The original plan was for us to follow The Pony in his loaded Rogue. We thought that he would need help carrying his whole life up to his 12th floor dorm room. THEN OU sent him an email about move-in schedules. Students get a 1-hour window to pull up outside the dorm, drop off ALL THEIR STUFF to staff, then park and ride a shuttle back so they can unpack. Seems pretty streamlined. The #1 son never had that option at his college. Anyhoo...we had already planned to accompany The Pony to make sure he made it, and say a proper goodbye.
The Pony asked me to ride along with him part of the way. Who am I to turn that offer down in favor of riding with Farmer H? We'll have
The drama started Wednesday at 5:15 a.m. I had instructed Farmer H to wake me at 5:00. I knew just what I needed to do in order to be ready to depart the Mansion at 7:00. A time chosen by Farmer H. That loss of 15 minutes made it harder, but I knew I could still get everything together. I was completing the final tasks, having already packed my last-minute items. Some perishable food needed tossing to the dogs and chickens, and dishes containing them had to be washed. Farmer H stalked through the kitchen and said, "You should have had that ready before this morning."
I don't know why that should matter to him, what I was doing, as long as I was ready to depart at 7:00, right? Maybe I wanted to relax in a bubble bath until 6:59. As long as I was ready to leave at his appointed time, he should not have a say in what I spent my preparation efforts on. Let the record show that we departed the Mansion driveway at 6:55 a.m.
Then we promptly drove to town and spent 15 minutes buying GAS. And of course browsing the Casey's convenience store for donuts and soda. REALLY, Farmer H?
"You could have had this done already. You've only known for a month that we would be leaving this morning to drive to Oklahoma."
"It's YOUR Acadia! YOU should have had it full of gas!"
"No. I drive the Tahoe every day. YOU have been driving the Acadia when you go running around. YOU are the one who only puts in $10 of gas at a time. You have been off ALL WEEK! I think you might have had time Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday to fill up the Acadia."
There's no reasoning with that man. So anyhoo...we waited on traffic to pull out of the Casey's lot. And all at once, Farmer H switched his blinker and went the other way! Instead of the route he always takes, the route The Pony had planned on. And don't forget that The Pony was supposed to be in the lead, but Farmer H took off first out of the parking lot. Since the plan was to travel together, The Pony followed Farmer H to the highway, and on to the road that leads past Newmentia. The straighter route, not the one that follows a twisted pig's trail that Farmer H usually takes. We end up in the same town, but Farmer H thinks his way is faster. It's not.
Not only did Farmer H not let The Pony take the lead, he sped off like a criminal evading law enforcement. Speaking of law enforcement...The Pony was loathe to drive as fast as Farmer H. "Mom. He's going WAY over the speed limit!" As I could see, courtesy of The Pony's Garmin. We were AT the speed limit, and losing sight of Farmer H on that curvy blacktop road. We knew where we were going. But there was that whole traveling together plan in our heads. Farmer H had the nerve to call me and tell The Pony to catch up.
We were going 63 in a 55 when a Missouri State Highway Patrol car passed us going the other way. Too curvy and no turnaround venue, so The Pony didn't get pulled over. But he dropped back down to only 4 miles over the limit. Farmer H was livid when we stopped for me to switch my passenger status.
"I had to slow down to 45 for him to catch up!"
"Of course you did. He was barely going over the speed limit. You shouldn't have driven like a maniac. No way could he catch you with you going 70."
Farmer H just shook his head in his condescending way. He noticed that The Pony's right front tire was low, and commanded him to go to a gas station and put in some air. Huh. You'd think a loving father might have checked out his son's vehicle before sending him off to Oklahoma in it for six months. Since I was now trapped in the Acadia with Farmer H until the next rest stop, I kept my mouth shut. Life is hard enough without being a captive audience for Farmer H's reasoning. He let The Pony take the lead getting onto I-44 at St. James. Then promptly blew past him as we went through Rolla.
Once I got back in with The Pony, he informed me, "As I pulled onto the ramp for the rest stop, Dad flung gravel up on my windshield, he was going so fast." You're preachin' to the highly pissed-off choir, sonny." And the choir's attitude did not improve as the trip progressed. Once we left our hour-long lunch in Joplin, Farmer H, took the turnpike. Every other trip, he avoided the turnpike. Because, he said, "People drive too fast on that turnpike!"
The speed limit on the turnpike was 75 mph. The Pony set his cruise control, and the Garmin showed a steady speed of 74 mph.
"You know your dad is going to complain, right, because you're not even going the speed limit?"
"I don't care. I'm not setting the cruise again."
He had a point. There were a lot of semi trucks on the turnpike. In fact, The Pony said, "We've got us a convoy." Not so much US as the six trucks that kept passing us and us re-passing them. When I get in a pod of traffic like that (well, when I used to, in the days before I preferred to eschew highway driving) I backed off my speed a bit and let that traffic get ahead. No need to look at a the back-end of a semi when you're going 74 mph.
Then my phone rang. It was Farmer H, of course. Madder 'n a wet hen. "Tell The Pony to CLOSE THE GAP! Cars are going to get in between us."
"He's close enough to you! It's one car length for every 10 mph of speed, you know."
"Not on the turnpike! Cars are going to get in between, and I'll lose him."
"Then quit speeding and running off from him!"
Can you believe Farmer H hung up on me? What he forgets is (the same thing he reminds me of when I ask him to stop sweaving or slow down) that he has been driving for 44 years. And The Pony has been actually driving for 4 months. Not only did he hang up, but Farmer H TOOK OFF! Weaving in and out of those semis. We couldn't have caught him if The Pony had upped his speed to 85. Because you can't catch someone going 85 unless you go EVEN FASTER!
Miracle of miracles, we arrived at our destination at 5:30 p.m. Even after a stint in the Oklahoma City to Norman rush hour. That trip took 10.5 hours. I don't know WHY Farmer H didn't let us go the way we came back last time, through Arkansas, and straight across Oklahoma on a divided highway.
His reason? "No. It took us 10 and a half hours last time."