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My Bad

July 22, 2011


Today I came this close to derailing our entire trip. Three times.

On the bright side, the rest stops in Minnesota are now open for business.

OK, we did some fun stuff today. We visited the beautiful Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, which features an impressive waterfall …

some odd statues …

and the relocated house of the very first civilian settler of Minneapolis.

Sam started using his iPod to make a movie about our trip.

We bought Sam a five-pack of underwear because it was a lot faster and easier than finding a place to do laundry.

We went to the biggest mall in the world, Mall of America, where Sam went on a couple of rides in the Nickelodeon theme park that is literally in the middle of the mall and was blown away by the Lego store.


We stopped briefly in Blue Earth, MN to see a 60-foot fiberglass statue of the Jolly Green Giant (yes, that’s Sam standing between the Giant’s feet).

We sang along to the radio in the car.

We watched the sun set behind a picturesque farm.

But we almost did none of that. My first mistake was not arranging a wakeup call for this morning. I realized this mistake at 9:47 am, when I finally woke up. Somehow we both managed to shower, dress, and repack our bags, our newly restocked and thus overfilled cooler, and our car in time to make our 11 am checkout deadline. But that still put us well behind schedule for a day that was suppsed to put us in South Dakota before nightfall. It’s almost midnight now, and we’re still in Minnesota.

Of course, we’re lucky to even be this far along considering mistake number 2. We were getting close to Blue Earth when I noticed we were getting low on gas. I figured we would fill up in Blue Earth, since we’d be stopping there anyway. But gas there was $3.75 a gallon (expensive for Minnesota) and I had noticed signs for a rest stop only a mile further down I90, so that was my target. The problem: we arrived at that rest stop to find that there was no gas station. No big deal, I thought, I’ll just stop at the next exit. Then my gas light came on. Then the next exit turned out to be 15 miles away. Forunately there was a little sign saying there was a gas station at the exit, though, so I was pretty relieved. At least until I exited and had to drive about a mile to find said gas station. Which was closed. In a panic and having no idea when or where I would find another gas station, I drove very slowly back to the interstate and then all the way back to Blue Earth. Along the way I checked that little thing on my car that tells me how far I can drive on the amount of gas on the tank. It said I had enough gas to drive for 13 miles. Then we passed a sign that said Blue Earth was 12 miles away. There was silence in the car for the next 12 miles. Thankfully we made it to the gas station and I was suddenly thrilled to pay $3.75 a gallon. The car took 15.863 gallons. It has a 16-gallon tank.

Back on the road, we soon stopped for yet another roadside cookout at yet another rest stop, which brings me to gimungous mistake #3. After we ate, repacked the car, and got back on the road, I happened to notice the aroma of the Deep Woods Off that we had sprayed on ourselves to avoid getting bitten up during dinner. I thought to myself that the chicken cutlets I had grilled smelled much better. Longingly, I took a glance at the grill in the back seat of the car, only to notice that IT WASN’T THERE. I had gotten a phone call while I was packing up the car from dinner and somehow that distracted me from realizing that the grill was still sitting in the parking lot next to the car when I drove off. I had no idea what to do. First I slammed on the brakes. Then I realized we were already a few miles away from the rest stop. So I sped up. I contemplated making a U-turn in the grassy ditch between the east and westbound sides of the interstate before realizing that my car would probably end up stuck. I had to drive a couple more miles away from the rest stop before finding a place I could turn around. Eventually we made it back to the rest stop to find the grill still sitting in the parking lot where I had left it. In the meantime, I learned that the road noise increases considerably when my car goes faster than 95 mph.

Sam, in case you’re wondering, was just as freaked out as I was in each situation but was very supportive during each mini-crisis, congratulatory when the problems were ultimately solved, and gently mocking a few minutes later.

OK, time for me to get to bed. We’ve got a lot to screw up do on Friday.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amy Roberts permalink
    July 24, 2011 1:00 pm

    Mapquest has a nifty tool that shows the prices of gas stations on your route…and typicially provides phone numbers if you wanna call for hours of operation. 🙂


  1. Never Mind, Toto. We’re Actually Still in Kansas. « The Hamster and the Highway

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