A Fall Adventure

I don’t have enough adventures. That is what is going through my head as I decide to help out with moving Aaron and Carolina Warkentin to Fort Wayne, Indiana.  They were living in Las Vegas, being way too warm in the city of sin.

Aaron accepted a job as the Curator at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.  Try saying that one time fast.  It’s probably the most prestigious automobile museum in the country. But it’s not that big of a deal, after all,  Aaron once gave a tour to Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinneville.

The exodus from Vegas to Fort Wayne began a week before I arrived, with Aaron and his dad Larry driving all of his earthly possessions across 8 states.  I flew down to Albuquerque to drive Carrie & Aiden, Aaaron’s mom Candy, and Annie the cat, or as Aaron put it: “Two women, an infant and a cat.”

On the flight out, I sat next to a really interesting guy named Jean Francois. We talked about politics, the global economy, art, technology, sociology and just a touch of spirituality. He was born near Brussels and yes, he speaks with an accent like Jean Claude Van Damme. We talked about how technology is changing the world. He said “Look at everyone on our flight, hardly anyone is talking to one another.” I surveyed the cabin and sure enough people are connected to laptops, tablets/ebook readers and phones/music players; a few were reading books and napping. Fewer still were talking. Jean Francois travels all over the world putting on art shows, his website is www.extremeart.com.

We started out on a Thursday, with the plan to leave at 8am and get to Amarillo, Texas. After some loading and breakfasting, we were on the road at 9:45. At 9:47 the baby started crying.  Once we got on the freeway, he chilled out and then passed out. We rolled into Amarillo at about 4pm and pulled up to a Taco Bueno to use their facilities. We were the only car in the parking log, so I’m not sure how “bueno” their tacos actually are.

While we were in Texas, we couldn’t help but notice the drivers were so polite! People letting other people in front of them, most people were driving the speed limit, and now that I think about it, I don’t think I heard any honking, swearing or bird flipping. While admiring the kind drivers, we were amazed by the site of giant cross. What is this, a cross for dinosoaurs? It should have been at least 3 times as small.

We decided we had more driving time in us, so we pushed on to Clint, Oklahoma. We checked into an econolodge, since they accept pets. This place was not as scary as I expected, but it smelled like it used to be a bowling alley.  My room had a mostly repaired door, that was very clearly kicked down at one point, no doubt by a cop or a thief or perhaps a  combination of both. I noticed that the fire alarm was missing, but wasn’t too concerned since I don’t smoke and lately I have my violent fits of sleep-pyromania in check.

In next morning, we feasted on the sugar rich econolodge continental breakfast and set our sites on Joplin, Missouri.  Before too long, we arrived in Tulsa, pulling over to a Whataburger to destroy Texas sized hamburgers. We loved Tulsa so much, we stayed there for about 2 hours, while the baby has his own lunch.  More like we were held captive by the little guy.  We made it to Springfield and stayed at La Quinta Inn for an evening of non-smoke smell and fully functioning smoke detectors.

The next day, we only had to make it to St. Louis, where we’d be staying with Carrie’s brother David for the evening. We left at 10ish and made it about an hour before pulling off for our first break. We get back on an hour later and then pulled off again for lunch at Carl’s Jr. Instead of coming out and saying it’s a Carl’s Jr., they call it a Hardy’s.  A couple hours later we are at David’s place in St. Louis and were greeted by a  giant antenna in his living room. David has an awesome job that he’s not at liberty to tell anybody about, but I managed to covertly take a picture of one of his coffee mugs.

The next day we got a late start on the last leg of our journey. By this time, Annie the cat was freaking out; she would not sit still.  A few times, she tried to stick her neck underneath the break pedal, likely in hopes that I might dispatch her to kitty heaven. After several hours she calmed down, accepting that she’s fated to be confined to a mobile prison for all 9 of her lives.

We got to some little town and stopped at a Subway. After ordering our lunch, we’re pretty sure we’ve locked the keys and Annie the cat in the vehicle.  I remember feeling perfectly at ease, I couldn’t have been more calm. My focus was completely on my turkey sub. Candy goes to check the vehicle and, praise Jesus, it’s unlocked. If it had been locked, we would have been forced to locate the locksmith or take a broken piece of curb to one of the windows.

Driving through Indianapolis felt like driving through LA. Polite driving is right out the window. Suddenly everyone’s an aggressive race car driver. The speed limit is posted, but it does’t do any good; you see the obvious rule everyone is following is this: if you drive fast enough to not see the signs, then they don’t apply. Thankfully, we made it through in one piece, though not as fast as most of the other drivers.

We finally got into Fort Wayne and arrived at the apartment. There were boxes are everywhere, but Aaron had the bare essentials taken care of: TV and DVD player were unpacked and set up, Newcastle beers were ready and waiting. The next day we work our butts off shuffling and unpacking boxes to a playlist that none other than Aaron himself curated. We went to pick up some supplies at Wal*Mart and it turns out that you can count on that place to be the same everywhere; you can be in Fort Wayne or Vancouver and still have that feeling of your soul being suffocated by a snuggie.

The next morning we were up early to hit up the Cracker Barrel and then we were finally off to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. Try saying that one time fast. I spent at least half an hour at the engine exhibit. It was so interesting to see how simple the automobile started out and the innovations that were thought up there; the whole place was amazing. Exploring the museum worked up a hunger in us and what better place to have lunch than the Cracker Barrel? Aaron was completely amused that Aiden was passed out with his mouth open and his eyes only halfway closed with the whites showing. “He looks like a little zombie!”

The next morning, early, I get a ride to the airport. It’s small. It’s so small that Aaron missed the entrance. I walk in to the security line and the TSA guy waves me over and says very queitly. “xyz.” He must know I’m confused by my silent, dazed expression and sleepy posture. So he says it a little louder. My expression remains unchanged and he says “XYZ Examine Your Zipper.” It’s been a long time since the first grade, which is probably the last time I heard that. Those guys weild power, weirdly. The flights were quick and the weather was gorgeous, until we passed Mt. Hood, then it was cool and grey. Home. No place like it.

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