Sunday, August 06, 2006


That is the number of miles I traveled in my car Thursday and Friday.

If you divide it by 60 ( the minutes in an hour) it comes to the number of hours (33) that I spent in the car.

Multiply it by 10 cents per mile and it becomes 198.30, the amount I spent on gas to get back and forth.

Multiply it by .01 (a penny) and then by 3 (the number of us traveling) and you get 59.49, the amount spent on our room for the night.

Multiplying it by a penny also gets what seems to be the average cost for 3 people eating fast food on the road.

1983 also was the year that I met the mother of my children, which is what got me into all this.

So here's the story.....

On Thursday I drove to the International Peace Gardens which is 15 miles north of Dunseith North Dakota to pick up The Ponderer. He has been working at the International Band Camp since the beginning of June.

He has been going to the camp every summer as a student since he was 9. This is the first year he has gone as an employee. He spent the last 2 months working in the kitchen. His sisters have been calling him the "Lunch Lady".

Of course leaving town is never easy for me. Usually it is business related matters that get me a late start. This time I got out on time but I took a pretty good hit in the wallet to do so. I had to pay out the nose to get new springs and struts installed on the rear of my trusty Honda Civic. You'd think I could get more than 430,000 miles out of them. They just don't make cars the way they used to.

Why new springs and struts? Because there was going to be a lot of us in my little car, I was taking the girls with me. They were anxious to see their brother, they really missed him.

So off we went Thursday morning. Miss Sensitivity, The Keeper and I with a minimum amount of luggage because my son had everything he took to camp with him and we had to make sure we had the room for it.

Actually we shouldn't even have had luggage, but getting teenage girls to travel anywhere without several changes of clothes is just not going to happen. The best I was able to do was convince them to bring 2 days worth of clothing and minimal makeup supplies. Why they needed makeup is beyond me. I didn't think they were going to meet anyone inside my car or at one of the 10 minute gas stops we were going to make.

The reality is my kids are all great traveling companions. They've gone on lot's of road trips with me. All they do is sleep, read or listen to their MP3 player. They spend no time interacting with me, they don't ask for any additional stops and I never hear "are we there yet".

The truth is it is just like traveling by myself, very lonely.

So there is nothing interesting to tell about the drive from Denver to Bottineau North Dakota. We stayed in a Super 8 there because it was inexpensive and had high speed Internet.

The kids love motel living and always have. There seems to be something about small bars of soap and small bottles of shampoo that really excites them.

They are also always impressed by the free food given out in the morning at the "breakfast buffet". They really hit the jackpot this time because this Super 8 has a waffle maker! They gleefully made waffles for themselves on Friday morning and sampled all the juices the motel had to offer.

They were very happy.....

On Friday morning from Bottineau it was just a 30 minute drive to pick up my son. I had talked with him on the way up and told him to be ready at 8:00AM and he was standing outside waiting. He had no idea I was bringing the girls and was very surprised when they almost knocked him over while hugging him.

He had his things ready and we stuck them in the car. By the time we got everything in the entire back of the car was filled up. You could not even see out of the back window.

Of course The Ponderer had his food with him. It consisted of an entire Pepperoni pizza stacked in slices wrapped in tin foil; 2 very large bags of ripple potato chips; and a box of 30 Peanut Butter Toll House cookies. The only thing missing was a 6 pack of Mountain Dew, I'm sure he drank that the night before.

The trip back was uneventful. It's the weekend before Sturgis and there were a lot of bikers headed that way. In 4 hours I counted 346 Harleys, the lucky bastards. There will be more about that soon.

So we got in about 10:30 on Friday night and were really tired. I did have time to start this blog and do the math. It cost me $198.30 for gas; $118.98 for food; $454.23 for car repairs; and $59.49 for lodging. The total cost of this trip......


When I saw 831 I immediately thought of August 31, that is the day I married my kids mom. It is also the birthday of Sonya, someone that made a real difference in my life.

On the way back I asked The Ponderer how much money he had left. He told me he had un-cashed paychecks totaling more than $1,000. I asked him if he was going to work at the camp next year and he said yes.

I see a bus in his future.....

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