So I am two hours removed from the end of an eleven and a half hour road trip from the Twin Cities to Russell, Kansas. Remarkably, when it was over, I still liked all three of the kids who were in the van with me. But I’m still tired, and anxious to rest my eyes. Paying attention to anything for that long of a period is exhausting.
Since the kids were surprisingly well-behaved, that left a lot more “free” time for me that would ordinarily be spent refereeing fights, retrieving dropped objects, and answering questions. So I had to keep my brain busy. I always note license plates, but that gets tiresome quickly. The kids and I play roadside bingo sometimes, but they were all occupied, so I didn’t want to disturb what was working.
So I started my own demented version of road trip bingo in my head. I think I’m onto something here. The list needs to be expanded and refined, but here’s what I have so far.
- Road kill. Bonus points if the animal is identifiable. (I scored a deer, raccoon and crow today.)
- Adult bookstore billboard. (Apparently the Lion’s Den is a franchise. Saw a sign for one near Faribault, Minnesota, and again near Junction City, Kansas.)
- Car window fashioned out of plastic and duct tape. (Check!)
- Hitchhiker. (Didn’t see one today, but I’m wondering if there is like a Craig’s List for hitchhiking now. A cardboard sign and a thumb seem so obsolete.)
- Makeshift roadside memorial. (A concept I’ve never understood. Let’s remember a tragedy by creating a distraction for other drivers? I did see a wreath between mile markers 26 and 27 on I-35 in southern Iowa.)
- Skunk odor. (A summertime favorite.)
- Prison. (I know there’s one near Cameron, Missouri, but I’m not sure if it’s visible from the interstate.)
- La Quinta Inn next to a Denny’s Restaurant. (Inside joke.)
- State Patrol with someone in handcuffs or conducting a sobriety test. (Not this time, but have definitely seen it on other trips.)
- Schmuck who won’t move out of the left lane and makes everyone pass him/her on the right. (Pretty much a freebie.)
- Name of an act on a casino marquee. Bonus if the performer is not a has-been or never-will-be. (David Sanborn is at Terrible’s Casino in Osceola, Iowa.)
- Mattress on top of a car. Bonus if there are more than two. (Nope. But a friend in Phoenix posted a picture the other day of someone carting FIVE of them.)
- Livestock being driven to the slaughterhouse. (Your bacon was tooling down I-35 this afternoon.)
- Place of worship housed in a pre-fab metal building. The name has to include the word “New,” “Life,” or “Word.” (New Life Christian Center in Topeka, Kansas. If traditional isn’t your thing, I guess.)
- Truck driver weaving an 18-wheeler in and out of traffic. (Dude, seriously? You’re driving a UPS truck with two trailers and you’re bustin’ a move around a Dodge Charger like you’re driving a goddamn Ferrari.)
Anyway, that’s what I have so far. I’m sure the return drive will provide additional inspiration. Feel free to offer suggestions!