Floridays- ON THE ROAD AGAIN WITH GRUMPY


Floridays- GRUMPY HEADS SOUTH HUNTING FOR MORE ADVENTURES

The Grumpy’s, as is their usual practice, head down the I-75 to their March Break destination in Lake Wakes Florida. They stay at a retirement park called, Saddlebag Lake, where many family members have purchased double-wide trailer homes, and plan to spend their Golden years in sunny relaxation.

There are six houses, which for one week in March accommodate over 30 Ontario visitors. This year’s migration will top the 40 mark. Grumpy’s crew alone will make up 8 of those 40.

Each and every time Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy venture south, there are stories to tell, many of them revolving around Grumpy’s propensity to create the “Grumpy Moments” you’ve read about here.

We’ve been gone three days so Grumpy thought he’d better get you caught up on the goings-on, which have gone on –so far.

A BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATERS: SMURF ALERT

You may recall my daughter, The Smurf, had a near freak out when we took the Chi-Chi-Mon passage back a few years ago. Strong winds and high seas gave us a roller coaster ride of tremendous proportions. When we got back to our car deep within the hold she was more than prepared to make a mad dash and jump ship.

Apparently these panic attacks are not just applicable to boat rides. The drive over the Ambassador Bridge certainly proved otherwise.

You see, because of the volume of traffic (Every Tom, Dick and Harriet in Ontario heads south during the March Break) the bridge was backed up from Detroit to Windsor.

If you’ve ever been in that situation you know that each and every truck that passes you by causes that bridge to rock and roll up and down and vibrate so that you’d think it was about to fall into the Detroit River. Riding suspension bridges can be like walking on a trampoline.

Looking in my rear view I could see the Smurfs ashen complexion. (She, husband, and grandbaby Ryder were following behind us.) Her eyes were flared wide in terror. Leaning forward she had her hoody pulled over her head.

Later on she gave me this quote about what she was saying, “Holy crap I feel trapped. I just want to get out of here. Why isn’t this line moving? We’re so FREAKING HIGH!”

I said to the Good Wife that the next statement I expected was, “I’m getting out of this car and running back to Canada”. Sort of like on the Chi-Chi-Mon when she said, “If we don’t start driving soon, I’m getting out of this car and jumping to the dock!” She’s a lot like her mother who once jumped to the dock from the dinner cruise boat on the Grand River.

What made matters worse; we were at the highest point of the bridge, teetering between Canada, the U.S.A and Davey Jones’ locker.

Fortunately, the line continued to move and we got to U.S. customs without another incident of Smurf-a-geddon. We were only three hours into our 21 hour drive. Grumpy could only imagine what might come next.

THE POTHOLE THAT ATE DETROIT CITY

I ask you, what would you do if you were driving the interstate within Detroit and you saw about eight to ten cars pulled over to the side just up ahead?

As I defensive and courteous driver you’d put on your turn signal to merge from the right lane to the centre lane. No sense putting your vehicle, your family and those parked at the side in harm’s way. After all this, in fact, might be the scene of an accident.

So, Grumpy did the required maneuver and merged to the left.

At that very same point Mrs. Grumpy let out a very succinct, “Oh, my GOD!”

You see Grumpy had pulled over and aimed his little Hyundai Accent at a pothole that appeared to be as long and wide as the car. There was no avoiding the intersection of his route and the crater that had appeared as a “black hole” in the middle of the road.

The little vehicle hit that hole at speed and the resulting jolt was of mammoth proportions. Grumpy felt as if the car actually went airborne.

Braking gently, as the car returned to paved road, a glance to the right revealed that each and every one of those disabled vehicles had flat tires. There even was a TV truck there to report upon the POTHOLE THAT ATE DETROIT CITY.

How ironic that the city that manufactures vehicles has a road system that destroys them. Anyone travelling south is forewarned the elevated sections of I-75 through Detroit are a minefield of hazards and holes.

No one is or was surprised that Grumpy drove straight into the biggest one. Not one person saw irony in that.

Grumpy thanked his lucky stars that he installed some damn good Michelin tires on his car because there were no after effects and the journey continued.

He does think if he was driving a little slower that pothole would have swallowed the car up completely. In some cases “speed” is good thing, friends.

HAZARDS OF A MINEFIELD:  RANDOM UNSUSPECTED SHRAPNELL

Just after the incident with the tire flattening crater, and as Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy sighed and tried to recover, something else quickly caught the corner of Grump’s eye.

A transport truck far ahead of Grumps had thrown up an object that was cartwheeling through the air directly towards his vehicle’s front window. The triangular shaped projectile looked to be about the size of floor tile. Not unlike a UFO glistening in the night sky, time stood still as that projectile made its way to certain contact.

Well the Grumpy’s lucked in, as no window was shattered however, that darned piece of brick and bract clobbered his hood and deflected over the roof, only to clear the his daughter’s car by mere inches. (Maybe Grumps can resell his little car in a scratch and dent sale?)

So, the bottom line is this, not only does Detroit’s road system resemble a mine field, it also affords frequent assaults from shrapnel.

I’m wondering if all of these shots at Canadian vehicles have something to do with how we kicked a little butt in 1812. And, it certainly couldn’t be because we were driving a foreign manufactured vehicle through Detroit Motor City, or could it?

TOO POOPED TO POOP

Having the grandbaby along on the ride, of course, made this trip very scheduled and routine orientated. Little baby Ryder was calling the shots and instigating the all of the stops.

At one stop the Smurf remarked that, “I think Ryder-roo is a little constipated. I’m going to feed him some prunes.”  This statement was immediately after she had just changed a poopy diaper. “But, dad, it was a hard one. I’ve got to loosen him up!”

Hmmmmmm?

Well loosen him up she did. The next movement was like Beethoven’s Fifth; a POO-NAMI of major proportions. And, sitting in the restraints of a baby safety car seat only enhanced the after effects of that explosion when it comes to a diaper change. This one was a “two-man” clean up.

Of course, my little buddy Ryder laughed and giggled as if he’d accomplished pulling off the funniest practical joke ever. You see, babies and poop is a hilarious combination – to a baby.

As a senior citizen with direct experience with these matters, I guess I should have warned my daughter that the number one rule about prune consumption is, “Never ever ingest prunes if you are on a long road trip, are about to board a flight or plan to run a marathon.”

So that’s the scoop on our first five hours of driving to the sunny south; which only goes to show you that we “Snowbirds” are, indeed, a breed separate from any other. I can hardly believe that not many years ago we made this run in a 24 hour straight drive in a van loaded with our own little ones.

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