Home Podcasts Photo Graphics Theater Fun Kelleycats Rant/Rave Florida Email


  Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Selecting Legacy
Visiting Legacy
Design Studio
Red Carpet Center
The Pool
Lessons Learned
Our Finished Retirement Home
The Move: If I Only Had a Brain
The Yellow Brick Road
Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
The Emerald City
No Place Like Home
Leesburg Hospital

They say (those who say things) that travel broadens your mind: traveling through 11 states in 4 days with 5 cats in the back of your vehicle will broaden your mind wide enough to drive several tractor-trailers through it at once.

It is, of course, unfair to form judgments about states you are seeing only from the interstate at 70 mph, but it's also impossible not to at least get an impression of what the state is like.  As we moved from state to state it was clear we weren't in Nevada anymore.

Utah, as usual, was lovely -- it was the only state along the route that actually had beautiful scenery to see, including the incredible salt flats of Bonneville.  Once we left it, though, we were mostly left with thousands of miles of the same, flat, farmland like country no matter what state we went through.

Not the billboards, however.  They started to change into weird and odd sightings that told us we were truly strangers in a strange land.  As soon as we hit Wyoming we were beseeched with ads for fireworks: they touted fireworks as some states would tout gasoline ("Last chance for fireworks for the next 50 miles!").  They also mentioned, specifically, that they sold alcohol along with the fireworks.  Yep, that's a combination I always want to see -- when I think of setting fireworks off, I think of getting really and truly drunk first.

And these were no small one-person stands as I was used to seeing as a child in California (long since legislated out of existence).  No, we would pass huge complexes, the size of a small Wal-mart, filled to the brim with all manner of explosives and booze.  We could see the many pickups and older sedans parked in the parking lots, making their frantic purchases as they drove home for the day ("Honey?!  Did you remember to pick up the Wild Turkey?  Oh, and a case of Flaming Ninja Shooters?").

It wasn't just Wyoming -- this pattern was repeated with some variations nearly the remainder of our trip.  The biggest change was in Missouri (near the birthplace of Harry Truman, our 32nd President) where the combo the stores sold changed from "Fireworks and Booze" to "Fireworks and Pornography" (not such a large stretch when you stop and think about it).   Once again, they used scare tactics: "Last Chance for Porn for 50 miles!"  I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  ("Honey, are you sure we have enough pornography for the next 50 miles?") 

It was also around Missouri that we had the final straw with our cat plan.  The Plan had been to stop two or three times throughout the day and let the cats use the catbox we had brought along for this purpose.  It seemed a reasonable Plan as plans go, but in actual practice it meant we both needed to get out of the vehicle, remove the cat box from the one tiny space it was in to remove all the stuff that was crammed in it, one of us get back into the vehicle with the box while the other closed the door behind them (so the cats couldn't get out) and then remove one cat from the cage and place them (so they couldn't wander about the vehicle) into the box and have them perform.  Rinse and repeat.  Four times.

Of course, after having been subjected to the most terrifying three or four hours of their life, then being given freedom (such as it were) and placed into a pile of sand, the cats weren't exactly cooperative.  In actual fact with the dozens (and dozens) of times we repeated this ritual we got results exactly once: one cat, one time actually used the box.  (This, of course, was worse than if no one had ever done it, since we were always thinking that this would be the time that someone once again would use the boxes and so repeated things unsuccessfully again and again and again).

I think eventually the cats got the idea -- they could get us to stop this horrible experience by simply acting as if, right now, they needed to use the box.  Sure enough, we stopped not once, not twice, but three times within about 15 minutes when Jasmine each time told us she had to go in no uncertain terms.  And then, of course, she didn't.

That was Missouri and after that we stopped with the boxes and made much better time.  Of course, it was also soon after that that Jasmine has an "accident" about 20 minutes from our hotel room.  But at that point it didn't matter -- the trip had taken its toll and we were nearly done.  Each night had brought relief from the cats as they were let out -- yes, it was a strange room but at least it wasn't moving and there was food and water.  Every morning had brought new terrors for our babies -- oh, no, we're getting locked in the cages again for another full day of torture and despair.  On the last day (of the four day trip) the cats were in a surly mood and were letting us know this had better be the end or else.

At a rest stop late in the day we opened the car door only to be swarmed with mosquitoes and other flying, biting bugs.  We immediately got back in and drove off but they had invaded the vehicle and the only way to get rid of them was to open all the windows.  As the cats were in their carriers (always during the trip) this presented no problems but as the wind whipped about the interior as we went 70 mph the cats started screaming -- it was an ungodly sound, like the howling of banshees -- as they knew it was the end of life for them for sure.  Both Annie and I were laughing as punch drunk maniacs, which only added to the cats anger.  It was indeed the end for all of us.

Next: The Emerald City

Home ] Podcasts ] Photo ] Graphics ] Theater ] Fun ] Kelleycats ] Rant/Rave ] Florida ] Email ]