Well, for those of you who recall last week’s little “pre-adventure” of ours, you know that by about this time, I should be somewhere en route between the tropical paradise that is my home in Central Florida and the frigid wasteland wonderland of my former home up in Northern Michigan. My bags have finally been packed, and chances are I forgot my thermal underwear, but other than the idea of potentially freezing the twins off, we should be good to go…

In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret to put some minds at ease – I’ve actually already arrived here…relatively safely in Michigan, and all is right with the world. Well, actually there was that near-death polar bear encounter two nights ago, but fortunately I was able to ward him off at the very last second! Between you and me, I personally think that it was just too cold up here for him, but nonetheless, this certainly isn’t a column about bears in their natural environment…

…and besides, we all know this to be the Studebaker, anyways…

(Honey, I threw that reference in there just for you!)

But wildlife and climate control and the Muppets aside, the real purpose of today’s column is simply to share with you some of the wonders of the open road that I experienced earlier this week during my two-day, 20-hour, 1382-mile cross-country road trip through middle America! As you would imagine, such an enduring adventure would most certainly entail many wild antics along the way, but I just don’t have time to chronicle the entire journey for you word-for-word, song-for-song. Thus instead, consider this to be more along the lines of “The Best of Scott’s Road Trip” – we’ll cover a few of the more memorable moments from each state and afterwards, you can go talk about the zaniness with your friends over the coffee or latte of your choice! So set your atlas aside and leave the driving to me…good god, was that a long road trip!

Leaving Florida – “The Sunshine State”
Mind you, the first few hundred miles of the trip were really just a warm-up…and who expects to see anything of interest while departing from their own state, anyways? Well, other than a quaint rest area sign warning patrons of deadly, venomous snakes in the area, Florida was but a stepping stone for me in this exhaustingly long journey…

Sorry, I don’t remember exactly which rest area that was, but I’m sure it won’t take long to figure it out if the situation presents itself!

Welcome to Georgia – “Please check your opinions at the door…”
Now the thing I like about Georgia the most, I think, is that despite the duration of driving from one end to the other (at least six hours – the longest state during my travels), your scenery never really changes…ever. In fact, nothing changes – whether it be the cities, the restaurants, or even the people…they leave nothing to chance in Georgia, however sometimes it’s just a little bit eerie!

I will admit, however, that Georgia does seem to have some of the friendliest people that I encountered along the way, never failing to greet me pleasantly and wish me a safe journey upon my departure. Of course, any sign of controversy and you’d better be prepared to duck and cover, but for just passing through, it’s quite nice.

Now Entering Tennessee – “That smell is really coming from Alabama…honest!”
You may recall that we experienced a particular problem when I originally passed through when I moved to Florida a couple of years ago, and well, I’m here to report today that they really haven’t done much to fix the situation.

The situation, bluntly, is that Tennessee seems to smell very bad and despite knowing that I might very well receive three pieces of hate mail for saying this, I feel that it is my civic duty to bring this piece of information to the masses. In fact, if there just so happens to be enough time in your vacation planner, I might even be so bold as to recommend driving around the state entirely. You’ll thank me later…

Also, I’ve stayed in a number of hotels in Tennessee over the years and none of them seem to ever have alarm clocks, nor are they willing to produce one for me when I ask at the front desk. Something about them constantly getting stolen or something, but nonetheless another item to consider when traveling from here to there.

Kentucky – “We’re easily more redneck than Tennessee…”
The welcome sign on I-75 going into Kentucky features a cowboy on a horse, merrily greeting visitors with all of the cultural flair that one might expect from the wild, wild west.

I’m sure you expected to read some horrendously offending remarks about Kentucky here, but for the most part, my exposure was limited to the twenty minutes I spent in Arby’s eating lunch. Sorry!

Ohio or Bust – “You’d be better off walking!”
Now this is where things got interesting because for the record, people from Ohio don’t know how to drive. The entire state takes a little over three hours to drive through during optimal conditions, but let’s just say, I didn’t get optimal conditions for my trip…

Five accidents before I even made it through Cincinnati, another three on my way up to Dayton, and I could’ve sworn that I saw the National Guard in my rear-view mirror as I crossed the boarder into Michigan. For God’s sake, people, just stay off the roads – you’re going to hurt somebody…else.

And Finally, Michigan – “Ticketing more tourists for stupid driving infractions than ever!”
Maybe I’m spoiled living down in Metropolitan Tampa because our cops don’t just pull people over for the hell of it, but I swear, within the first hour of my trip through Michigan, I saw more people getting pulled over for speeding and whatnot than the entire time that I’ve lived down in Florida!

Michigan loves its speed traps, and that really urks me because it blatantly screams out, “We don’t have anything better to do than to wait around for you to break the law.” Meanwhile, drug dealers and murderers and all sorts of crazies wander the streets, but hey, at least they’re doing something to address those madmen going 75 mph on the freeway!

Luckily, it was only a matter of hours from that point before I’d cross the line into no man’s land – literally – and it’d only be me and the open road. To quote Kevin Smith, “It was like the opening to Mallrats…” Yep, I was home.

So there you have it, how I got from there to here in six easy states. Stay tuned next week for a very special look at everything I’ve missed from the great state of Michigan over the past few years…with a minimal quantity of snow-related jokes…