Going on a cruise to the end of the road

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By Candy Clarke


Recently, I decided it would be fun to take a drive for a few hours - without any given destination in mind.

No shopping, just driving around the local areas and enjoying the sights along with the changing topography. It was a warm sunny day and it would give me a chance to perhaps take some more photos of Henry County and the surrounding counties.

At first my husband, Frank, was okay with going for a drive. In fact, he was very accommodating, saying he had the dog’s things ready to go and was grabbing a couple of bottled waters for us. Then, the last part of the sentence caught up with him. “What did I mean, no particular destination? Why not? We needed to know where we were going. Why did I always want to just drive around all the time? What type of person just drives around without knowing where they are going?”

I listened, at first, shocked at my husband’s reaction. It took a few seconds to register, but then I realized I had totally warped my husband. It was my fault; I couldn’t blame anyone else but myself. I, alone, had pushed my husband, Frank, to the point where the mere mention of a drive without a destination activated his internal fight or flight mechanism.

It started years ago when we were dating. Frank happened to mention (bragging, actually) that he was so familiar with central Kentucky that he could never be lost. I took the dare and within less than an hour, I had him totally lost. Thus began our unconscious game of going to the end of the road. At least, I think, it was unconscious.

Somehow, it always seems to happen when Frank is driving. On our first trip to Alaska, we were traveling through the Midwest and I saw a sign saying “Geographical center of the state.” Well, I reasoned, why not go see it? It was a yucky, dark day with pouring rain and cold winds. Frank agreed and we changed directions. More than 100 miles off our course, we found the site. By the time we were once again headed northwest, we had gone through floodwaters, watched a tornado pass by and seen our newly purchased, previously owned Suburban pelted relentlessly with hail. We had also lost five hours driving time.

About three weeks later while still in Alaska, I suggested we travel “The Haul Road,” do an overnight camp at the Arctic Circle and go all the way to Prudhoe Bay. He agreed and we gathered supplies, filled up with gas, and stopped to register our destination before leaving civilization. After two days of driving on muddy, slippery roads; we camped at the Arctic Circle overnight. The third morning found us eager to continue north to Prudhoe Bay where the newly discovered oil fields are located. Having listened to the CB before breaking camp, we found a young truck driver headed north to Prudhoe refused to heed the advice of the more seasoned truckers regarding a particular mountain and was now completely blocking the road. He was stuck. No one could get through. It would be six to eight hours before the road would be open, if then.  We headed south towards civilization.

Then, there was the time in Canada when I wanted to see where a narrow dirt side road went. It was perfectly harmless, really. I could see a huge microwave dish on the very top. Of course, there had to be somewhere for the motor home to turn around at the top! Reluctantly, Frank turned the wheel and we began climbing the mountain. How was I suppose to know the top of the mountain would be closed off with steel fencing? It took Frank over an hour to back the motor home down the tallest mountain in Northwest Territory. Needless, to say, it was quiet scary. Once we reached safety at the base of the mountain, I proceded to tell Frank how impressed I was with his skillful maneuverings of the 29-foot motor home. Frank had nothing to say, he just looked at me, and began driving north again.

Perhaps, the most obvious clue as to what I had done to warp my husband about going for drives occurred during our second trip to the Arctic Circle. We had stopped to gas up and eat around midnight. Our children were asleep in the back, Frank was asleep in the passenger seat and I was excited about actually getting to see and touch the Arctic Ocean. I drove and drove. Around 3 a.m., I approached a small building in the center of the road; a checkpoint. I stopped, but no one came to the window. I waited, still no one. I drove on. At 6:30 a.m., I approached a  three-way stop sign. Time to awaken Frank.

He sits up, looks around, and says “where are we?” I answered him we were at Prudhoe Bay and I needed to know if he wanted to turn left or right. He looks at me and says “ I knew it.” I say nothing; then he says “yeah, I always knew it.” “I always knew you would drag me to the end of the earth and here I am - the end of the earth.”

Frank just sat there looking straight at the Arctic Ocean. Eventually, I turned right and headed west. Frank continued to mumble: “ I knew it, I’ve always known you would end up dragging me to the end of the earth and here I am.” 

Yes, I have totally warped my husband with my adventurous nature. If a family member asks him to go somewhere, Frank needs to know exactly where they are going and when they plan on returning. As for our recent outing: Frank would only follow one dead-end road before turning around and heading home.