Christmas In Kentucky, Chapter I: The Departure

My (rental) ride

My (rental) ride

Wherein I relive the joys of Saint Paul rush hour, dine at a McDonalds whilst it was still being built, brave the fierce elements, and rediscover a dormant but prodigious talent

Off to Kentucky for Christmas with Mom, sister Mary, bro-in-law Pete, and adorable niece Nolia. I am still carless after the collision, so have rented a sweet little 2013 Ford Focus. This is a live ride. I may not give it back.

The office closed at noon. And after a stop at the radio station holiday potluck, I eventually got on the road by 3 with every intention of reaching Missouri by dusk. I-35E traffic in Saint Paul during Friday afternoon rush hour had different plans, though. I was nearly to Faribault before the interstate stopped resembling a parking lot. Road rage was surprisingly absent, though, which is remarkable.

Image from –  Not the actual Medford McDonalds

In Medford my windows began to frost over, I was hungry, and I needed to pee. So I pulled off the interstate, onto a goddamn roundabout (which I despise), and into a (seemingly) friendly and welcoming McDonalds. Bad choice. Apparently the lighted sign did not indicate a restaurant ready for diners. Although the McStaff was serving food to a crowded line of customers, the McConstruction Workers were still building the place: hanging drywall, installing ceiling lights, prepping the floor for tile. There was one bathroom and the line was understandably immense. Cold weather caused most of the diners to eat in, and we all sat at church-basement folding tables and chairs. I understand their desire to serve holiday travelers, but this was a McMistake.

Continuing on down the interstate, my windows continued to frost over. As I approached Albert Lea (home town to Al Franken and nearly into Iowa), the roads became more slippery. As I crossed the border, they became glazed. I pushed on another forty miles to Clear Lake (best known as the place where Buddy Holly et al died in a 1959 plane crash), drove gingerly onto the exit ramp, and took my rest at the AmericInn.

Image from

Image from

I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it into Missouri. But my dad was famous for saying, “Just find out how many miles the road will give you.” Good advice, Dad.

On the plus side: for road trip music I busted out some mix CDs I burned four or five years ago. God damn, but I make some fine mix CDs.

So. Sitting back, chillaxin’, quaffing a Schell’s (coincidentally named) Snowstorm. Their winter seasonal is different each year, and this time around they’ve created a Biére de Garde. Very very nice.

Yes, the holidays have begun. With luck and an early start, Kentucky tomorrow afternoon.

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