This past weekend I went to Atlanta to meet up with some other pilot wives. We had a blast. I'll post more about it later when I get some pictures from the trip. Despite the minor guilt I felt about taking off for a weekend away the day after A receiving bad news from the doctor, it was a much needed chance to process some emotions and generally clear my head.
Thinking back, the six hour drive was the longest road trip I've ever taken by myself. I've driven that far with other people in the car, including once when Kidzilla was only 4 months old, but this was the first time I was ever really, truly alone. I could stop at any rest stop I wanted without hearing about how frequently I had to pee or bypass them all without having to worry about whether someone in the backseat was going to make it until the next one. Ahhh, freedom.
In honor of the drive, I'm resurrecting a post I wrote when A and I made the drive in the moving truck (Jan 2006). 5 days of us, alone, in a moving truck limited to 55 mph. It made for some great memories and a lot of stops.
Now the interesting stuff- the Cross Country Rest Room awards! Since we were only going about 55 mph in the truck, we stopped at almost every rest stop to rest. So we saw a lot of them. Here's a rundown of our opinions:
California- Outdoor Living Award
For having all open air rest stops. Until this trip, I had never experienced the pleasure of a heated/cooled rest stop building. Who knew??
Arizona- Hellfire Award
For having the hottest restrooms around. It was cold out, like in the 30's, but man, AZ spared no expense at heating rest stops for traveler's comfort. It was like stepping in AZ in the summer every time you opened the door.
New Mexico- Most Authentic Architecture Award
For having duplicated the native Pueblo structure style, a magnificent feat. Rest rooms don't have to be boring... NM also had the first staffed info center and provided us with a very nice state map.
Texas- Fiscal Management Award
For blowing their wad on one really great rest stop and leaving the rest closed or having no bathrooms. A tornado shelter at the rest stop? Got it. Vending machines? Got it. AC? Got it. Clean toilets? Got it. Playground? Got it. If you stop at the right one that is...
Oklahoma- Desolation Award
For having the most barren and treeless rest stops. Rest stops appeared to be brown boxes on the prairie. They need to take a cue from NM and at least make them look like teepees or something. Kinda fits with the new state slogan we developed for OK- "Oklahoma- we have nothing to offer". That was followed by "Oklahoma- We gave you Garth Brooks, now we're spent".
Arkansas- Most Welcoming Welcome Center Award
An authentic log cabin welcome center with tons of brochures, a roaring fire, free internet access and more. And you know what? Arkansas is not as bad as I expected. It's actually kind of pretty.
Tennessee- Least Welcoming Award
Rest stops had full parking areas, crappy bathrooms, they were few and far between and had no welcome center. No wonder no one visits TN!
Georgia- Technology Award
For having the an entirely hands free rest room. The entry door, the toilet flush, the sinks, the soap, the dryers. You barely had to wipe your own ass. Thank you Georgia!
Florida- Kid Friendly Award
For having a kid's "learning center" in their Welcome Center. Too bad it was closed when we crossed the border.
Sadly, the condition of the Georgia rest stops were no where near as cool as the one I posted about. Not only were they run down, I had to manually do everything. Perhaps they should be second in the Fiscal Management category.