Sunday, September 17, 2006

Road trip with Supergroup7 Day 2

You didn't think that I would just jump to the Martial arts part of my trip, did you? I had to survive over 20 hours of driving down highways, so I think that it's only fair that you will get a couple of postings about that part of my journey.

I couldn't sleep. I honestly tried. I was SO tired from the highway travel we had done, but I laid there in bed staring at the darkened wall opposite me thinking about what is going to happen. I tried every trick that I could to settle my mind, and relax.. but none of them helped. At around 5 am, my husband sat up in bed, and I greeted him. With a big smile he agreed that we could leave early, and travel since we could always just pull over to the side of the road and nap if we felt the need.

We ended up at St. Joseph's for breakfast in time to greet the sunrise.

We experienced a Tolled Highway for the first time, and arrived in Oklahoma City during the late afternoon Rush hours. I have to state how much I learned to admire the driving skills of my husband. He handled the challenge of construction, constant boiling and changing traffic, and signs pointing this way and that ( you can consider it chaos) with calmness, confidence, and grace. Nothing shook him. He followed his path through the city, and continued onto the highway leading to Dallas.

As the sun set, and the darkness set in, we headed into the most harrowing part of our trip. The interstate highway was getting larger, and more complicated. There seemed to be a swarm of red taillights before us, and a swarm of white headlights behind us on this main artery of movement. Everything was going by so fast, we knew that we needed a certain exit, but we didn't know when to expect it. My husband stayed near the left hand side of this multilayered freeway. Suddenly, before he had a chance to change lanes, we found ourselves on an early exit. My husband tried to get back onto the main road, but the cars were far too tightly packed. He chose to follow the exit, and my instant comment was "Honey.. this isn't good.."

He responded tightly "I know.. but we are commited to this.."

We got off of that highway as soon as possible, and tried to find a way to return to our original highway. My husband asked me "What does the map say?"

I had no answers for him. I didn't have an extensive map.. it only showed me those roads that we needed to take, not ALL of the roads. We drove on a little, and ended up in the parking lot of a closed down amusement park. We were lost. I felt saddened because I knew that my friends Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim were waiting for us at a dojo to join them. My husband and I took a few seconds to calm our nerves, and then tried to return to the Main Highway. We wandered around looking for our highway.. but none of the signs pointed to a number, they all said names like "Lyndon B. Johnson Highway" or "George W. Bush Freeway". I needed a number! That is how I recognized where we had to go. I felt so lost. I was the navigator, but here I was totally lost... until I saw a little sign set deeply among the pillars of the various levels of highway with the number that we needed. I could guide my husband again. Back up onto the Highway we went.. back into the nightmare.

We survived another 20 minutes of trying to continue on through the twists, turns, and constant movement of lights with no idea of where we were supposed to exit.

At one point I just decided to tell my husband to get off the highway, and we would go ask for directions. We tried to exit the highway, but there were booths that asked for forty cents exact change. Forty cents! To get OFF of a highway? I could understand paying to get on.. but to have to pay to get OFF? I didn't know that we had to pay to get off a highway. I frantically searched my purse for change. Luckilly I had the money. We pulled off of the highway, went into the closest parking lot of a mall, and sat there with white eyes, and terrified shallow breathing. Both of us agreed that we did NOT want to go back onto that Freeway again tonight. No way. We'd sleep in the car first.

We received awesome help from the staff at Circuit City. They mapquested directions to our hotel, and printed it up for us. My husband and I were pretty close to our destination. We gratefully took their gift, and followed the guidance. We made it to the corner where our hotel was supposed to be, and looked diligently for it. In the dark we couldn't see anything that resembled a hotel on that corner. At first, I nearly broke down into tears right there. We were FAR too late to go meet Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim. We were lost in a strange city, and we had no idea if we were in the bad part of it or not. We were so tired, and drained. Here we were only blocks away from our goal, and we didn't know where to go. However, a calmness came over my heart. I remembered my Sensei telling me that it is in the difficult times in our life that our hard training will pull us through. We will think about how we survived that belt test, and faced that challenge victoriously, and that this present little problem is nothing in comparison. Yes.. that was true enough. I needed to focus on solutions, not on problems. My mind frame instantly changed into strategy. I saw a Jack in the Box restaurant that was open 24 hours, and I suggested to my husband that we stop there, take a breath, and a snack, perhaps we could get directions. As we walked towards the door of the restaurant, my husband pointed across the street to a little knee high sign. "HEY!" he said "Isn't that the name of our hotel???"

It was! We were across the street from our hotel. The hotel was UNDER the freeway... right under all of the multilayers of cement that criss crossed.. no wonder we had such a rough time finding it. The next morning I took a picture of that knot of horror that my husband and I survived.

Later on I found out that Sensei Colin, and Sifu Tim were also lost on the other side of Dallas. They had spent an hour and a half travelling in circles trying to find the dojo wherein we were supposed to meet.

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