Thursday, March 25, 2010

There Might Be Something To That Latte-Sipping Liberal Thing

Years ago, Paul and I headed north to rural Iowa to meet up with some of his extended family for Christmas.  Shortly thereafter we realized we'd become acclimatized to city living.  Did you know there are still large swaths of this country where there's no place to purchase gasoline in the middle of the night?  (And even gas stations that don't accept credit cards?)  It's true.

(Of course it's true. I felt like an idiot for not considering - and planning for - this possibility. I lived in the middle of Kansas for eleven years so rural living shouldn't surprise me. But this was the same Iowa trip when I forgot to take my winter coat to Christmas since it was so nice and warm here. There were feet of snow on the ground in northern Iowa. I'm sure I made a great impression.)

I managed to forget all my lessons again on a roadtrip I took with Ada this week.  Partially I take for granted the conveniences of city living.  Partly I just figure that the rest of the country is adopting those conveniences at an impressive rate so why worry?

Why?  Because Ada and I ended up stopping somewhere in southern Indiana at a gas station that didn't even have a name posted.  The bathroom was disgusting.  And there was no fast food of any kind in town. But my GPS assured me there was nowhere else to stop for at least 35 miles.

There are a few places to replenish and rejuvenate between St. Louis and Louisville, but outside of the two metropolitan areas, it's helpful to schedule stops in Evansville or Mount Vernon.  Otherwise, the pickings are slim.

For the return trip, I prepared.  I mapped my route then asked Google to show me all the Starbucks along the way.  Pop poppoppopop pop.  Little dots popped up everywhere . . . in St. Louis and Louisville.  The only Starbucks en route were in Evansville, a 30-mile round trip from the interstate.  I do love my lattes, but not that much!

Fortunately, my unsophisticated palate can handle gas station coffee.  And we had a lovely dinner at a chain restaurant in Mount Vernon.  And I stocked up with a Venti off Bardstown before crossing the Ohio.


Topher said...

I have to say that this is one of the greatest things about living on the east coast. I remember driving from St. Louis to Boulder once and man, the sheer distance between the even minor cities terrified me. Here, you may be four hours between two cities but never more than thirty minutes from "something."

And if you're in Georgia, you can guarantee that "something" is a Waffle House.

Kim, Too said...

I'll share my gas station latte hint with you: Fill the cup half full with regular coffee, then top it off with the vanilla latte. It's drinkable. I, too, forgot to bring a coat when I visited St. Louis for Christmas, 1989. Freezing and LOTS of snow. Pretty sure I convinced the midwestern relatives that people who live in the South are dumb.

Emom said...

You are absolutely correct! life on the road must be very difficult for anyone who cannot "rough it"....smiles.

Sarahlynn said...

Chris, before Kansas we lived in New Mexico, where towns are even FURTHER apart. I vaguely remember my parents packing jugs of water for long car trips. Now . . . I do keep a potty seat in the back of the van for emergencies but have never "stooped" to using it myself. ;-)

Kim, I've done that! It's neither too bitter nor undrinkably sweet.

Emom, roughing it is so not my forte. We recently found a campground with a hotel nearby and I said, "Perfect! Now you can take the girls camping without leaving me at home!"

elissa said...

I can never comprehend places that don't accept credit cards! BAFFLING.