Earth Traveler

Riding in Cars with Boys – pt3

Posted September 20th, 2010

DAY THREE

The next morning was the first morning of what would become the daily routine for the three of us: Jerry wakes up first, does some stuff on his computer then wanders around the local area wishing Nelson and I would wake up. Then I wake up at a somewhat predetermined time, take a shower and then when I’m out we wake up Nelson and load up to hit the road.

By this time Nelson and I had gotten unusually comfortable with our sleeping situation. “Comfortable” probably isn’t the right word. I guess it would be better to say we had resigned ourselves to our fate.

To start the day, the weather was cold and overcast and gloomy, but because I wasn’t driving it soon changed to sunny and clear and delightful.

We stopped for bagels at a nearby shop. Oh, and Jerry got one of his super gigantic Pepsi SuperGulps. This guy LOVES his Pepsi. Every now and then he’d have a water but there was always a 3 gallon cup of Pepsi close to hand. What a weirdo! Who would be so obsessed about a beverage like that?

So next we HAD to find me some coffee. No, not a hot coffee, not an iced coffee, not a blended coffee. I needed a large iced latte.

My Starbucks app on my iPhone informed me that there were a couple stores a few miles north in the city of Idaho falls.

Okay, so now I’m going to tell you about something that absolutely blew my mind and which I still think is awesome, but every person I have told this to has been entirely underwhelmed and even a bit annoyed. Here goes: the city of Idaho Falls has ACTUAL WATERFALLS IN THE CITY!

I’m hoping the all caps helps express how incredible this is or was or whatever. Yeah, I know that “falls” is in the city name. I get it. You don’t have to be snarky. But when was the last time you were driving through a city, casually looking for a Starbucks and you saw ACTUAL WATERFALLS IN THE CITY?

Jerry continued to drive the first shift and he regaled us with stories of extreme snow conditions on this route on previous trips. Also he did a really good job of demonstrating just how dangerous it can be for someone to drive and text at the same time. After our third near-death experience I implored him to have Nelson send his texts for him.

Sorry, Nelson. It turned out they were all very lewd. Shame on you, Jerry.

We stopped for gas and a leg stretch at a lodge/restaurant/store/gas station. Nelson and I both needed to use the restroom. As I turned left down the hall toward the men’s room, there was a down syndrome kid there. He seemed like he was looking to make eye contact with me and then we could be friends for life.

Sorry, Corky. Not today. I juked to the left and hurried down the hall – leaving corky eye to eye with Nelson. As I was washing up I could still hear Nelson and his new buddy chatting it up in the hallway. And I’ll tell you, I didn’t feel bad one tiny bit. These are the lessons you need to learn in life. And that was Nelson’s day to learn… La La La La Life Goes On.

I took over the driving duties after we stopped for gas in Montana. So that means that the weather immediately turned nasty. Storm clouds, pouring rain. Come on!

Then it was suddenly clear and sunny. Then heavy rain. Then sunny. Okay, Montana, I get it. You’re an asshole.

I decided that we should stop on Billings, Montana, so I could load up on sexy caffeine. My Starbucks store locator app locked in on the location and even though we got pretty turned around in “downtown” Billings, we found it. And there was much rejoicing.

We lost another 10 minutes while Nelson and Jerry had me follow a pedestrian around while they played a game of “Is she a she or is he a he?”

Anyway, she was a she.

People in Montana actually drive according to the posted speed limits. So weird. It’s like you’re always in a funeral procession – a funeral for the death of happiness.

Nelson took over driving and, of course, the weather was delightful. I don’t want to say Nelson is a bad driver. But I will say that he drove exactly one more time on a trip that covered approximately 3000 miles.

Our last stop for the day was Miles City, Montana. Jerry has a brother-in-law that lives there, so we drove a little extra that day to make it all the way there. Visiting people you know is almost always a terrible idea. Especially on a road trip. Especially for me.

I don’t remember his name so I’ll call him BILL (my clever acronym for Brother In Law Law). BILL took us to the Trails Inn for what he assured us was the “best pizza outside the state of New York.” It wasn’t.

Nelson and I played some pool alongside some of Montana’s hefty womenfolk as we all endured one classic rock song after another.

BILL was an interesting guy. He used to be in the military and in law enforcement. He had lots of cool stories about dealing with the riffraff of society.

Note to the management: please fix the latch on the men’s bathroom stall. Very hard to “concentrate.”

As we were heading out, Nelson got hit on by the one gay guy in Montana. I don’t want to sound jealous or anything, but I was a little disappointed. I consider myself a decent looking fella, but I’ve never been hit on by a gay guy – unless you count that time that one guy serenaded me at karaoke.

BILL offered to let us all crash at his place, but fortunately I have dog allergies, so Jerry stayed there while Nelson and I stayed at a nearby motel. In separate beds!

But our room smelled like stale socks and the wifi wasn’t working. Of course. When I contacted the front desk girl she assured me that the wifi was working and then suggested the problem was with my computer. And Nelson’s computer. And both of our iPhones. Thanks for the help, front desk girl. Good luck with your thesis on computer sciences.

While I was in the room waiting to hear back from my special lady friend, I decided to shave. Next thing I knew, I had a mustache. Not just any mustache. This was a Megan’s Law special. I felt like I should notify all of my neighbors of my presence in the community.

But it was sure nice to not be rubbing butts with Nelson that night.

In Part 4 these questions will be answered:
How creeped out are Jerry and Nelson by Jed’s mustache? Where will Jed get his caffeine fix? Will Jerry’s brain explode when Jed explains the awesomeness of priceline.com?

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