Getting from where I live to the friendly confines of the Riverside Drive-In in Vandergrift, PA, is relatively simple: Take a left for about 800 miles. Take a right for about 200 miles. And then take another left for 30 miles or so and, voilà, you're there. Simple, right? Right, well...
Our adventure began by nearly derailing itself before we even got started thanks to a certain car rental agency who shall remain nameless. For, upon heading to the local micropolitan airport to pick up our transport, since neither mine nor my companion (and brother from another mother), Mike's, vehicle would never survive the 2200 mile round trip, we found the appropriate counter unattended in complete and utter-defiance of the office hours posted on the sign. And so we waited. And waited. And then waited some more. Well, the car was kind of important to our travel plans, destined to start in a measly seven hours hence at five-in-the-am, and as the first hour of waiting gave way to the second, Mike started working his cellphone, and, long story short, no one would be coming to help us. Nice. However, a call to the national help line soon had a plan B in place, where we would pick up a car at the Omaha airport branch since they operated 24-hours a day as opposed to the whenever the hell they felt like hours of the local, smaller airport. (I blame the Sequestration.) Thus and so, come the dawn, we found ourselves following the directions Mike's smart phone belched out to us until it proudly proclaimed we had reached our destination:
Uhm, no. No we hadn't.
Luckily, Mike realized he'd transposed a couple of numbers on the address and our real destination was about ten more blocks down the very street we were on and not completely on the other side of town.
And since they totally borked our original travel plans, the agency gave us a free upgrade, a free rental day, and free parking for our trouble. As for the upgrade, we had two choices, and, gas-mileage be damned, we listened to our testosterone and took the Dodge Charger that drove like a dream and went really, really fast without really, really trying. Punch it, Chewie!
Truth be told, the same agency borked up our rental last September, too, when we went to Pittsburgh for the Super Monster-Rama, also resulting in a free upgrade, which got us to thinking we'd probably wind up with a tank if we dared to try renting from them again. Turns out both Mike and I were game to try...
Me, all giddy about the free sunroof.
More roadside pagan idol manifestation in Iowa.
Preparing to ford the Mississippi by eating cheeseburgers.
Anyhoo, figuring the tank would probably get just as good of gas mileage, we were in for a pleasant surprise. Turns out the car had something called an Eco-Boost that allowed us to basically drive all the way from Omaha to Pittsburgh on a tank and half of gas. (Which we were able to refill only after spending an embarrassing amount of time trying to find the switch that opened the gas cap. *sigh*) That, and the added bonus of engaging the Turbo-Boost to go from 0-70mph in about six seconds coming out of the tool-booths was pretty cool, too.
Thus, before you knew it, with the help of several podcasts, a half-dozen movies on a portable DVD player, and a little lead-footing, we crossed four states, paid a lot of tolls, and reached our hotel after 18 hours of east-bound-and-downing. Now, we choose to stay at Lake's Roadhouse for several reasons. One, the owner and staff are completely adorable. And two, it's just up the road from the Drive-In itself, which may not seem like much, but, after you're brain has been addled by a Dusk til Dawn trash-o-rama a half hour trip back into Pittsburgh in the dark through the winding hills of Pennsylvania is something I know I'd rather avoid.
I tell ya, folks, I was too terrified to fart the whole night long.
Stay tuned for more harrowing tales from the April Ghouls
Monster-Rama! Until then, Boils and Ghouls...