Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Case For Caravaning

or alternate blog post titles:

*When wives attack text directions

*Meet you at Sweetwater

*What I knew was... what I didn't know...

What I knew was that my wife and I had been invited to attend the Detroit Tigers baseball game vs the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, May 26 with my brother and sister-in-law. What I didn't know was that the seats would be be behind home plate in the upper deck and fantastic. But before we get to that part...

What I knew was that I don't own a cell phone and so rely on getting important messages thru my wife. What I didn't know was that her narrative invention would throw the proverbial curveball into our plans.

What I knew was that we would be driving separately (as they were heading to Kalamazoo after the game) and that we were to "meet at Sweetwater pub" at 12:30pm. What I didn't know was that my brother meant the Sweetwater bar just a few miles from my house (never been there and forgot it was named this) and that I was told we were supposed to meet in Detroit - so (going against my instincts) I pointed the GPS at the Sweetwater Tavern a few blocks away from the ballpark.

NARRATOR SIDENOTE QUERY - When partaking in a day trip with friends or family involving separate vehicles, do you decide to; 1) meet at the destination at a specific time? or; 2) caravan?

My wife was brought up in a home where they practiced "meeting there" and I come from a long line of caravaners. As a caravaner myself, I am not sure how the "meet theres" are so confident the other parties will follow thru or actually remember to leave for the agreed-upon meeting spot without a continual line-of-sight. They're family, after all, so how can they be trusted not to wander off? If at any point the other party in a caravan cannot be spotted in the traffic, there is a flurry of immediate and frantic phone calls and shouting out of mile markers, with instructions for one or more parties to "take the next exit" or to "wait on the shoulder" until the caravan can once again be made whole. Otherwise we are no better than the beasts in the forest.  

So at 12:30pm sharp we pull into the parking lot in downtown Detroit.

My wife calls the sister-in-law, "where are you?".

"We are at Sweetwater Bar in Grand Blanc and waiting for you," she answers.

And THIS is why we caravan. 

I blame myself for doubting this life's rule by listening to my "meet there" wife, but I was excited for lunch in Mexicantown on Detroit's southwest side. Time for recriminations later, there are margaritas with my name on them (my Spanish name is "Geraldo", btw)

By now, my wife has her phone on speaker. I hear my sister-in-law tell my wife to meet them at the Blue Water Bridge in an hour. I hear my brother say that, "I hope my brother realizes you meant the Ambassador Bridge and not the Blue Water Bridge, which is in Port Huron.

And THIS is why we caravan.

I say, "I'll see you in Mexican Village when you get there. I'll be the gringo with a stack of empty margarita glasses in front of him."

...And that is how they found me. A great lunch and fun time at the ballpark was had by all. All's well that ends well, but it could have been worse. I had a bad feeling someone was going to get the signals crossed again and call from a jail cell in Tijuana.

So in conclusion, when planning a day trip with family and/or friends involving several vehicles - CARAVAN! If you're worried that not everyone can agree on a specific speed, you can always rent a car transport carrier.



  1. Geraldo, I enjoyed your essay on caravaning. I fall on the caravaning side myself except when it involves my husband's youngest brother and the hair-raising, toe-curling turns in the pitch-black back roads of Cape Cod. The road engineers must have a beef with straight lines!

    Anyway, long story short, the words, "follow me, I know a short cut," still make me want to grip my GPS and say we'll meet you there.

  2. Cube, glad you enjoyed. Us caravaners need to stick together. And you are right making certain exceptions to the rule. Especially when motoring around in Cape Cod. You didn’t marry into the Kennedy clan by chance, didja?

  3. Lol. I wouldn't have lasted 36 years in that family.

  4. Wow. Blue Water Bridge. Not exactly DelRay.
    Get a smartphone, Grampa...

  5. Dude, I was in Livonia, MI yesterday and today and actually watched the Tigers win 3 to 2 on the tele today while trying to translate my wife's Mother's Chinese into English with Zero success. Every time she asked something I just nodded, said Yes with a smile or asked if she was chilly, then pretended to adjust the thermostat, since it was 90 deglees and 90 pacent humidity, I wanted it 70 on the stat and she wanted it 73. She won out but of course Monsieur.
    We probably passed each other on I-96 yesterday or today or both. I tried drinking some tap water there but couldn't convince myself it didn't come from Flint. Like the Detroit utilities wouldn't buy water from Flint....and Flint wouldn't try to dump it on them at a steep discount. So, I drank bottled water which is probably worse.

  6. PS, I've had drive separately experiences but they are too painful to transcribe....

  7. Ed, what is this 'smartphone' you speak of? And I'm more of an international tunnel guy than any of those bridges. We didn't have our passports any way so we never had to involve the Canadian immigration authorities and there were no detention cells this trip.

    Kid, Dang! Why didn't ya hang out the window and wave when you saw the chattering teeth mobile? Probably suffering from some heat stroke thanks to the mother-in-law. You know what's good for heat stroke? Lead. Lead is good for heat stroke. Come to Flint and the next round of Evian is on me.

  8. If I'd have only known to look for you. As it was the cop cars every 1.5 miles had my attention. They made some money this weekend, but not from me.

  9. It’s a law that they have to pull over all Ohio plates. You got lucky my friend!

  10. I got two bumpler stickers on my vehicles....

    - Temporary Ohio Resident
    - Zombie Apocalypse Response Vehicle.

    I think the ZARP sticker causes them to let me slide.