Friday, May 11, 2012

Creating Your Own Travel Mercies--And Rest Stops

Boots, Bucket, and Skirt—
The New Travel Essentials

My new travel essentials will help prevent a different kind of accident.

Jumper cables? Check. Portable compressor? Check. Extra oil? Check. Spare tire? Check. Something to drink? Check.

Stuck on the side of the road for a few hours?
You might need more than jumper cables.

Boots, Bucket, and Skirt? Previously, no check. After a recent blow-out on I-95? Check.
Surprise! Even good tires blow out. Who knew? I do, now.

Think you’re good to go if you have the minimum safety devices in your car? Think again. A few weeks ago, I had a blowout on I-95 about 40 miles south of my home, so I spent about 90 minutes waiting to be rescued. It’s my worst nightmare to be stuck on the side of an interstate, so I pulled way off the road, into the grassy area beside the highway.

Any farther off the highway, and I would
have been in the pond.

The Florida Highway Patrol dispatcher did little to alleviate my fears when she advised me to stay in the car and keep my seatbelt on so I wouldn’t get thrown from my car. Nor was I comforted to find out that the Road Rangers don’t work on Sunday—the day I was traveling. During my waiting time, I figured out that by staring at the rear and side view mirrors intently enough, I could prevent any vehicle from veering to the side and smashing me. That worked quite well.
My super stare kept these vehicles away from my car.
I had a full tank of gas, so I could run the air conditioning and keep cool. I also had a drink, so I wasn’t thirsty. I had the opposite problem. When I started for home, it was morning, so of course I had coffee. We know what happens about an hour after that cup. That wouldn’t have been a problem because I was supposed to be home, but I wasn’t home. A quick glance outside showed no trees, no place to hide, no place to pee. There was no way I was going to walk to the exit, even though it was close. I wouldn’t even have a seatbelt to protect me from errant vehicles.

Sometimes, there is simply nowhere to hide.
What to do? What could I do? I waited and waited and waited. By the time I arrived home three hours later, my bladder had swelled to the size of a beach ball. I resolved to never put myself through that again.
I have added a few things to the must-carry items in my car. If I have to pull off the road and there are no trees, I will have a long skirt. That will hide everything. Because highways are not the best-groomed areas of nature, I will have boots. That way, I will avoid ants and snakes. The bucket? We women know what happens when squatting to pee. The stream spreads everywhere and pretty soon we’re a wet mess. I now carry a bucket.
I’ve got my bucket, my boots, and my long skirt. I’m ready for drive time!

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