It started out with 4 siblings (one parent co-signer), 4 cars and roughly 3000 miles of traveling. At first there was a lot of talk. Who would be involved, how could it possibly work.
The Players – Gray Ranger, Black Malibu, Blue Truck, and a player to be named later
The siblings – Mark, Brian, Bethany, and Me.
The scene – Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Waco
The reason – Mark needs a car
The initial plan was a rotation. I would sell the Blue Truck to Mark, I would buy the Gray Ranger (for the second time) from my dad (although Beth has been using it as her car), Brian would then sell the Black Malibu to Beth/Dad, and finally Brian would get a new car. The whole thing was to be conducted like a giant Chinese fire drill with everyone converging in St. Louis and leaving with a different car.
As with all great plans this one had a fatal flaw… the fiscal responsibility of my youngest brother. Through careful analysis of his financial situation he decides now was not the right time for him to be purchasing a new car. Scratch one great plan.
Plan 2 Beth buys a new car, Blue Truck to Mark, Gray Ranger to Jason. This plan seemed flawless until Beth started to look at prices and selection of cars. She also got her first taste of the douchebaggery that is Car salesman. She balked, she waffled and the plans got delayed. Delayed just long enough for Brian to jump back in…
Plan 3 Brian back in and has a deal on a 2009 Malibu, it seems like a lock and people start making plans for the great St. Louis Car Rotation. Yet, again the awesomeness of a new car loses out to the need for Brian to manage his finances. Sending us to…
Plan 4 Beth is back to buying a car. She has even resolved herself to purchasing a used Chevy Cobalt. She doesn’t really like it or any of the other cars she has seen, but with dogged determination she seeks a new car. But then a ray of hope… Beth stumbles into a Nissan dealership (Jeff Wyler – Cheaper in the Country). She sees the Nissan Sentra. She has her car.
Phase 1 of plan 4 has been initiated. Beth has a car she likes, and a deal must be made. And through some shrewd negotiating on the part of my Mom a deal is struck and Beth is the proud owner of a 2009 Nissan Sentra (well at least the paperwork is signed). With the arrival of the car tomorrow phase 1 will be complete. A new car has entered the stable. The player to be named later has been selected and it is Silver Sentra (which reminds me of a Centrum Silver a common vitamin for old people – so I have decided to call this car the Vita-mobile). With that exhausting sequence of mixed metaphors over it is time to enter phase 2
Phase 2 – how to get the Gray Ranger from Cincinnati to Waco and the Blue Truck from Waco to Chicago. And as of 11:30 CST tonight phase 2 has been initiated. Mark is going to fly to Dallas where I will pick him up. We will then proceed together north to Cincinnati. Once we get there we will have to move to phase 3… the return trip.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Phase 1 is complete: a new car has been purchased. Beth is now the proud owner (well mostly the bank owns it) of a Silver Sentra (or Vita-Mobile). She is super excited that she now has the ability to rest her left foot and to time how long she has driven (currently 21 minutes 32 seconds).
New Players: Vita-mobile, Flying Pigs, West Side Bernie, the Hog Cold Pandemic
New Location: Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Louisville, Kentucky
Originally Phase 2 was to be a three way convergence on the city of St. Louis. Even with Brian dropping out of the car exchange it still would have been a centralized location for diaspora distribution. Scheduling conflicts between Mark’s field work and Bethany’s busy vacation and wedding schedule meant that things needed to get done this weekend. While it was easy for Mark to take the train to St. Louis, I felt that if I was going to make the effort to drive many hundreds of miles I might as well go see the Flying Pig Marathon. Where else in the world would it be possible to see 23000 flying pigs in the middle of a Swine Flu pandemic. Since a train to Cincinnati costs almost 200 bucks and takes 14 hours Mark didn’t seem to keen on the idea. So we compromised. Now Mark is flying to Dallas, where I will pick him up and both of us will drive El Norte to Cincinnati. In the late stages of that journey we will pass through Louisville, KY, home of the Kentucky Derby. This year a 30-1 long shot is name “West Side Bernie”. Being a Cincinnati Westsider by birth and having the last name Berninger I felt it is only natural that I should put some money on this particular horse, or at least think about it.
Phase 2 has been initiated. Mark has a ticket.
I’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of smokes, its 1126 miles to Cincinnati, its dark outside and we’re wearing sunglasses. Hit it.
More from the road to come.
Phase II complete: A marathon drive, an actual marathon, a derby, and some complications.
Phase II started with Mark going to the Midway Airport at 5AM. He then flew from Chicago to Denver to Dallas. All of this was accomplished without the aid of any government approved ID. Apparently Mark left his driver’s license on the copy machine at work. He got onto two airplanes with a YMCA and a Sam’s Club card. I myself got up to a slow start, having all sorts of plans of cleaning the apartment, putting clean clothes away, washing the truck, getting the oil changed, and almost none of that happened. I went to get gas realized I didn’t have my insurance card and spent 1 ½ hours tearing apart my apartment, only to realized I set it out two weeks ago on my bookcase. Once I found it, it was time to get on the road. I took off from my apartment at 11:45. I picked up Mark at DFW (after a quick stop for Kolaches) and we took off on our marry sojourn. We cruised at an average of 64.34 MPH for 1071.2 miles. Three stops were all we made. And we arrived into Cincinnati at 5:45 AM EST.
The derby was over and while West Side Bernie didn’t win he did us proud. I went to sleep for about 3 hours and then it was off to see the Flying Pig Marathon. While it had started at 6:30 we were getting text message up dates about the probable finishing time of our favorite runner, the star of the CinWeekly’s Pig Blog, Gabrielle Dion. I don’t know if I initiated Phase 2 so I can get to Cincy to see the race but I was extremely excited to see my friend complete a life time achievement. She finished the marathon under five hours (4:54). Awesome. Way to go Gab.
After sending Gab off to the Meters-and-Miles tent to cool down, I headed back to Car Diaspora headquarters (my parent’s house) to initiate Phase 3.
Phase 3: the journey home. After a stop at Skyline for lunch, we did a bit of heavy lifting at my parent’s hour (they usually save the heavy jobs till Mark, Brian, and I get home). After a relaxing nap on the couch listening to the Red’s beat Pittsburg, we went to get a few things done. A little light yard work, some moving of bags of rocks, and a trip around the neighborhood in the Vita-Mobile, it was then time for dinner. Dinner another local favorite, Walt’s BBQ on Colerain Ave. Pork ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, beef brisket, mac and cheese, sweet potato casserole, and hot German potato salad. Homer Simpson would have been in heaven.
mmmmmPorktastic – flying pigs, the swine flu (AKA piggy virus or hog cold), and a plate full of smoked deliciousness, life just doesn’t get any more pigolicous than this.
So Phase 3 began after Walt’s where Mark took off in the Blue Truck for Chicago. He should be there in a couple of hours. My own Phase 3 is being delayed by an evening’s sleep and writing a paper for my Human Health Risk Assessment class. If you want to know it is on the Risk from Dioxins in Superfund Site in the Houston Ship Channel. Exciting. Tomorrow I’ll be loading up a few things from home (new fish tanks, a mini-fridge for the lab hey no more warm drinks and lunches). I’ll be on the road in the morning sometime. Home by late Monday/Tuesday night. The end of the exchange is in sight. Not any too soon, cause I’m tired.
End of the Diaspora and beginning of a new journey… that I’ve taken before.
So the Great Berninger Car Diaspora went off as if we planned it. Mark got to Chicago with the Blue Truck, Beth is enjoying her Vitamobile, and I made it to Texas with the Gray Ranger. I saw a marathon, and then drove one back to Texas. After I got back I had to finish my classes for the semester, giving three exams and taking one. The one exam I had to take was hopefully the last one I’ll have to take for a while. That do it was time to refocus on me. I’ve got to get my research done, then myself back into shape (really not back maybe just into shape once and for all). Call me inspired by friends or just tired of being fat, it is time to work on the diet and exercise part. Since I don’t think I can do the organized diet thing, I guess I’m just going to have to work on the exercise. The problem is that I really don’t like to exercise. I think it is because I am fundamentally lazy. I think evolutionarily I was designed as a sit and wait predator. Being smarter than the prey, just sitting somewhere that I know they will go by then pounce. A moment of intense action, followed by a delicious meal. I was not designed to be a run it down, track it through the woods predator. I think that is why fast food is so attractive to me. I know where it lives. I just sit in my car, attack the drive-thru, and bam… instant food. Sometimes I can trick myself by making a bunch of food ahead of time and freezing it, but that only lasts so long before you are sick of the same meal every three days. So enough crabbing about it, I guess I’ve got to put myself into action. So maybe I won’t train for a marathon, maybe I’ll just try be a better predator (a theoretical one, not the creepy kind that get to meet Chris Hanson on Dateline).
3 miles today in 1 hour… the war begins