Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sun, Rain, My Brush with the Law and Frustration... with Happy Ending

So here I am in St. Clairsville, Ohio, leaving this morning and it's sunny and bright and hurricanes are way off. I didn't set the alarm and awoke a few times and didn't really look at the clock and when I did, I was pretty surprised (when I thought it was about 730) that it was 9 o'clock. But I took a quick shower and was out of there in 30 minutes.

So I stopped and got some coffee and I was on the road about 10 minutes when I see flashing lights behind me and wondered if I was supposed to pull over. How do you know? So I figured I'd pull over anyway to be sure, and yes, sure enough, the cop pulls in right behind. I was caught red-handed. Speeding. Of course, I had no idea how fast I was going. Oh, I was in West Virginia where this route takes me for about 20 minutes. It was a West Virginia State Trooper, a cute young guy (says Granny Pat) and I just played it polite and he told me I was doing 74 in a 55 mph zone, but this is a highway that is normally 65 mph zone, but I think I temporarily entered a 55 mph zone. Ok, so I was still speeding at 74 even if it were 65 mph... When he told me my speed, I wisely nodded my head and says, "Yes, that's too fast." Then when he looked at my license, he asked if I were trying to get back to New York City and I said, "Yes, so I don't know why I'm speeding since I don't think I'll get there today anyway."

So he takes my rental agreement and license and I swear I don't know why it takes so long but I'm having these fantasies that he's going to come back and say (as they do in "Cops") "Ma'am, please step out of the car..."

But he didn't. I really thought since I'd been so penitent and charming that I'd get a warning only, but I got a ticket. He told me he had given me a break by writing down that I was doing 59 mph, not 74 mph and I said I appreciated it, which I did. I have to call this phone number on Monday morning to find out what my fine is -- he said it could be as low as one dollar, which somehow I don't think it will be! Then I can just mail it in.

I said to him, "I thought this was supposed to be 'Almost Heaven'" alluding to the John Denver song and he said, "It is..." and I said, "Not for me it isn't" (in a light hearted way) and he said, "Even in heaven, you can't speed, Ma'am" and I chuckled. Of course I'm trying to record this event for my blog and so the most discreet thing I could do was photograph the cop car when I was stopped in my rearview mirror. So this is my view having been captured by the long arm of the West Viriginia law. Luckily I didn't have to secure bail money!

All day long, I passed dozens of utility trucks, convoys of cherry pickers, etc. It took me a while to figure out they were all headed toward the hurricane. When I stopped at the rest stop below, it was swarming with young cute EMTs and more trucks.

Lots of trucks refueling and heading East.

This was the sky most of the day. When I was about 45 minutes away from the hotel, it started to rain, and when I was about two miles from the exit for the hotel, it really started coming down and I was glad that I wasn't going to be driving for long -- or so I thought.

I had Google Maps directions, and I swear it took me to the wrong hotel. I made it within one minute of the hotel -- all the directions made sense -- then I realized that the last turn (on Liberty Drive) -- well, there is a West Liberty Drive, and then 30 seconds farther down the road a Liberty Drive. So that screwed me up, but when I tried the second Liberty Drive, it took me exactly to a Fairfield Inn. I was driving, driving, in the same location -- it was one of those Industrial Parks and it's absolutely pouring a deluge and I had to go to the toilet and I kept retracing the route. Finally, in the industrial park, I saw a police car coming toward me and I waved to him and he stopped and I was about one minute away in a total different direction. In the meantime, I had also pulled over thinking maybe I had just imagined it was a Holiday Inn Express but I was actually in that Fairfield Inn... but no. It was nice to be able to whip out my computer and check the reservation confirmation. All in all, I was driving this limited area for about 40 minutes.

So I did find hotel with the cop's directions and got so wet getting my suitcase out, walking to the front door... I truly looked like an orphan of the storm. When I got to the front desk, I asked if anyone had ever complained about Google Maps being wrong and she said no, but that it calls one street by another name or something... but acted as if it were no big deal so then this other woman is checking in and I asked her if she had a problem finding the hotel and she rolled her eyes like "did I ever!"

It reminded me of other times where I could physically see the hotel but couldn't figure out how to get there which is somehow worse.

Here's the view from my room -- torrential rain, the tv keeps going off as the satellite connection is lost. My other frustration was I looked in the guest notebook to see if there were any places that delivered and there was this great restaurant/pub that claimed to be "room service" for the hotel so I spent an inordinate amount of time deciding what I wanted (meat loaf versus filet mignon tips over rice and finally decided on meat loaf), only to call the place, and be told that they no longer deliver to the Holiday Inn Express.  I said, "Well, then, your menu should be taken out of their in-room books" and she said (nicely) that they've asked that that be done but it hasn't. Man, they could put in a post-it note or even draw an X over the menu.

Mary and I talk about that kind of complaint where the people on the receiving end (like if I mentioned in at check out) breezily say, "Oh yeah, they don't deliver here any more" and you want to scream "THEN TAKE OUT THE EFFING MENU, YOU IDIOT." So then it was a choice between the local Italian pizza place and the local Chinese place so I went Chinese and it was OK, but not wonderful.

In the morning, I'm just going to sleep a while and then figure out my timing for the big return to New York. I am trying to be optimisitc about what traffic may be like.


Melissa said...

In love living vicariously through your adventures! Sit tight tomorrow and be safe! Hopefully the forecast of flooding is way off!

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