Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Road Trip Tales: Run-ins with Johnny Law

So you know about the Great Cross-Continental Road Trip of 2010, right? Wherein I flew home to RI for my grandmother's funeral and Todd drove up to my parents' house and said, "Hi, I'm the guy you've been flirting with online for five months. Wanna spend the rest of our lives together? Starting now? With a three-week road trip across the US with two kids and a total of five showers in all that time?" And I said, "Ayup, here's my suitcase."*

* Note: I am not in the habit of jumping into relationships in this admittedly crazy fashion. I swear. I can't speak for Todd but I just... knew. This was it. It'll make for a great story for the grandkids anyway. And by "great" I mean in a, "You probably shouldn't ever do this." sort of way.

The four of us traveled in Todd's minivan and to save money we only stayed at hotels once every few days. The rest of the time we  camped out in the van, which was nice & roomy since Todd had shipped the middle row of seats with the rest of his belongings. One of these times we were driving somewhere in the south (Georgia, Alabama...Arkansas?) and decided late at night to pull over and sleep for a few hours before getting back on the road. We'd been driving for hours and were both pretty beat when pulled into the empty parking lot of a closed Wendy's in a big shopping center. The only activity was a few people unloading supplies into the rear door of the restaurant out of a big truck. After rousing the kids and getting them settled, we snuggled up in the space between seats with pillows and blankets and dropped off to sleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by someone rapping on our window.

We pried our eyelids open and groggily sat up. The man knocking on our window was a police officer. He wanted to "ask us some questions." It turns out that the back door of the restaurant had been wide open when the first employee arrived. She'd seen the open door, observed a carful of crazy crackers sleeping in the parking lot and, fearful that the place had been robbed, called the police. The officer knocking on our window in the early dawn seemed fairly sure that the owners of the van with military stickers hadn't brought their children along to rob a fast food joint and then decided to nap in the parking lot until the sun came up, but had to ask if we'd seen anything suspicious.

We told them about the delivery men unloading a Wendy's supply truck late the night before. Subsequently it was determined that said delivery men had simply neglected to close the door on their way out. Luckily, no Frosties (Frostys? Frosty's?) had been harmed, and after enduring many suspicious looks from the nervous Wendy's worker we clutched the shreds of our dignity around our pajamas and proudly limped (figuratively, of course, we actually drove) out of the parking lot and back onto the road.

A week or so later we were driving through Arizona when Todd became convinced that he had spotted what was surely an extremely valuable pair of binoculars at the fence line to the desert on the side of a highway exit. We pulled over to inspect what turned out to be an extremely valuable** plastic water bottle.  **not really  Just as we were coming to this conclusion a state trooper pulled off behind us with his lights flashing.  The very young, very concerned policeman was very concerned that we'd pulled over and might be having car problems [I like to think he suspected us of picking up illegal Mexicans who'd just made a mad dash across the border, but we were somewhere near Flagstaff so I doubt it]. We assured him that we were fine and tried to explain about the water bottle/binoculars. He looked at us strangely. We grinned nervously. He sent us on our way.  

We had lots of crazy adventures on that trip but since I didn't have internet access except for occasional hotel wifi I didn't do any blogging at the time. I really wish I had written things down; now I'm starting to forget a lot. For instance Todd and I both remember the Wendy's incident being even more singular than it would otherwise have been because it was the second unlikely interaction we'd had with law enforcement officers since leaving on the road trip. However, dagnab it if neither of us can remember what the first one was.

Unless it was that one time we both had a little too much tequila and Todd was seeing how fast the van could go while I hung Stone out the window by his ankles so he could, "feel the wind in his hair."...

Kidding, I'm kidding!!!

It was Daphne, not Stone.

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

I'm pretty sure the first encounter with a police officer occurred shortly after you and Todd met; the officer roared up in his car, jumped out, looking alarmed, and announced, "We've had reports of people seeing sparks flying."

Of course, it was just you and Todd.

Great story of the Wendy's--I hope you post more before you forget.