I got lost on rt 141.
Imagine that?! Horror of horrors, Me, the queen of routes, the empress of map quest, and the bravest of road-warriors?! I miss Rt 17, and I take off into rural Iowa onto the plains, cornfields and farmlands, with an occasional horse, and a farmer with a daring speed of 85-90 mph.
Go back a few to give you all the details.
The kids were at the university dorm, and obviously we the parents were staying at the closest hotel – which also happens to be a good 40 miles south of Ames. We had 2 vans to share amongst us, and the 2 dads took it upon themselves to drive us 4 moms up and down. On thursday, one lady was suffering from migraine, so I seemed the only one who could be entrusted to drive us all up, and so the men left to take care of stuff for the kids.
Us moms except for the “genteel-lady-suffering-from-migraine” were ready by 9.30 and were fretting and waiting for the “genteel-hiness” could come down, – coz well, of course we wanted to be with the kids, and I was dying to go watch other teams compete. After all kids from even so far as Hawaii, portland, Texas, california, Japan, Singapore and Poland were competing, and I sure wanted to get some of that on tape!
ok, so finally, we are all set to drive out, and I realize there’s one other team in the lobby who drove up from Atlanta, and they were asking for directions to the university. I gave them directions. A few hours later, I met them at the dining hall and the coach actually thanked me for the clear directions! [point to be noted]
So, I decide that 40 miles was too long, and being the brave soul that I am, ask the receptionist, if there was a shorter route. She says – o yes, enthusiastically, and tells me ” take 141 w, it will merge into Rt 17 n, which would lead you to Rt 30 e, that leads rt into the heart of the university.” I gleefully carry the very sketchy map she hands me – a printed one – and start the engines, and zoom away.
rt 141 was a short stem – alarm bells should have rung after 5 minutes on the road*1st mistake*, but a different kind of alarm was ringing. Gas. Gas was low. Did I really want to be stranded out in nowhere land with no gas, and no people, no!, so I commission the 3 ladies to look out for gas station. *2nd mistake* . It’s now a good 20 minutes. I don’t see a gas station, nor do I see rt 17, nor do I see civilisation, and then it starts to rain. I am in charge – as the lady next to me is the “genteel” one who claims she has never really used a map, or is observant, as her husband “takes care” of everything. The 2 korean-american ladies are very intensely discussing whatever in well, Korean. So I am shooting myself out at 80 miles an hour, praying in specific order that I see a gas station, rt 17, and that the rain stops.
I am a little annoyed by now, since it’s past 20 minutes, and as far as my map-reading skills tell me, that the short stem shouldnt have been more than 10 minutes max. So, I ask one lady behind to actually call the hotel and ask her where does rt17 intersect 141. So she calls – this lady is a hyper-active, fast-speaking, impatient one. ….and she has a fairly strong Korean accent. Her english is excellent American but sometimes over the phone, she does get difficult to get. So I donno what the poor mid-western American lady understood of my friend, but am pretty positive she just answered “yes” to get rid of the call!
So we continue to assume, that 141 actually has merged into 17, as was rightly told to me – and we keep driving on.
la-la land we go. Into the corn, into the rain….
Each one of us coming up with kadais of our earlier drives, comparing korean-indian cultures, [the 2nd korean lady can ask quite pointed questions!] feeling quite thrilled we are off on an adventure. Suddenly I spot a Gas station, and I sharply exit. We are extremely thrilled that the price is so low – $2.47/gallon. When did VA area see such a price we wonder – when I came into this country screams one, the other says -we should take back some [ayyorama!] and I am thinking in my head – for thsi price, I can drive all I want aroudn Iowa [little did i know my wish was coming true!] I go in, pay up, pick up gum, chapstick, and leave. It didnt hit my silly head to ask for directions!!! confirm directions! what an idiot i was! *3rd mistake*
After 45 minutes of driving, I had it – the bloody scenery wasn’t even changing! It was actually getting boring stepping on the pedal. I spot this huge tractor trailer and a run-down library in a town called “perry” so I pull over, drive upto this farmer in a hat, and ask him, “are we anywhere close to 17” – so he tips his head “Ma’am, 17, where is that?”
MY neighbor nearly swoons! The Koreans are furiously jabbering in Konglish. I yank the map off my neigbor’s lap, and point at where I am supposed to go. The map’s folded in quarter, so he squints, and shrugs, and scoffs, and grunts, and with his thick dry fingers pries open the map. he jabs at a point and says ” you are here Ma’am, where did you say y’all wanted to go” – My eyes jumped right out of their sockets!
This guy actually tells me I am a good hour on my merry way, far far away from where I should have taken a fork off of 141. I quickly thank him, and though he offers to drive in front of us, I made a quick U-turn, and sped off. If I was to go along a short edge of a an isosceles triangle, from point A to Point B, [with AB being the short edge, duh!], and C being the pointed corner with AC and BC being the long routes, I was at C.
A = Grimes
B= ISU, Ames
C = Perry
Did that make sense?
so I pull off, and dig into the map, kicking myself, cmon, how could I have made such a mistake?! I was more upset with my mistake than being lost in Iowa. The others were more concerned about who’s gonna pull a gun on them. After all we were in White-country, there weren’t even shades of white there, and we were 2 browns, with 2 yellows. Sticking out like sore thumbs! To unsettle us even more, there was a sign on a Cingular store right next to our hotel that read ” no gun on store premises” !!!!!
Then, I realize that were actually going sorta parallel to rt 30, my eventual destination, and within a matter of 20 minutes [don’t even calculate the speed at which i was driving] i was back on 30e heading into the university.
Met the kids and the other parents at the cafeteria and sheepishly told them about us getting lost. Now truly, tell me, what is entirely my fault, is the driver solely responsible for the directions? O well, anyways, I had a blast with this adventure! :))
I never really care about getting lost, coz I always find my way back – have been bestowed with a virtual compass in my head – but then getting lost in Iowa is boring, and especially with the company I was with, quite annoying as the!
I am telling you, USA is one heck of a huge country!