We're home and I'm still kind of super stressed. I'm tired and feel like another day would be so nice, a day to do nothing and go nowhere. I took today off because Geoff had a doctor's appointment this morning. We were done at 9 and home at 9:45. I could have gone into work, but I really need today to just catch up on stuff and do things like find out why my mortgage payment didn't clear on the 17th of October when there WAS money in the account at the time (there isn't now... so I'm kind of screwed and scrambling, and the banks aren't open due to the holiday...)
But that's neither here nor there. An update would be nice, don'tcha think?
Our trip was good, better than I thought it would be, and we made it there and back in record time. We left here on Friday morning at 9:30 and took an hour for lunch in central PA. And we still made it to the hotel at 8:30pm. Amazing. Normally it is a 12 hour trip. On the way home, we only stopped for gas and to "rest" as it were, and made it home in 9 hours.
Doug noted that this is the first time in his recollection of driving this trip to and from that there wasn't a highway crew anywhere, or a series of ramps taking you over into the oncoming highway to run a scary skinny two-lane interstate for 8 miles. All of the cut across ramps are overgrown with grass, and the asphalt up the median is crumbling. So perhaps the twenty year road project... maybe is finally done.
We did see a million dead deer though.
And some of them were incredibly revolting.
We saw one near Nuangola PA where the carcass was there, but the head was gone. Doug figured it had to be a trophy buck with a beautiful, giant rack of antlers, and that someone came with a saw or chainsaw or something and just removed the head off the beast.
I threw up in my mouth a little bit just thinking about someone coming out there in the dark and sawing the head off in the middle of the highway median.
Can you imagine?
But then I started thinking about the individual, and the bragging that would go along with this giant head. "You see this one? Yeah, I stalked that bad boy for three season up in there, waitin' for the points on the antlers to just keep goin'. He fought me good too. I done shot him elevendy times until he finally dropped!" (cue spittoon noise).
And no -- I don't think that all the people through Pennsylvania act like that or hunt or talk like that. I'm just saying that a guy who would cut the head off road kill just might be the kind of guy who ... might.
I started laughing a little imagining him going to the taxidermist with it. You can't just do that. You can't just go somewhere and say "Hey Bill, how's the wife? Can you mount this'un for me? The rest of it got away..."
Unless it's your cousin Karl (on whom you got a big dirty secret, and can lord that over him so he keeps YOUR secret...), I doubt you can get someone to clean that up and mount that for you.
So it perplexed me and gave me something to ponder all the way deep into Black Moshannon forest.
But seriously people, there were deer carcasses everywhere. One every mile of the 630 mile trip. Pretty much. Well, only in Pennsylvania. So maybe 270 miles of the trip were strewn with a deer every mile. Even in the city areas, like where we were in Nuangola near Wilkes-Barre. Legs akimbo, heads and necks totally turned the wrong way, some just looking like they were asleep nice and orderly on the side of the road, others lasting for about a quarter of a mile before you got to the end of it.
Not a pretty scene, so it was easier to look up at the sky, the trees, the sun, the foliage, the farms... keeping the corner of my eye on the side of the road lest another one jump out in front of us and become the next victim on the roads...
I have a couple favorite parts of the trip when we take it.
I like heading down (and up) in the area around the Lock Haven exit. That is really cool geologically, the way the highway is sliced through the mountain and you can totally check out the rocks and strata and whatnot. I love the layer cake of the earth that you get to see through there.
Once down the hill (and avoid the speed trap, because there is ALWAYS a cop there. Doug's gotten nabbed there twice) down around Rte 220 there, the farms at the foot of the mountains are so pretty with the trees on the hills behind them, and knowing there is this little town right through that gap between the hills where the road goes always makes me smile.
Same thing around Clarion and Emlenton, the height of the highway up over the rivers and knowing that just over that bump to your right (or left, depending if you are coming or going) there is this little town. I love seeing the steeple peeking up from Clarion, and thinking about how if you didn't see that, you'd never know there was a town there. I think someday I may get Doug to get off the highway and take me over to one of those towns, but we're usually trying to get home before a storm or pitch darkness, so we don't detour off the road for much other than food and "rest."
I love Zelienople, it's such a cute town. And I enjoy Rte 68 down into Rochester. I think about how cool it would be to live in one of the houses and have the view down into the valley below, with the sunset and the vista waiting for me daily.
It's a fun ride. Except for the dead deer.
Anyway -- the wedding itself was something I was kind of dreading. As with most families, there was drama building up to the event and I won't get into it lest someone read and get upset. Self censorship is very important at times.
I hated leaving the kids behind, but I'm glad I went and had time alone with Doug and his family. Part of me thinks I only went because I honestly wanted to see what would happen. Would it work out okay, or would it be a jaw-dropping ghastly event with screaming and yelling.
Oh, the human drama.
Well, to my balanced relief and disappointment, nothing happened.
Nothing that I saw, anyway. There could have been some behind the scenes action that I wasn't privy to, but all told it was lovely. The bride was lovely, I met the groom for the first time and he was lovely. It was truly nice.
I took a picture of Doug and his cousins specifically to send it to the one cousin who couldn't be there because he's in Iraq (his sister is the bride). I didn't get to take a lot of pictures at the ceremony because Doug doesn't like to sit up front and hates when I'm all paparazzi at things.
So I sat with him and restrained myself. I did get some fun shots at the reception and all told it was worth the trip. Photos are here if you like to see.
In the morning we went to see Doug's mom's mom at her assisted living facility and spent a good couple hours with her.
It is so much easier to talk to her in person than on the phone, but the great thing is her vision is fine, so I may start sending her cards and photos so she can see the kids... because we have a hard time communicating with her otherwise.
We then went to visit Doug's dad's mom in Ohio, and cruised the long way via the backroads up into Negley, Rogers and East Palestine. Grandma was surprised to see us, she said that she didn't know we were coming. Doug's dad rolled his eyes and made a face because he told her at least ten times we were coming out that day.
Doug's sister and her husband came out too, and we had a blast with the kids. The day of the wedding was my nephew's fourth birthday, so Doug and I picked him out a good, noisy, complicated toy that he would master and then become obsessed with playing all day, every day.
I ended up outside with him for quite a while just to keep him happy and entertained with the glider, so I did my duty and then we parted ways, with him loving the toy and us planting the seed of driving mom and dad NUTS until it breaks.
Heh. What are aunts and uncles for if not that?
It was a good time.
Best part of the trip was the hotel room.
We went to check in, and the room they gave us was not made up at all. It was a disaster. I actually thought we were walking into an occupied room, the amount of stuff that was up in there.
Anyway, Doug went downstairs and smiled and said "uh, hi?" and the girl said "Oh, sorry!" and gave us a suite. With a jacuzzi and walk in shower kind of dealie, two flat screen TVs and whatnot.
It was very nice.
We have never gotten a room like that in our lives and I stood there saying "um, no?" and Doug said "uh, yeah!"
I went downstairs and asked the woman if there wasn't some sort mistake. She said no, that she upgraded us because she felt that it wasn't fair that our room wasn't ready. I asked her if she wanted us to move into the right room the next day and she said no, it was ours. And I asked if it would cost more... and she said no. It was fine.
So yeah. Sweet! Jacuzzi! King Size Bed so Doug is a mile away from me! Yay!
I don't think I can ever actually stay in an assy room again. Ever. I'm spoiled for all eternity.
Anyway -- Geoff wants the computer, so I'm going to get off and go do dishes or take a nap or something. I have a project to work on but it can wait. I guess.