Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama: There's a road trip a'brewing

Two and a half weeks.

If I could pick one thing I want to do most, it would be to see my girlfriend Sophie. She's two thousand kilometers away, and I haven't seen her since March. If I could pick two things I want to do most, it would be to see my girlfriend Sophie and go on an epic road trip.

The solution is long overdue: I'm going to Alabama to see her. I've seen her in Toronto, Boston, and Ottawa, but in the four-plus years I've known her, I've never been to her home in Birmingham, Alabama.

The idea sort of came out of nowhere. I brought it up half-seriously with my friends, with zero expectation of anything actually coming to fruition. But both my housemates, Bryan and Ross, are up for the journey.

We're driving 1250 miles. Each way. Nonstop.

Excuse the cliche, but if you looked up "epic" in the dictionary, you would find this picture:

View Larger Map

Google Maps was, of course my first stop. My sweet set of wheels (a 1998 Ford Windstar) gets anywhere between 10 and 16 L per 100km, so the cost - for the entire trip - should amount to between 400 and 650 liters of gasoline. For you non-metric savages, that's about 100-175 gallons. You do the math.

Now, the farthest road trip I've ever done was the 600-mile trip from Toronto to Boston last February, made for the exact same reason. Not only that, but I've never once been to the South. Despite my Sophie's assurances of running water, full electricity, and the rule of law, the only impression I've ever actually had of the South comes from the movie Deliverance. But I love going anywhere new, so I scrutinize Google's route to see where I'll be going, and what I'm going to see along the way. And I had a second pleasant surprise.

The road trip gods (Google's code-monkeys) saw fit to plan our route within 15 miles of Dayton, Ohio, where one of my best friends from my high school days in Toronto, Sam, is now going to university. I promptly called him up to inform him that he would be kidnapped en route to Birmingham. He chose to do things the easy way, and decided to join us for the ride.

For the record, Sam and I should never be allowed in the same car together for more than 20 minutes at a time. When in the same room, we become two of the most immature people I can imagine. And neither of us can back down from a dare. The conversation went roughly like this:

Sam: Remember that time you went to the 7/11 in your underwear to buy cigarettes? Get ready to be overshadowed.

PR: You don't have the balls.

Sam: Yeah? Well a night's bar tab says that I do, and some lucky gas station is going to see them in all their glory.

PR: Yeah, and which state are you going to be pulling this stunt?

Sam: Hell if I know. Any state between Dayton and Birmingham. You can't rush art.

PR: I can top that. How about every state between Dayton and Birmingham?

Sam: You don't have the balls.

PR: Try me.

Sam: Alright. We streak at least once in every state.

PR: You do realize that we're talking about Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, right?

Sam: Fully aware.

PR: You're on, bitch.

I'm paraphrasing, but that was the spirit of the conversation.

So two Arabs, a Jew, and a blind guy drive into Alabama....

This can't possibly end well.


  1. So I'm Sam now! Good, I sound attractive.

    I hope you've been practicing. I have.

  2. First Alabaman Man: Strangest thing just then happened... A grizzly bear walked into the store, and bought some of dem cigs.

    Second Alabaman Man: Idjut! That weren't no bear! That were an arab!