Once upon a time...there were two sisters who headed out on a lovely May Saturday afternoon to attend the graduation party (above picture) of a dear friend who lived several hours away. It was more exciting than normal because their dear father had just the day before bought a car and they were very excited about this 2 1/2 hr trip the car would do at 45MPG, instead of what their truck got, 13MPG. #score It was also fun that they were getting to do the "maiden voyage" in the new car, a lovely red Toyota Prius.
From the beginning, older sister (yours truly) was determined on three points: first, that they would leave ON TIME; second, that they would not get lost; and third, that the trip would not be stressful. Sounds easy, right? But you just don't know these sisters. They have taken many road trips together and EVERY SINGLE TIME, "catastrophe seems to lie in the way". (quoting Morgan Harris, from Anne of Avonlea =)) They either get lost...or blow a tire...or run into the sketchiest of men...or get lost again...or something bizarre like that. Literally every time. Older sister was determined once and for all to break the cycle and have a peaceful trip filled with nothing but uneventfulness, and the party at the end.
Things didn't go well from the very beginning, even before they left. Nobody could find the GPS anywhere. Finally it was discovered that the GPS was inside of the family van, which wasn't at home. Older sister had printed off the mapquest directions even though she greatly dislikes mapquest. (based on a previous trip several years ago in which mapquest directions had been wrong and GREATLY led her astray) So she had these directions all printed out, just in case, to have a backup plan in case something went wrong with the GPS. The problem was, she couldn't remember where she had put them. Both sisters searched frantically for about twenty minutes, and finally gave up. Younger sister went to print off directions again, only to discover that the printer was out of ink. By now time was running out-if they didn't leave in the next five minutes they would be late. Younger sister quickly jotted down a few of the main roads and turns and grabbed an Iowa map. Meanwhile one of brothers located an old and dusty GPS and gave that to younger sister. #momentofpeace
But then younger sister plugged it in and realized that due to age or something, it was toast and didn't work at all. During all this time there was a missing shirt and a bad hair day involved for older sister, which wasn't helped by all the aforementioned issues.
Finally, about half an hour later than planned, they were on the road. The first thing on the schedule was a phone call to brother (who at the time was living in Arkansas) because he had worked quite a few jobs in the area they were going to, and he would be able to give accurate directions. The sisters were finally able to relax and enjoy a nice conversation with him, as well as receive some helpful directions.
The time flew by. They hadn't been to this particular part of the country very often and the scenery was gorgeous. Things seemed to be going quite well. (a sign that something bad was about to happen) The fuel gage showed almost empty, so they pulled in at Casey's. Older sister got out to fuel up. After swiping her card she removed the nozzle and went to open the cap on the car fuel tank. It seemed to be stuck so she tried to get her non-existent fingernails (#farmgirlprobs) around it to pry it open but budge it would not. It didn't help that there was this harley rider dude fueling up his motorcycle right behind her and she could tell he was taking the in the whole scene. Of course she needed to appear like she had the situation in control, so she tried to look as natural as is possible when one is peeling their fingernails trying to pry open the cap on their fuel tank. She finally stuck her head in the car door and asked younger sister to please come help. Younger sister was getting a kick out of the fact that older sister couldn't even put gas in the car successfully...until she came and tried it herself and even though younger sister tried and tried SHE couldn't get it open either. The sisters looked at each other in disbelief. This was ridiculous-they couldn't even get FUEL without having problems. And then behind them they heard the booming voice of the harley rider guy(was that a chuckle lurking?) "Um, there's a little button to push inside the drivers door to pop that open". The sisters stood petrified for all of two seconds and then younger sister said "oh, thanks" and flew to the front to check for this button. Sure enough, there is was. #learnedsomethingnew #thankyouharleyriderdude #howAWKWARD
Older sister fueled up as fast as possible and then got in the car and shut the door so the harley rider guy wouldn't hear the peals of laughter coming from inside that little red car. =)
Back on the road...once again, everything went quite well for a while. They had another turn and according to the few little map quest instructions that they had, they would be driving the current road for twelve miles before turning left. Older sister checked what mile the car was at and began to count accordingly.
The sisters were listening to music as they drove along but older sister was getting frustrated that she couldn't get the cd player figured out. She kept wanting to skip along to her next favorite song instead of listening to every single song on the cd, and she couldn't figure out where the skip button was. The digital screen in the new car was a little much for her, tech-challenged as she was. She implored younger sis to figure it out. Younger sister tried for a while without success and tried to convince older sister that it wasn't a big deal. Older sister wasn't convinced, so she tried to figure it out and drive at the same time. #notbrilliant
Finally...lo and behold, she got it figured out! #score
Now she could happily skip along to all the best songs!
But somehow, during that little cd-player-figuring-out-episode...they were now at mile fifteen, and entering a very dumpy little town. According to the directions, their turn should have been at mile twelve. Both sisters were puzzled. How did they miss it? They had been so carefully watching and reading every road name for the right one. Out came the trusty map. Younger sister carefully searched and found that the current dumpy town they were at was definitely past their turn. They must have passed it during that whole little three minute deal of trying to figure out the cd player!
They were already running very late and both sisters were quite frustrated at themselves for missing their turn. Back they headed, the way they had come...both keeping their eyes peeled for the correct road. Sure enough, about three miles back, there is was.
Once again they were driving along, following their limited mapquest directions to a T, determined NOT to lose their way again. The very last part of the directions said "turn right and you have arrived". The only problem was...it said to turn right at this VERY rustic-looking dirt road. (see above) Older sister knew something was wrong with this. It was so steep (the picture doesn't show very well but where the road ends in the picture it began a very steep decline) and as the sisters peered down they could see a deer ambling across in the mud. Far in the distance they could discern a farm off on the next hill. That was probably their destination, no doubt. Older sister knew that if she would've had the truck, she probably would've gone for it. But she had a new car, not a truck, and didn't have any idea if there was a creek at the bottom of this mud road or what was down there. And she wasn't about to add STUCK to her list of accomplishments for the day. Absolutely not.
At this point younger sister voiced her opinion and said that she didn't care what older sister thought, but SHE was calling for help. Older sister was not in favor of this plan, but younger sister proceeded anyway and called a friend who had been to the graduation location before. He gave new directions and got the sisters going the correct way (which was totally different than what mapquest said, btw. #thumbsdownformapquest) and five minutes later they arrived at the party safe and sound. Oh, and late.
Around 10:30pm older sister was beginning to feel a bit drowsy so younger sister suggested stopping for a Wendy's Frosty. (older sister was greatly excited-Frosty's were her favorite!) They pulled in a Wendy's right off the main road and went to the drive through to order. It appeared that the drive through order station was not working properly, so older sister pulled out of the drive through and into the regular parking lot so she could just run inside and order. But younger sister didn't think they should run inside-she said it would take too long and she thought that older sister should try the drive through again. Although she was rather embarrassed to keep driving in circles in the Wendy's parking lot, older sister went with younger sister's advice and headed back to the drive through. Finally-success this time! They were just preparing, Frosty in hand, to pull out back onto the road when a text came in on older sister's phone. Since she was driving, she gave the phone to younger sister to check the text. One second later younger sister gave a squeal and shouted "ooh, she's got a RING!" whereupon all thoughts of getting home were suspended and the car was stopped so both sisters could inspect the very beautiful engagement ring of their beloved cousin who had just texted them with the happy news that she was going to become a MRS!
They pulled back out onto the road and younger sister put the phone on speaker phone so they could call cousin to hear the details of when/where/how she got her lovely ring. And of course there was a good bit of time after they got off the phone, spent discussing all the coming wedding joy.
Finally they were in more familiar country and younger sister was tired so she settled back and went to sleep. Older sister felt great (the Frosty and engagement news was invigorating!) so she turned the music loud and drove along at 60something MPH. Suddenly, very much without warning, a deer appeared in her headlights. She screamed, slammed on the breaks, and swerved, just barely nicking the deer. Younger sister of course woke up with the scream and sudden stop and both sisters sat there, stunned. At that exact moment they heard, over the speakers, this phrase in the song that was playing, "You have shown me mercy upon mercy, grace upon grace, time after time". (from the song "You Have Been Good")
They looked at each other and immediately began praising the Lord for His faithfulness in sparing their lives and keeping them safe! This was the first time for older sister to almost hit a deer so she was pretty shook up but thankful to be safe, and for the Lord's faithfulness in watching over them!
About 45minutes later they pulled into their driveway, safe and sound and exhausted...and with a few new memories to add to the "adventuresome road trip" pile. =)
Maybe someday I shall write a book on the subject. =)