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The Trip To Nowhere

By Wyatt Earp | August 25, 2007

Last Friday, Captain America called and said he had planned a terrific road trip. Apparently, there is a beer distributor in Exton, Pa, that carries a multitude of hard-to-find imported beer. Thus, the Captain saw his chance to wrangle up some Hefeweizen from the Old Country. Since we were both off, I figured, “What the Hell?”

That was my first mistake.

The Captain walked down to Casa de Earp with the directions and “allowed” me to drive. For some reason, my Saturn is a wuss car – except when it is taking his lazy ass somewhere, which is 99% of the time. Anyway, I took a gander at the directions he printed from MapQuest.

That was my second mistake.

You see, the Cap doesn’t take advice, especially if it behooves him to do so. The night before, I told him that MapQuest blows goats. (I apologize if any of my readers work for MapQuest, but if you do, you already know that your service blows goats.) Almost every single time I have plucked directions from MQ, I have gotten lost. It can’t always be me! I recommended he get the directions from Yahoo!, but he ignored me. I took a gander at the directions and noticed something seriously wrong:

He inverted our destination and our starting point. Basically, we had to take this trip – to a beer distributor we have never visited – by reading the directions backwards!

When I pointed out this minor foible, the Captain defended himself with multiple “Dudes!” and sarcastic cracks at my driving skills. Apparently, since I am a detective, I should be able to read and understand these directions like Mr. Rand McNally. We trudged onward.

And then we hit the Schuylkill. The “Sure Kill” Expressway is bumper-to-bumper at 3am on a weekend. It is undoubtedly the nation’s worst highway. When we approached it at lunchtime on a Friday, we immediately knew the obvious: our trip was just extended by a half hour. Thank you, MapQuest! Of course, it didn’t help when the Captain mocked, “Dude, we could have avoided all of this if we took the PA Turnpike.”

Urge to kill rising!

When we were approaching the expressway exit, the Captain’s sister called. Since he was my navigator, I figured he would ignore the call, or tell her he had to call her back. No dice. Not only did he take the call, but he also threw the directions (literally) at me while I was driving, saying, “Dude, the exit is coming up soon.” And away he gabbed.

I don’t know how I did it, but I read the directions while driving and took the correct exit. As we pulled up to our first major/unknown turn, I asked him – while he was still on the phone – “Which way?” He kept on talking, so I followed the (backwards) MapQuest directions.

That was my third mistake.

About a half hour later, we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Exton is a pretty nice suburb of Philly. It is hardly a slum. Unfortunately for us, we were now driving through downtown Detroit on a bad day. The houses were abandoned, and crack whores were aligning the sidewalks. The Captain was now of the phone and – according to our directions – the beer distributor should be fast approaching. When I commented that a place that caries high-priced imports probably wouldn’t be located in Harlem, he urged me to continue onward.

The Captain asked me if I had my pistol with me, and I said no. When he asked why, I almost yelled, “Because Exton is not a slum! If I knew we were going to Coatesville, I would have brought all of the guns in the neighborhood!!!” The stress level was getting a little high. We arrived at the address on the directions, and found something disturbing:

Captain America getting gas during our trip to nowhere.

The address was a vacant lot.

I don’t remember much after that, because my brain aneurysm started to kick in. While the blood vessels were popping at an alarming rate, my last thoughts were of dumping my friend and neighbor onto the street and shouting, “Hey! This guy hates African-Americans!” before fleeing the scene. Luckily, I was driving with Mr. Positive. A man who really likes his beer. While I was smashing my skull against the steering wheel, he said, “We’re fine. I’ll just ask for directions.”

Did you ever see that scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation where Chevy Chase asks for directions in East St. Louis? That was the prospect we were facing. We stumbled upon a volunteer fire company, and the Cap got out to ask where the hell we were. I contemplated driving away, but I figured he knew how to find his way back to Philly. When he came back, he broke the good news:

“We should have made a right off the expressway when you made a left. We need to turn around and go all the way back. Apparently, the beer distributor is about two miles from where we took the wrong turn.” (See my third mistake.)

While I plotted the Captain’s death, we turned around. It was a good half hour drive back to the wrong turn, and we laughed about our misfortune until we pulled into the beer distributor’s parking lot.

Our 45 minute trip had taken an hour and a half.

While the beer I had purchased (Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale) is terrific, I can still taste the bile left over from our Trip to Nowhere. And it does not taste like victory.

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