we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area. we have out and out drooled at the rest area. faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.
one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark. we chose a spot close to the building. we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes. when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping. barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard. with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow – we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities. our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area. i’m sure we were charming to look at.
it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it. our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas. it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.
when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly, is around 3000 miles. (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.) but i digress. so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.
we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80. we can also tell you where the scary ones are: montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building. you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida. you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in. pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas. you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy. you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.
the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days. for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot. recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside. full-out dreaming commenced. when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes. d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup. i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.
it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time. having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.
alas, finally. the rest area. we pulled in. d handed me a pillow. i laid my face against the window. and voila! a sight to behold.