Five Minute Friday Plus … When

It’s time for another Five Minute Friday installment … but this week with a few twists. First, as you are all aware, it is no longer Friday. Second, I’m throwing out the timer to give you some insights into my take on this week’s prompt — WHEN — which will involve a travelogue, extraneous thoughts and possibly a rant or two {all in good fun, I assure you}.

Friday was spent traveling from upstate New York to Kentucky. The travel time gave me an opportunity to think about my pithy five minute’s worth of wisdom but quickly morphed into much, much more.

I do invite you to read the regular five minute nuggets at Kate’s place (

So, with apologies to my FMF friends, here goes…

It didn’t take too long on the road for me to be reminded of a dad’s {or mom’s} role behind the wheel on a road trip. The inevitable questions come. When are we going to get there {It’s not too much longer}? When are we going to stop. I’m hungry {What happened to the four bags of chips and two boxes of Ho Hos}?  When are we going to stop? I have to go potty {That’s what you get for drinking a six pack of Mountain Dew!}. I reeeally have to go potty! {Do you want me to stop right here in the middle of the Interstate? with the accompanying previous response).

Of course, that mental tete-a-tete reversed roles as we journey along life. Our Divine Driver has to listen to our constant whining. When are we going to get there? {Couldn’t help but think of the Israelites following Moses.} When is the storm going to end? When are we going to be fed? {Remember manna?} When are we going to rest? How are we going to get across the Red Sea?

Hmm. You never hear anyone complaining about when the good times are going to end.

Of course, our Driver has an advantage. He is not constrained by that pesky thing called time. Our lifetime is literally a blink of His eye, so while we bellyache … He listens, rebukes, responds to our needs {although we don’t always listen}.

That was the short, “five minute” version of my thoughts. But it needs an extension. “When” became an important part in my 700-plus mile adventure Friday.

I remember thinking this trip was taking a long time to unfold. I was right on time, but it just seemed like an eternity on the road. Part of it was because I took the southern route {86} towards Cleveland. It’s about the same time from my home to Erie whether I take 86 or 90 and a heck of lot cheaper {no tolls on 86}. But it is a desolate road. Other than an occasional deer and spectacular vistas, you don’t really see too many people and very few cars. And you have to be careful because the road is pocked with potholes that would swallow a semi. Good thing there are few cars around.

All that said, once I approached Cleveland and merged onto 271, I was in virgin territory. I had never traveled on the road before, although I had visited Akron, Columbus and Cincinnati before by other routes. So, I had to be conscious of my surroundings, keeping a close eye on my navigation tool.

All was well until I decided to stop for dinner at a truck stop Denny’s somewhere between Columbus and Cincinnati. That’s when my day/night shifted into the “when” and “wait” mode.

It took me about five minutes get seated in a restaurant that had less than 10 customers. The hostess was the also the temporary general manager {they apparently lost the GM and assistant GM within the past week}, part time waitress and checkout girl. It was somewhat humorous seeing her bounce around from task to task. But it also delayed me. Instead of a 30 minute dinner stop, it stretched into better than an hour. That wasn’t necessarily bad. It gave me a chance to relax and stretch my legs.

Back on the road, I went through Cincinnati {I forgot how beautiful the skyline is in the nighttime and recalled fond memories of the city … fodder for another post involving Pete Rose}.

Cincinnati, as you know, is at the southern tip of Ohio, right on the Ohio River separating it from Kentucky. As I crossed the bridge, that’s when the fun really began.

For some reason, not too far into Kentucky, my navigational system signal was lost. And Sirie’s BFF Doris apparently doesn’t speak Kentucky.

Trying to restore the signal at 70 mph is not always an easy thing. But I did. Or at least I thought I did. I made it to Route 265 near Louisville and thought I was home free. Without warning, there was a sign for Nashville and points south — no route number, just Nashville and points south. As I passed it I kinda thought that was my exit to Bowling Green, although that designation was nowhere to be found. Hey, why not direct traffic OUT of state?

Then I noticed the sign said 65N Detour and I knew I had to somehow turn around. So I got off at the next exit, where I do not know, pulled into a parking lot and recalibrated my navigational system. I put in the address and immediately knew I was in trouble. I could see 265 … but it pointed me south somewhat parallel to 265. I figured Doris knew her way so I followed her directions. It was left, left, left, right, left, right through some residential districts … all the time with 265 in sight. But I started to question her logic when she directed me into a school parking lot and out the other side before settling on an actual state road, 31W 60S. That was promising so I followed through, but I had no idea where I was going.

As we neared Fort Knox, she had me turn right, go about 100 yards and turn left … into a road closed with the posting, “U.S. Government property. Do Not Enter.”

So I turned around and got back on 31W 60S. Doris was insistent and at the next intersection gave me the direction to turn right, go about another 100 yards and make a right onto the same closed off road from earlier. This also was closed with the ominous “U.S. Government property. Do Not Enter” sign in place.

So I turned around and got back on 31W 60S. This time Doris sent me about eight miles south before dictating another turn … into the main entrance of Fort Knox where some well-armed but friendly soldiers greeted me with fingers on the trigger. I explained my situation and they politely pointed and escorted me off the base … but couldn’t help me get to Bowling Green. They probably weren’t from Kentucky either.

So I renavigated. Instead of the address, I gave the vague and general direction of Bowling Green. That made matters worse. The map pointed me in the direction of Bowling Green, a little over 100 miles away, but it told me it would take — honest — 1 d, 7 h. Generally it was south on 31W {go figure} so I stayed on the highway. Then the twists and turns began. Turn left … turn right … turn right … At one point, Doris blurted out “make right on Prentice Rd, turn left on KY 961, lost.” I believed her and spotted a gas station, but as I got closer, discovered all the outside lights were on, but the station was closed. Finally, I found a station that was open, got out and asked for directions. I know, I know, why didn’t do that an hour ago? Hey, I’m a guy. Remember Moses?

The guy behind the counter said he was hopeless at directions and called for one of the girls. The sweetheart couldn’t tell me how to get to Bowling Green, but she could get me to E-town (Elizabethtown) and said I should be able to find it from there. But she couldn’t tell me. She had to show me. So we go outside and the conversation went something like this:

“See those lights?”
“That’s the fire house. Just before the fire house there’s a road, 1600. Take that road. Oh, see, where that car just turned?”
“Okay, 1600.”
“You’ll go through Rineytown and you’ll come to a roundabout. Do you know what a roundabout is?”
“Yes {thinking to myself I was probably around when it was designed}”
“Don’t go around it. Only go a little bit. Stay on 1600.”
Thanking her, I said, “Okay, I think I got it, Stay on 1600 until I get to Elizabethtown.”

Back in the car. She never gave me mileage, but I just had to stay on 1600. What could go wrong? Went through Rineytown. I know that because it was on a sign that said Rineytown General Store. Found the roundabout. Stayed on 1600.

What she didn’t tell me was 1600 ends at Patriot Highway. Hmm. Left, right or straight. As I was trying to decide a jacked up pick up pulled up behind me. I opted to go straight and think it through as his bumper mounted KC lights flashed me.

  • So I turned around in a development and decided to in the direction the pickup truck took. Passed one closed gas station {also with all its outside lights on} but found another. I got out and asked if this was Elizabethtown.”

I got the right answer, so I pressed for directions to Bowling Green and Route 65.

Again, we had to go outside so he could “show me.”

“See those traffic lights?”
“Turn left. You’ll go through two, no, no, three traffic lights. At the top of the hill you’ll see a sign. You don’t want to take the first exit. Take the second.”
“Left at the light, up the hill and take the second exit. Got it. Thanks.” as the lights inside were turned off and another business called it night-night.

Directions were pretty good, although I don’t know what they consider a hill in Kentucky. Finally got onto 65 south and whisked my way to Exit 22 and my home away from home for the next couple of nights.

All told, I only lost about an hour or so … or at least I thought. It was actually two hours or so because somewhere in Kentucky we switched to Central Time.

Now a lot of people would cringe at the navigational nightmare. Not me. I cherished it as an adventure. And I learned a lot. No towns in Kentucky have names. No one can give you directions, they have to show you. You can’t find gas after midnight in Kentucky {good thing I had filled up earlier in the night}. Doris doesn’t speak Kentucky {this morning she directed me 9.5 miles and said it would take 3h 32 m}.

On the plus side, I got to visit Fort Knox, found out Bowling Green is world headquarters of Fruit of the Loom, trucks are generally jacked up, cars and trucks are loud, drivers like to go from 0-?? from stop light to stop light and people think it’s cold at 40 degrees. My only regret was most of my Kentucky journey thus far was in the dark.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things… and making those count for more than the bad stuff. Maybe we just get through it, and that’s all we can ask for.

About wisdomfromafather

I'm just an ordinary guy walking along the journey of life.
This entry was posted in family, Five Minute Friday, relationships, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Five Minute Friday Plus … When

  1. A pleasure to come across a male writer via #fmfparty. I am a fan of your Thought for the Day.


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