got out of there with a $40 room, which is pretty damn good. we drove around to get some food and found a chinese restaruant, and as ashland, va is known for its chinese food, we figured we should get some.
as we were leaving the parking lot, a cop got on his car bullhorn across the street and said in his very mechanical sounding voice: "be careful driving. it is bad." i'm not sure if he meant the weather is bad or driving is bad. we made a quick stop for a sixer at a gas station, i won't even get into how stupid and fat the people who worked there were, it was pretty impressive on both counts, though.
we had a pretty smooth ride back to the city. didn't even hit much traffic in staten island. we dropped our assloads of crap off at our houses and returned the car to lga.