Challenges of Travel

Yesterday I took a business trip to Asheville for a photo shoot and catalog meeting. I should have known it was going to be a challenge when I arrived at the Enterprise rental car office and they did not have cars. Who would ever expect a car rental office to actually have cars available to pick up when you need them. I had an 8:00 reservation, but didn’t get there until 8:30. They offered me a pickup truck, which I refused. A car was not available until nearly 9:15. And it was a Ford Fusion. What a piece of junk car! To compensate me for waiting, they gave me half a tank of gas free.

I was finally on my way and needed to do something about my music options. Usually I try to get a car with an auxiliary jack to plug in my ipod, but most cars don’t have them. Once I got a car with XM radio, which was not bad. All my car had was a CD player. I still have plenty of CDs, but I never think to travel with them. I figured I could stop at a big box store and get a couple of CDs. Easier said than done.

I did not stop at Target in Burlington, which was the first one I saw. Usually, these are just stores you see along the road, and sometimes you see them as you are passing the exit. I got off the highway at the big mall in Winston Salem, figuring there would be something. There wasn’t. I also had trouble getting back to the interstate. A sign out of the parking lot pointed straight to I-40. I came to a traffic light and there was no sign to 40. I continued straight since that was the last direction I was given. This led me straight to a dead end. I turned around and turned onto the main road, and easily found my way back to the highway.

Attempt number two was even better. As I continued to drive along looking for a place to stop for CDs, I now needed to get gas too. I pulled off at the next exit where I saw a Wal-Mart, and pulled into a gas station. The pumps weren’t working. The station had no power. I drove over to Wal-Mart and there was a woman out front telling everyone that the store was closed because they didn’t have power. She told me that half the county was out. Not a good day in Davie County.

Back on the highway, continuing on in silence. My distaste for commercial radio is so strong these days that I would rather listen to nothing. I was also in a part of that state that is hard to find a public radio station.

I reached Statesville, across the county line and more than half the trip, found a gas station with power and a Wal-Mart with power. I picked a couple CDs (Traveling Wilburys and Jimmy Buffett). And was nearly on my way. One more challenge was ahead of me before I could continue on my journey. I walked out of the store into nearly 100 degree heat on black asphalt. I needed to find a white Ford in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen