Sunday, September 17, 2006

The drought is over, now for the downpour!

Dear friends.. I have neglected this blog for the past half month due to my vacation, but I return with a downpour of stories, and pictures. I am a person who loves to tell stories, so prepare for long, exhaustive postings. If you'd like to read a very concise, and well explained version of my adventures in Dallas, I would recommend you to Sifu Tim White's report here:

Now.. gather your provisions, and prepare for "Road trip with supergroup7":

Day 1:

I had said my goodbyes to the children the day before. I had confidence that they were going to do well. We had provided them with all the necessities, and I knew that my daughter was going to handle the challenge of running the house with competence. It was going to be tough sailing on the first day, however, because Mom and Dad were leaving on the very first day of school. My daughter had taken the day off from work to be there all day for her siblings when they came home bursting with who their teacher was, and which friends were in their classroom, and what papers needed signing.

My husband and I were on the road far before the sun decided to come up into the sky. We talked excitedly about all that has brought us this far, all of our anticipations, and all of the various things that we need to do to prepare for the day. The first hours on the road went by quickly. We approached the U.S./ Canada border with the newness of total beginners.. we weren't even sure which path we were supposed to follow, or what to expect. I've heard of horror stories where people were detained for hours as their vehicles, and luggage were thoroughly checked.. this is not a good thought to have when you are facing the customs officer.

I remembered Sosai Oyama's words "A confident and grateful heart reaps many rewards for a Martial artist." So I placed my mind in that positive zone, and answered all the questions calmly, and pleasantly. There was a deep glow of inner pride when I informed him that I was a martial artist, and that I was travelling to Dallas to attend an event. I've always had that knowledge within me, but to speak it out loud to someone seems to make it MORE of a reality. Yes... I am a Martial artist.

We entered the States without any delay, and started the long ride. My husband and I noticed something unusual during our hours on the highway. At first, we saw the remnants of a blown tire strewn on the side of the road. We reacted with "Wow.. look at that!". Then we went under a bridge, and saw some radio towers in the distance. This doesn't sound too interesting, does it? It BECAME interesting, because it became a pattern. When we'd approach a bridge, we'd see broken tires, and a radio tower. I swear.. it felt like we were driving on a treadmill. My husband commented jokingly "Hey! Didn't we pass that broken tire, bridge, radio tower just a while back? Are we driving in circles?" We started looking for the combination. We'd point to each item and say "Check.. check... oh oh.. no radio tower.. I guess that the highway decoration commitee ran out of funds on this section." If I estimated how many times we saw that combination, I'd say it was at least 60 times that day. The next time we drive down that highway, I'm going to keep count.

We stopped at Wahpeton for lunch, and filled ourselves with fast food. Our bodies were not too happy about sitting still in a car for hours, and hours. I suddenly developed a deep appreciation, and gratitude for what truckers go through everytime they hit the road. I had a deep realization of just how many trucks we saw on the highway as we travelled, and how many people dedicate their energy towards getting food, clothes, and other items to and from the various places. Wow!

I knew that I had just started this road trip, and that I needed to set my mind to the fact that we will be in that vehicle travelling the roads far more than we will be doing anything else.

We headed farther stopping at various rest stops to give my husband's legs a chance to stop cramping. We would loosen our muscles by doing some kicks, basics, and a little bit of kata. My husband assured me that we will invest into cruise control should we ever consider this kind of trip again.

Back on the road, and looking forwards to stopping for the next meal, and to find a hotel/ motel for the night. We arrived at the city in nighttime. I pointed out a sign that said "Food, Lodging next exit" Let me just say for the record "They blatantly misdirected us with that sign." We turned off the highway, and found nothing more than a little gas station that offered hot dogs, and pizza. Grrrr..... Well.. I GUESS that you can call that "food", but that wasn't what passed through my mind when I read the sign. As for the lodging.. I never did find anything in that area that remotely resembled something that we could rest in.

We went back onto the highway, and tried the next exit. This one didn't have a "Food/ Lodging" sign, but I thought to myself that I'd have the same chance of finding something on this road as the last road. We found a Days Inn. As for supper, I looked around for what was close to our hotel. There was a Pizza Hut express, and a Hardees. I LOVE vegetarian pizza, so my husband went to get us some pizza.. but we became aware that this outlet does not serve salad.

I went to the Hardees looking for salad. I stood there for a long time searching through the list of things that they serve, and I couldn't find any such thing as a side salad. Finally I approached the teller, and asked them. Do you know what her response was? She said "Lady, you know that you are in a Hardee's right?"
Ha ha ha ha ha.... I just grinned ear to ear at the irony.
I answered her "I'm a vegetarian ( Well.. not really... I'm actually a Food combiner but it's too complicated to explain all that so I just call myself a vegetarian to keep things simple) Do you not have any salad at all?"

"Well.." She thought to herself "We do have this Taco salad special that is running this month.. but it has meat."

"Can I not order it without the meat? I don't mind paying full price." I said. ( Now... between you and I, I didn't think that this would be something big... just leave out the meat.. and give me the salad. Simple, right? N'uh uh.)

You should have seen the reaction I got: People were peering from behind the kitchen borders at me? Questions were racing through the kitchen "No meat? What? She wants it with no meat? But ...", "Well.. just add extra beans then.." "Oh.. then add extra salsa.."

What the heck did I just start by asking for no meat? This is my best guess.. I believe that the Taco Salad is supposed to weigh a certain weight when they serve it to you, and due to the fact that I had asked for no meat they had to adjust other things to match the weight. I just gave these poor people a complex math equation. HA HA HA!!!! I didn't look into the bag that was handed to me with the salad, I just brought everything back to my hotel room.

Pleased as punch, I sat down to my pizza, and salad. I opened the bag, and pulled out this MEGA salad.. It was humongous!!!! It was worth 3 normal salad sizes.. HA HA HA.... My husband declined my offer to help me eat it. So.. That's what you get when you order no meat on your taco salad.. ha ha ha.. I learned to make other choices on my trip.


lizzie said...

It's so hard to find healthy food when traveling. I noticed that when traveling with my dad for work. We ate fast food or ate out for every meal a day. That would spend all of my food money that was $15 a day. Talk about expensive. It’s so much cheaper to go to Wal-Mart or Albertsons to buy fruit and other healthy foods. During the week, I felt bad that I ate too much or ate too much unhealthy food. By the end of the week, I was tired of fast food or eating out because I missed the normal healthy food that I eat at home.

supergroup7 said...

I found it very difficult to locate Grocery stores on our trip. Fast food restaurants were on every corner, but Grocery stores? They were very elusive.

We also had the problem of the amount of time we could spend to prepare food. We had one week to work with, and we knew that 4 days of that week would be spent travelling.. Time was not something that we could spend on "shopping, choosing, buying, preparing, cooking, and cleaning up" for this trip.

We ended up stopping at a restaurant to save time, but had to sacrifice in other directions. I ate as much "healthy" food as I could despite this fact. I ordered vegetarian dishes, and managed to keep within the confines of my chosen lifestyle. In fact, I had the most lovely spinach sandwich wrap with a side order of vegtables for lunch one day. The only problem was that I found that ordering vegetarian tended to be more expensive than ordering the "sandwich of the day" special. I can't figure that out.. Vegtables are not expensive.. you'd think that vegetarian meals would be cheaper.. no?