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Jan 16, 2007
"Safe To Drive"...Says WHO?

OMIDARLIN’S!  The Trials and Tribulations of the Road are manifold and woeful!  We were just so tickled with our-selfs after Books-A-Million in Richmond—it being an afternoon signing and all—and we were so rested up after our Maw and Paw America night at the RV park!  Talk about your False Sense of Security.

We knew we had a Haul to Pittsburgh—but it just SEEMED like the easiest thang in the world.  HA.  Big HA.  Thankfully, Mr. RV Park had given us a route that took us AROUND and not THROUGH DeeCee and it was truly a gorgeous ride—as long as the sun was up.  We mean to make it a point to go back to Berkley Springs—I think it was in West Virginia?—beautiful little town, my dear friend Dennis would have adored it.   Sigh.

But anyway, we got on the Pennsylvania Turnpike—which, when I hear that name, I picture a broad well-lit roadway—for some UNKNOWN reason.  On account of it is a skinny-ass, twisty-windy, dark as the pit trail.  Thank GOD, it is maintained in excellent condition and nobody had car trouble—because there is literally NOWHERE to pull over.  Oh, every few miles, there’s a slightly wider spot in the road where you COULD pull off if you were dying and as long as you didn’t open a door, nobody would hit you and you wouldn’t fall off the mountain.

There’s not much of a divider and so you constantly have the lights of the oncoming traffic in your eyes—which renders ME completely blind.  Fortunately, I am not the one driving.  BUT, it became MUCH MORE important for me to be able to see jackshit shortly when, in the pitch black dark (and did I mention the howling wind and driving torrential rain??), the windshield wiper on KYLE’S SIDE just BLEW OFF.  OFF, I’m saying.  It is somewhere on the hillside of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and it will never wipe another windshield in this life.

SOOOO.  What we HAVE NOW is the driver (Kyle) who can see pretty well through GLASS (now that he has GLASSES again, see the first letter)—but not really so hot through glass that is totally obliterated by SHEETS of WATER with thousands of HEADLIGHTS shining through it.  And then we have ME, on the other side of the bus, with the one remaining windshield wiper, which is totally moot on account of I cannot see jackshit in the dark with the oncoming headlights.

Not your ideal driving sitchiation.

We limp about 15 miles to a big truck stop—which I note with interest has a sign declaring it to be the LAST STOP FOR 80 MILES.  Thank God in Heaven that wiper took flight when it did—and not 20 miles further down the road or we would still be SITTIN’ our asses on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Kyle managed to flirt with the woman in charge (thank God it was a woman—I was way past Making any Promises by this time) to get her to illegally loan him the station’s ladder so he can try to figure out just WHAT, if anything, was to be done. (I myself  have taken my own personal measures for dealing with this disaster—I took a XANAX, had some chocolate pie and called my seester.  I ask you, what else COULD I do??  I was just grateful I had the pie and the drugs to help me cope! And believe me, it took BOTH.)

I look out the front window of the Big Ass Bus to see Kyle, standing on the very top step of the purloined ladder—you know, the one that says, “NOT A STEP—DO NOT STAND HERE” and reaching up with both hands, fiddling with the amputated wiper arm thingee.  I am imagining him plunging to his ruin on the greasy truck stop parking lot and me sitting there for the rest of my life with a one-armed Big Ass Bus and a 3-legged dawg.

But, of course, he was fine.  He managed somehow to take the wiper off my side and make it fit on his side.  Then he pulled the bus up under a big awning and, once again standing on the Forbidden Ladder Step, where he dried off completely the big-ass windshield then put RAIN-X all over it and we were back on the road again—only a couple hours later!

So we made it to Pittsburgh and we spent a perfectly LOVELY day with That Man (See, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love)—who I am happy to report was completely charming and delightful.  Trying to talk him into coming to the Parade so y’all can play with him—keep you posted.

Had a wonderful signing at Joseph Beth Booksellers—what a gorgeous store. We had Queens in attendance that, despite the consistent rain and the threat of it turning to snow late in the night, drove two hours from Ohio. We can’t wait to see y’all again at the Parade!  THANKS for risking life, limb… and marriages for comin’ to see me!

We got back on the road—STILL WITH ONE WIPER—around 9pm, Monday.  It seems that there is no wiper to be HAD for this thing anywhere near Pittsburgh or in Cincinnati (our next stop) or anywhere in between.  (And, the folks who are SUPPOSED to handle this kind of stuff for you on the road were NO HELP WHATSOEVER and I hate them, hope they die.  THEY said that since Kyle had “FIXED” it and it was now “SAFE TO DRIVE,” they couldn’t send anybody out!)  Of course, I pitched a fit!  In WHOSE book is a 40,000 pound ve-hick-le with ONE WINDSHIELD WIPER considered to be SAFE TO DRIVE???  I’d like to see ‘em pass a safety inspection with ONE WIPER!

So, the bus owner, John, (God bless him) has had the manufacturer in California take a set OFF a new RV—they didn’t have any “in stock” to sell—and they’re being overnighted to us in Cincinnati.

Which will be fine and wonderful—when we get ‘em.  However, FIRST, we had to DRIVE TO Cinci—a five-hour drive that we had to make all at one time because I had early teevee to do.  That meant that I had to resort to Ambien and the Bed after the first couple hours of driving—which turned out to be VERY FORTUITOUS.  On account of, shortly after I “retired,” everything went to crap, yet again.  Kyle had to drive, for the next 3 hours, through absolute TORNADIC winds packing snow and sleet with ONE wiper—and he said it was difficult ENOUGH without having ME, stroking out in the next chair! 

We’re now in Cinci—we DID make it around 2am to the parking lot next to the teevee station. (Our “alarm” was a very pissed-off security guard banging on the door at 6:45am and Sostie barkin’. The very unpleasant woman said, “gypsies can’t park here" and that we had to move NOW!) So, fine. Kyle whips out of the lot and BACKS the Big-Ass-Gypsy-Bus into the teevee station driveway in the middle of downtown rush-hour traffic.

SOO, we were on the teevee this morning, bigger’n Dallas.  Sostie made her television debut—they filmed inside the Big Ass Bus and Sostie just sang away for ‘em and ended the segment by sitting up on her one hind leg and waving at the camera with one of her two front paws—QUITE the picture! 

WHOOO LARD!  What WILL tomorrow bring???

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