Friday, June 3, 2016

Go Before You Leave

It's a family vacation litany:

"Mom, I gotta go."

"Why didn't you go before we left?"

The responses vary:

"I didn't have to go then."

"I did go then." (Before drinking that soda.)

Whether you follow Mom's advice or not, you're going to need a clean restroom somewhere down the road. In those early years of family vacations, rest areas were out of the question. Once we grew older and could fend for ourselves one level beyond crossing the street, they came back into play. However, parents, you need to tell your offspring not to read rest area restroom walls unless you also want to turn yourself into a walking Urban Dictionary. Also, I have yet to see a restroom hot-air dryer that hasn't been marked up with the words "Wipe hands on pants." Gas stations aren't much better, depending on the location.

Fortunately, Stuckey's has been there to relieve both your system and your sense of hygiene.

That roadside haven for pecan logs also made its reputation on clean restrooms. I wouldn't be able to vouch for that personally because your servant's family didn't stop there save for a couple of forgettable times. I do remember the billboards, though, touting "CLEAN RESTROOMS."

I am blessed to have parents who realize the potty break is a fact of life, not an inconvenience endangering some land speed record. For those families who don't, I am amazed to find devices for sale that let you relieve yourself while driving. I feel for the families who have unconscionably forced these upon their children as part of a non-stop journey.

When you're travelling with the dog, the rest area is an unavoidable detour. In the many journeys Clan Francis made between Kansas City and St. Louis with Cinnamon or Toby in the car, we had a couple of designated rest stops on I-70. One stands out as clear as day because it was located next to Rocket RV (now Spacecraft Manufacturing) near Concordia, Missouri.

We get out, let the pup sniff around on a leash and get down to business. If we're fortunate, it happens quickly, and we don't have to wait to do our end or get into some tangle with a nearby cat. The place is reasonably clean, which is good, because Stuckey's is more than 100 miles away -- and closed.

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