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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)

TITLE: Bacon Sushi and the Flight From the Bumble Bee
By Benjamin Stephens


I mark the moment. Iíve officially gone beyond any point Iíve ever driven. This will be the vacation of a lifetime - just me, my car and tent. This is the summer of my eighteenth year when I am invincible and know the answers to all lifeís greatest questions.

My four cylinder import is running fine and the eight-track is keeping me company. The terrain changes several times in the course of the day and there are moments I think I could really use a nap. A quick pinch and Iím good. I turn the music up and gag on a mouthful of lukewarm soda. Yep, I have achieved something memorable.

Nothing but road and trees and traffic, No one to talk to and the only voice I hear is the one coming from my throat as I keep harmony with the tinny sound of the stereo. I occasionally slap the steering wheel like the rim of a drum. Children openly stare from the conversion vans that pass me by.

Where did that wind come from? I suppose I should call it a day. I pull RodChester into a camping spot and put my tent up in a storm. I listen as the windy downpour whips the canvas as I try to sleep.

What is that smell? Bacon? I realize Iím hungry. I open the tent flap and see that my neighboring campers have broken out the quality camp wear and are in the midst of consumption - all smiles as they spot my visible lack of meaningful camping gear. I wonder if raw bacon could be considered sushi as I try not to drool. I get a pre-wrapped pastry and a soda for breakfast and Iím back on the road.

County lines are crossed and unknown little burgs are passed with no permanent recollection. A thinly layered Styrofoam glass bottle filled with the dying remains of a soda an ever constant companion.

What? My engine is running hot? I tap on the plastic casing hoping the needle is stuck - it is not. The gauge is as far to the left as possible. Ah, but thereís good news. I have just entered Montana and as everyone knows, or at least they are told, no meaningful speed limits exist. If I can just speed up a bit I am certain the wind will cool the engine down - thus I test (not for the first time) my belief in my personal immortality and the belief that my car has the heart of Herbie.

I simply press on until something presents itself for lunch. The gauge doesnít change its overheated diagnosis so I take an early mid day break and wait for it to cool down. Given enough time, it does. I give it no more thought.

A few hours pass and I am in the mountains of Montana. Thereís a camping spot. Itís time to get out of the rain - again.

I spend several days traveling mountain passes, visiting caves and mighty rivers. Nearly two weeks of glorious exploration but in the end all good things find a conclusion.

My car is repacked and I am heading home. I shift the gears smoothly as RodChester escorts me home, the grand conqueror of my first solo road trip.

I am exulting in this knowledge when I hear a thump on the mirror just outside my open window. Iím not sure what it is but I do notice a definite wiggle by one of my legs. Why does something like this have to happen when youíre traveling 75 miles an hour on an interstate highway? A rather drunk bumble bee was struggling to gain his footing on my leg. Iím pretty certain I would not have survived smacking a mirror that was coming at me at the speed I was driving, but the surviving bumble bee had my complete and undivided attention. The brakes were liberally applied and the bumble bee was dispatched in a rather artful dance by the side of the road. People stared in open amusement, a few tried not to laugh while some threw coins.

When I was young, I drove and camped and took risks like a maniac. But when I grew up, well, sometimes I embrace the same philosophy (my personal paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13:11).

I am left to wonder if angels were working overtime to keep a know-it-all safe. I know my parents prayed for such a miracle. Theyíre still praying.

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This article has been read 991 times
Member Comments
Member Date
dub W07/25/05
Double Wow. A wonderful narration. I felt I was there with you - cause many years ago I was doing the same in a powder blue 67' Mustang.
Thanks for the memory.
Beth Muehlhausen07/26/05
Well done work that speaks volumes about the personality of youthful masculinity! Favorite line: "If I can just speed up a bit I am certain the wind will cool the engine down - thus I test (not for the first time) my belief in my personal immortality and the belief that my car has the heart of Herbie."

Debbie OConnor07/27/05
This was a lot of fun to read. Great title too.
Nina Phillips07/27/05
This was really wonderful, I enjoyed reading every bit of your adventurous car trip. I liked the title too. God bless ya, littlelight
Kyle Chezum07/27/05
Very creative! A fun read.
Pat Guy 07/28/05
I'm glad I don't have any boys left at home! This might have given them ideas! Loved the ride!
Brandi Roberts07/28/05
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!
darlene hight07/28/05
Loved it! Especially your translation of the familiar verse. :)
Linda Watson Owen07/28/05
Wonderful detail! I too felt like I was the driver taking that trip!
Crista Darr07/29/05
Fantastic. What a ride! I enjoyed every minute. Thanks for taking us along.
Maxx .07/30/05
quite the trip! Thank goodness for prayers from worried parents!
Sandra Petersen 07/31/05
Oh, I so much enjoyed this! I was attracted by the interesting title. Good lesson at the end! Thank you.