Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On the road again

Recently, my sister and I made our annual retreat to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox , Massachusetts. This is our second year making this trek, but roadtripping to destinations far and wide is not something new for these two former shamokinites!

Growing up, my sole exposure to the "outside" world was this very sister. Despite working two or three jobs and pursuing her education, she always seemed to find time for me. Long hours of support on the telephone, but also wonderfully exciting get-aways, traveling to places like Gettysburg and D.C., and enjoying the drive just as much, if not more than the destinations themselves.

Being well-prepared snack-wise was always a must for our trips and my sister continues to excel in that area, despite my increasingly difficult dietary tendencies. If nothing else, I can be sure that I will not suffer from thirst, as she's always well stocked with water, gatorade and what have you. One of my cherished memories from those early trips isn't the snacks themselves, though, but the joy we used to take in simply throwing their wrappings on the floor! how very novel for me to encounter someone who was *not* telling me to clean up my mess, but instead gleefully laughing with me as I used the space about my feet as a trash receptacle.

If you have ever talked with either my sister or myself, you know that brevity is a strongpoint neither of us possess. So it is not uncommon for us to launch into hours-long conversations when we get together, and this particular drive was no exception. We had not seen each other for some time and we were more than three quarters of the way into the drive before I even thought to look at the clock...or the gas gauge.

After some hasty mental calculations, we determined that we had to get off within the next exit or two or risk being stranded at night in the cold on the NY Thruway. We passed one exit with no amentities and then another, at which point my sister caused me to laugh so hard I nearly peed when she stage-whispered, "and the car goes silent as they both begin to wonder, 'will we make it?'" The chatter had dropped to nil and I was white-knuckling the steering wheel.

We decided the next exit had to be ours. The kindly toll-taker informed us that there were no gas stations nearer than the next exit on the thruway, 8 miles away. No, wait, she said, and proceeded to give us directions for a station within 2 miles that *might* be open. We promptly mangled those directions not 1 minute later and got ourselves on some good, ole' deserted back roads. Yes, we were about to become those girls that run out of gas out in the middle of nowhere.

but we were in luck! A savior was near and his name was Joe and he owned a little steakhouse in, well, the middle of nowhere. he quickly jumped in his car to lead us to this elusive nearby gas station and, lo and behold, it was located at the next exit on the NY Thruway! Better safe than sorry, right?

Now we actually had to pump the gas, which proved harder than I expected. I would pull the handle, releasing fuel for all of 3 seconds, before the pump would shut-off. Joe must have sensed what he was dealing with and thus hadn't driven off yet, so when I blurted "wtf?" he again came to the rescue. apparently this is a common occurence with gas pumps when it's incredibly friggin cold outside (and you're tired, hungry and late for dinner).

Thanks to Joe, we arrived safe and sound at Kripalu and were cozily settled in our room within the hour. It is an amazing facility, with an air of peace and calm, and definitely worth whatever adventures are thrown in one's path to get there!


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