Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Postcards From the Road

So I'm back from Kentucky, having survived the drive, the wedding, and the polite request from the Frankfort Police Department that several members of the wedding party would please get out of the Capital Plaza fountain. The wedding itself was beautiful, if not riddled with mishaps. For starters, the groom misplaced the rings, a plot twist that would be hilarious in, say, an Ashton Kutcher movie but it's not as entertaining when the bride and groom--who are keeping with the tradition that says they can't see each other pre-show--are fighting via family members over who's to blame. I suggested Gollum. No one laughed then either.

Following the ceremony, the new Mr. & Mrs. were supposed to load themselves Disney princess-style into a horse-drawn carriage to be whisked from the church to the reception. About an hour before go-time, the bride received a frantic phone call informing her that the horse in question had suffered some kind of leg-related mishap that morning and had to be put down. Nothing says that fortune has smiled upon your wedding day like having to euthanize an animal.

They arranged for alternate transportation--a motorcycle--but I can't believe that there wasn't some kind of replacement horse available. We were in Kentucky, a place where ponies are more plentiful than anything save for bourbon and illiteracy*. My hotel room had no less than four equine-themed items on proud display, including a giant portrait of a horse's head hanging directly beside my pillow, a decorating decision that made me wake up in a panic on Saturday morning, terrified that Don Corleone was trying to send me a message.

Anyway. They still got married and I hope it lasts forever or at least longer than the warranties on the appliances they received.

But enough about them.

Let's talk about me and the 15 total hours I spent in the car alone with my thoughts and a stack of shitty CDs.

I had grand intentions of live-Twitting the weekend, but my first 140-character update from US-52 sent me dangerously close to a guardrail, so instead I scrawled ball-point notes on my thigh and have tried to transcribe them for you here so IT'S LIKE YOU WERE IN THE CAR WITH ME, albeit without the overwhelming aroma of McGriddle and self-loathing.

10:21 a.m.: I just drove past two gentleman on the side of the road who were collecting the remains of what looked like a Chupacabra.

10:37 a.m.: Daddy wrestles alligators, momma works on carburators, speed monitored by aircrafterators. Meet (the Commonwealth of) Virginia.

12:25 p.m. I had a "We forgot Kevin!" moment of panic when I realized that my official wedding shoes were sitting on my kitchen table. Ignoring for a moment the unsanitary nature of placing my dyed-to-match-es where I allow my guests to eat, I was going to have to find some replacement footwear along the way. Thank gawd for the cleverly named Shoe Department in the appropriately named Mt. Hope, West Virginia.

1:48 p.m. The West Virginia state capital. Under the gold wrapper, the entire dome is made of solid milk chocolate.

2:04 p.m.: If you're schizophrenic, can you drive in the car pool lane?

2:12 p.m. Thank you, West Virginia, for making your state speed limit a generous 70 miles per hour. Thank you, West Virginia State Police for explaining that 83 does not equal 70.

2:52 p.m.: If they're ever having a competition for the worst singer of all time, all of the participants should be required to belt out Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl". Between the "woah oh oh oh ohs" and the falsetto that requires a diploma from the Frankie Valli School of Scrotal Scrunching, it has the potential to be a trainwreck of epic proportions. Confidential to Hollywood: I can has development deal?

3:11 p.m. The Four Piece Feast. Color me delighted to learn that gas stations sometimes have a clearance aisle. My above delicacies cost $1.83 which didn't quite make up for the $81 of unleaded I poured into the gas tank. Sadly, Whatchamacallit bars taste like those packets marked "Do Not Eat" sometimes found in shoe boxes.

3:33 p.m.: I passed a sign announcing that this year's Ryder Cup will be at Valhalla, in Louisville. If any of my readers have the power to get me a press pass, I promise hard hitting journalistic coverage of golf's premier international event that mainly consists of trying to lure European captain Nick Faldo to my hotel room for some, um, hard-hitting journalism.**

3:49 p.m. I like to think that the Beer Cave is the lair of Bruce Wayne's less-fortunate half-brother Ricky Lee Wayne. Like Batman, Beerman doesn't have any super powers, but he does have both a drive-through liquor store and a much larger buckle on his utility belt.

3:51 p.m.: The state bird of Kentucky is the extended middle finger.


4:52 p.m.: You know you've been in the car too long when you hear a song on Sirius' soft rock channel and you think, "When I get to the hotel, I'm definitely going to download some matchbox 20".

8:07 a.m.: When I was out running on Saturday morning, I ran past a gentleman who was using a treadmill. In his yard. Read that again. The name stenciled on the mailbox was "Hicks", the kind of unbelievable detail only seen in hand-drawn illustrations for childrens' books but one that will be the lead clip in my personal 2008 highlight reel.

I was surprised to learn that Kentuckians (Kentuckers?) had such a negative view toward their ruggedly handsome neighbor West Virginia. Any time I mentioned that I was originally from Ye Olde Mountain State, it was met by some kind of derisive comment. Look, Kentucky, you're not that much better. Sure you may edge Dubya Vee in obesity but they've got you in rickets, so grab another horse-shaped novelty item and shut your collective cakehole.

10:17 a.m. The woman sitting behind me at breakfast has been repeatedly assuring--or perhaps warning--her dining companions that she and her boyfriend are "trying for a baby". If I'd eaten another pecan spinwheel every time she used that phrase, I'd be unable to drive home without stopping at interstate weigh stations. "We're trying for a baby" is an expression that always makes me think of a carnival game that involves maneuvering a metal claw. "Our first choice is the baby, but we're also trying for that plush panda bear in the back corner."

12:57 p.m.: A pickup truck parked near the hotel had a bumper sticker that said "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jefferson Davis". I don't know whether this means that the driver is 147 years old or just a racist. Or, given the way it was deliberately driven onto the lawn of someone with an Obama yard sign, perhaps both.

4:12 p.m.: Overheard before the ceremony: "I sure hope we go to hell. If we don't, we're going to have to make a new set of friends."

6:01 p.m.: Every time I attend a wedding reception, I'm disappointed that the bride and her father don't dance to Pearl Jam's "Daughter".

7:35 p.m.: My perspective upon realizing that I'd just baptized the bottom hem of my dress in the toilet.

4:41 a.m.: I grabbed my backpack and rolled out of the hotel, determined to not idle beside orange barrels and bulldozers all day. Thanks to various highway renovations from Charleston, WV to Ashland, KY, I spent an additional 120 minutes seatbelted in on Friday. I should've seen this coming, as West Virginia only has three seasons: Winter, Almost Winter, and Road Construction. So I was out on I-64 before dawn, listening to nothing but soft rock and the sound of giant insects splatterpainting my windshield.

5:39 a.m.: Sausage McGriddles are McManna from Heaven. Syrup filled, artery clogging bits of manna that can eventually kill you.

6:55 a.m. Thank you, West Virginia, for suddenly and without warning lopping 10 miles off of the speed limit. Thank you, Cabell County Sheriff, for showing me the error of my ways.

9:04 a.m.: I have donated $7.50 in tolls to the State of West Virginia. Toll collectors always simultaneously make me think of an Adam Sandler routine and of the untimely demise of the main character's mother in Wally Lamb's depress-o-matic novel She's Come Undone. Sometimes my brain freaks me the fuck out.

10:26 a.m.: A bird just managed to shit through my open sunroof. I don't know whether to be disgusted or impressed. This is the same reaction I have when someone tells me that they can belch the M.A.S.H. theme song. Or that they've spent the better part of their life playing World of Warcraft.

I got home and immediately toasted the couple with my last can of Code Red, saying a silent prayer that their marriage would be forever. If not, I'll be flying to the next one.

* I kid! I kid! These are jokes!
** For more on my Faldobsession, read this. I've wanted to get my mashie near his niblick for a long time, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.


On an unrelated note, I have so many awesome commenters with their own stellar bloggage that I need to update my 'roll to the right. So if you'd like me to link you, drop me a note at thetyping [at] gmail [dot] com.


Deutlich said...


lacochran said...

I looked up jorts on the internet and got:

My eyes! My eyes!!!

Ben said...

I don't even know where to begin...

Maybe I'll just ask how many speeding tickets you got while digesting the rest of the hilarity you managed to bowl through in a single post.

Nicole said...

This has me laughing out loud at my work! My boss never knew writing press releases was so hilarious. Thanks for the wonderful break!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Hahaha. Eventful drive! I live in North Carolina and we have a Morehead City as well. There used to be a movie theater there for sale and the sign read:
"Morehead For Sale"

HAHA. Enjoy. We also have a Seymour Johnson Airforce Base.

Sarah said...

Speaking of Morehead...the Ohio Turnpike west of Cleveland has Fangboner Road. And let's not forget the all-time classic of Exit 69, Big Beaver Rd. (Troy, Michigan).

I've gotten nine speeding tickets. You're on your way, grasshopper.

Lora said...

I'm afraid of

1) googling "jorts" because I have no idea wtf they are but i don't feel like puking right now.

2) killing a tollbooth operator every time I cross the bridge from jersey ever since i read that book but my overwhelming urge to get the hell out of jersey wins over.

Belle of the Ball said...

Ohmygosh! Are you from WV? I am and we always say that same joke about the dome!

JustinS said...

Gollum... Well, *I* thought it was funny.

And any hilarious twist in an Ashton Kutcher movie would be a pleasant change of pace.

GorillaSushi said...

"I'm definitely going to download some matchbox 20" - The last time I had one of those moments I had spent all day painting my (unventilated) basement, listening to some flashback weekend radio thing. "I wonder how hard it would be to download the entire Steely Dan discography?"

M. Brooks said...

This post is hilarious. I'm lucky enough to be stuck in the great state of Kentucky while my husband is going to grad school. We are in Lexington - about 30 minutes from Frankfort. Coming from Houston, Kentucky was quite the culture shock, but after two years up here, the Bluegrass State is finally starting to grow on me. I'll work on those Ryder Cup tickets for you.

Kaeti said...

I saw a 'Road Work Ahead' sign the other day with the "work" and the "a" in ahead crossed out. I laughed, by myself in my car, for a solid two minutes.

Thank you for validating my, uh, very mature sense of humor.

Red Squirrel said...

I've met Nick Faldo. He's an insufferable twat.

I'm sure that probably doesn't bother you though :)

J-Money said...

deutlich: You have an open invitation for my next road trip.

lacochran: I've never been sorrier that I was eating. And, for the uninitiated or unSouthern, "Jorts" is a term for jean shorts.

ben: That would be two. And OF COURSE they were in two different counties. So much for multi-tasking.

nicole: What if you were writing a press release about clowns? That would be HILARIOUS.

sarah elizabeth: I've been to Morehead City, a place where my talking GPS put the accent on the "head" part of the word and I cackled madly every time she said it.

sarah: I grew up very close to a place called Beaver, West Virginia. The "Now Entering Beaver: Unincorporated" sign was stolen just about every weekend.

lora: Odd coincidence, I felt like killing myself after reading that book.

belle of the ball: I AM really from WV. But I thought I was a unique little snowflake. [sob]

justins: YES! You can join me & Deutlich on the next long drive.

gorillasushi: What would it say about me if I said I already owned the entire Steely Dan back catalog?

m.brooks: The bride & her family are all from Lexington as well. If you get me tix, I will kiss you on the mouth.

kaeti: Get in the car. One seat left...

red squirrel: Yes, I'd like to form my own opinion about his insufferability...

Mandy said...

Where are you from in WV? I work in Wheeling and yes, WV Sheriff's are sooo good at reminding me what the speed limit is as well!

Sarah said...

I don't know how I could have forgotten about Big Bone Lick State Park in northern Kentucky. My dumb brother got caught by the cops trying to steal the park sign. He was probably the 5,000th area college student to attempt that feat.

Kristina said...

I liked the Gollum joke and would have been even more inappropriate by singing Ring of Fire.
We're so happy you're home!

Amanda said...

Oh driving through the south. I love the bat cave sign almost as much as I love "Nervous Harry's" the beer and fireworks emporium I always pass en route to Alabama. Classic.

Mistress Christina said...

I am glad I am not the only woman in the world who loves a good McGriddle. I like the sausage, egg, and cheese ones myself. I have suffered much ridicule every time we make a McDonalds breakfast stop on a road trip. WHATS NOT TO LIKE PEOPLE? It's pancakes with syrup INSIDE, surrounding all the other pieces of breakfast goodness! Plus, I hear its totally fat and calorie free so we can eat as many as we would like.

S said...

The morehead city sign reminds me of the Blue Ball Road sign that makes me laugh EVERY TIME I drive through Philly on my way to visit my family.

The Clandestine Samurai said...

Pearl Jam's "Daughter", that would be the most hilarious thing ever. I would be impressed by the bird's accuracy.

And don't worry, if I were there and heard you suggest Gollum, I probably would've fell to the floor laughing. Your referencing skill is nothing short of genius.

emily said...

Gollum! I just choked a little. Also, I once had a bewildering drive through Pennsylvania. In succession, the lovely towns of Bird-In-Hand, Intercourse, Blue Ball and Paradise City. Those naughty, naughty Amish.

GorillaSushi said...

I suppose it would say that your honest about the fact that you love a good soft rock song with an obligatory reference to a random alcoholic drink in it?

ÄsK AliCë said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ÄsK AliCë said...

I visited my (now-ex) boyfriend's family in Newfoundland. Among the gems there: Conception Bay, Peckers Point, Bay Bulls, Happy Valley, Woody Point, Come-by-Chance, Blow Me Down, Ha Ha Bay and the quaint Dildo Island.

I'm not making this up.

Kelvin Oliver said...

Very interesting trip that you had. Amusing parts that I read. Interesting to read. :)

Hot Librarian said...

Who cares about your trip SOPHIA IS DEAD!!

(good post btw)

Tasha Engel said...

HAHA. I'll have to remember to never read your blog while I'm at work and supposed to be, well, not blogging/reading blogs/anything related to blogs.

Felicia said...

Wow, jorts and Matchbox 20. Two things I had long discussions about with my friend this past weekend!

Alexa said...

i live by EVERHARD Rd. kinda goes with morehead!

also, i don't even like beer and i want to hangout in the beer cave!

Princess of the Universe said...

Awww I like Whatchamacallits! OR I did when I was 9- not sure I've had one since.
Perhaps I have a more sophisticated palate now.

Probably not since I just went to 7-11 and stocked up on Joe Louis'

Maxie said...

hahaha go wv troopers! They always get me.

Cardboard Sea said...

You know, I've not heard any comments on how much worse West Virginia is than Kentucky since I moved to the eastern portion of Bluegrass State. I will, however, say that the derisive comments I hear are of the hillbillies against their own — county against county. It's bizarre.

I guess coming from Florida where most of the people living there aren't natives, you don't really hear much complaining about how awful Georgians are — only the aquatic life.

"Those bastard jellyfish are ruining the neighborhood."

I will make fun of
Jesco White, though.

Choice bit of Calico said...

Oh my...this is the funniest/scarriest thing I've read all friggin day!

I'm getting married next March. Yeahhhh so no horse carriages. I think I can live without Barbaro II.

If you think Pearl Jam's "Daughter" would be funny you should see what some dj's are suggesting for the father - daughter dance. I swear I saw The Beatles "She's Leaving Home.

I have not stopped laughing about the guy on the treadmill. Outside! Great blog.

Dexter Colt said...

Did 2 years in Lexington. Left before I got a bass boat. I'm still not the same.

Jenn N Butter said...

Missed you J!

Also I always get speeding tickets on long drives too. I like to stick to a schedule that knocks off like 5 hours from the trip time on goole maps. This also usually means that I don't sleep much along the way. Worst ticket I ever recieved was 330 dollars. I was doing 90 in a 65...

at least that's what I was doing when he clocked me. I saw him first... hehehe.


Phil said...

Equine or hard liquor, well that choice is easy. Perhaps in lieu of the horse, the company could have at least sent your friends a bottle of bourbon as a consolation gift. "Sorry the horse had to be put down... we hope this makes you feel better about your horseless trip to your reception."

Robbie said...

That looked loads of fun
Is that Peanut Butter Cheese next to the Whatchamacallit? Both of them sound so wrong

Gilahi said...

Wait... You got a ticket between 2:04 and 2:12? If the trooper gave you a ticket in 8 minutes, they've really got it down to a science.

Perfectly Shelly said...

I don't even know where to start....Don Corleone? Shit thru the sunroof? I want to travel with YOU.......what a hoot!

JustinS said...


Movie Maven said...

I really want to be in the Beer Cave, immediately. I'll take the beer to the Bong Recreation Area.

surviving myself said...

Ricky Lee sounds pretty awesome to me.

California Girl said...

What a great writer you are! If you are from Kentucky...well, Southerners are great story tellers. My husband and I took a road trip there in April and I wrote about it. Nothing quite so funny, however. Interesting things about your blog are...Kentucky (lived there a few yrs), road trip (stated), Ken Levine blog (went to high school w/ him) and I found you through Auburn Ambition blog. Must be that six degrees of separation thingie.

UrbanVox said...

I've just got a new car... :)
been with it for 1 week and already have 1 parking ticket, 1 speeding ticked and 1 for crossing a red light... lol
what can I say?!?!?!?



stealthnerd said...

I would lean "impressed" in regards to the bird. I mean, that's really quite a skill.

Mom Ink said...

Sometimes your brain freaks me the fuck out too. So we have that in common. Which is nice. That and the uncanny ability to lure state troopers and birds with freakishly good aim.

Angela said...

I would have cried on my wedding day if the horse that was to come carry me away had to be euthanized. Not because it would have "ruined" the wedding, but because of the horse. That's so sad!

And I REALLY couldn't see a bride leaving on a motorcycle. Not in her wedding dress!

Sassy Molassy said...

Love the rehash of the weekend! Thank you.

Xenia said...

Best travel log ever! Can't wait for the South America trip report.

Lyla Lou said...

Bwahahahha, loved it all! Especially the Golum part, I laughed out loud. Thanks for some awesome entertainment!

Ellen said...

For road signs, I always enjoyed the "Butt Hollow Road" sign on I-81S between Salem and Roanoke, VA. Coincidentally, it was near the mountain that one of my friends nicknamed "Mount Titty Top" because of its shape and a suspicious bare patch + radio building at the peak.

As for father-daughter dances, I confess to horrid unoriginality ("Wind Beneath My Wings", ugh). Though Josh and I did at least consider doing our first dance to Tom Lehrer's "Masochism Tango", so hopefully that redeemed us somewhat.

Meg said...

You crack me up...I'm so glad I found your blog! And from a fellow WV transplant, nonetheless!

Doug said...

I had to work in Kentucky for quite some time, and I'm very familiar with the ways of Kentuckians. The names of their areas are great. My favorites are still Oddville and Knob Lick. Great post.

martha said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.