Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published:

We recently took a trip "down home" -- Dave and I and our oldest son and his fiancée. We used to head back to Bertha Hill about four times a year. Now, it's more like once every four years, if that.

Our son drove and his girlfriend rode shotgun. Fine with me. I'm better off in the back on long trips anyway. The less I can see, the better. It keeps me from white-knuckling it and ripping the headrest off the driver's seat. The couple of beers I had before we left also helped tremendously. Takes the edge off.

Not like I still didn't lose my mind when we were in PA and the huge tow truck in the slow lane wanted to be in our lane, in our particular spot on the highway.

All because the semi hauling triples in front of him couldn't make up his mind about the upcoming exit. He seemed determined to just stop right there in the middle of the freeway to make the decision.

We slowed down to give the tow truck room to get ahead of us, but with the triple going so slow, it just meant we were riding along dead even with him.

And don't think he didn't let us know how less than pleased he was with that situation. Like this whole mess was somehow our fault. Blame it on the triple. Fortunately, truckers aren't allowed to haul three trailers at a time in Ohio.

That's how I knew we were in PA. That, and how the roads are in the mountains. In PA, they cut right straight through the mountains to put in the roads. In West Virginia, they go around and around and around the mountains. They don't do anything with them in Ohio, there aren't any, at least here in Northeastern Ohio.

We were making pretty good time when we got to where 79 South comes in. And that's when we had a glitch in our directions. And I hit a glitch in my potty break.

We pulled into the same gas station we've stopped at for years. And I was told they no longer have public restrooms. What? We always stopped there. My mother-in-law insisted upon it because she claimed they had the cleanest restrooms for miles.

Not anymore. You have to go to the car wash next door. The only thing that could have fixed the level of desecration in that room was to run it through the car wash. I'm not sure even that would've helped.

After the gas station, we kind of went the wrong way, which became increasingly more evident the farther we traveled into the little neighborhoods. We pulled over and our driver and his co-pilot consulted the GPS, which couldn't get a signal in whatever little podunk town we were in.

So we backtracked to the gas station to regroup and rethink this. And that's when we saw the sign for 79 South. Awesome. We've got it made now. Except for all the people passing us. On the right.

We were running along a bit over the speed limit and they were passing us like we were going backward. Giving us dirty looks and not-nice hand gestures. Well, you know what PA stands for, don't ya.

And finally, our freeway riding was over. Back to the stuff I'm used to. Narrow roads, S-curves that come out onto one lane bridges that always have a loaded dump truck coming this way. We're home!

We had a great visit with friends and family, including the kids taking four-wheeler rides on paths that featured straight-up the mountain on this side and straight down the cliff on the other (and briar patches that left scars).

I had issues with the flower bed and amazingly not because of my allergies. It had more to do with the killer-attack butterflies that charged out and dive-bombed me every time I walked by.

Our ride home gave us more of the same stuff as on the way down there, like the semi we were passing that just gradually began moving into our lane.

I sit in the back so I can't see out front and freak out, but I could see out the side windows just fine at the semi that seemed intent on squishing us.

I was just losing my mind when our son said, "Relax Mom, I got this." And he did. The next generation has definitely stepped up to the plate.

Copyright 2014 Laura Nethken

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