Surreal Biscuit - 10.31.97

editors note: This one's strange but true. The trip back was even more wacky, but that's for another day.

During my freshman year of college, several friends and I decided to go on one of those classic road trips. It was spring break and four of us piled into a small car and got prepared to drive straight through to a friends house in Florida. We got everything loaded into the car by about 4 in the afternoon on a Friday and tried to get ourselves settled in for the 21-24 hour journey.

Wanting to get some sleep later in the evening, I decided to go ahead and take the first shift of driving. I had pulled 5 hour drives before with the greatest of ease and this would only be one hour more than that. I loaded up my system with sugar and caffeine at the first stop just to make sure I wouldn't nod off.

During the first few hours of the trip, everyone was completely hyped up. We were all drinking soda and eating junk food and the sugar was coarsing through our veins. Although I wasn't speeding, I was keeping a good pace and we were making really good time. We stopped once more for gas and a bathroom break, but kept on chugging along. At about midnight the conversation starting dropping off a bit and I was kind of hoping that someone would speak up and take over the driving duties for awhile. We had a fair amount of gas left in the tank, though, so I figured I would just keep going until the next time that we stopped. It was then that I would make my move and try to get a bit of sleep.

By the time the gas needle was heading on empty it was just past two o clock. I pulled off the interstate and into a gas station to fill up. As I hopped out of the car and started stretching, I realized that everyone else had already fallen asleep. I leaned back into the car and announced that we had stopped. I was greeted by an assortment of mumbles, but eventually everyone started piling out of the car and into the station. As everyone was headed out to the car, I said that someone could take over for me if they wanted to. Hearing no responses, I asked again and finally got a response from someone. After looking at their groggy state, though, I decided that I was still more awake than they were and took over the helm once again.

We had been on the road for just over an hour when I started feeling myself drifting off. I had been driving for almost 11 hours straight and I was starting to feel it. I had been drinking high-octane beverages, but it was no use. I looked around the car, but everyone else was completely zonked out. Just as I was about to say something, I heard a rather loud noise. The semi we were passing had blown out a tire and its tread was flying everywhere. A rather large chunk hit the windshield and we ran over another piece. Everyone awoke with a startle as I accelerated around the wheel that was now dragging on the ground and sparking.

That scare must have been the adrenaline boost I needed, because I didn't have any trouble staying awake for the next couple hours. Every time we got near another 18- wheeler, my body tensed up thinking chunky rubber would be in my face once again. At 7 in the morning, we stopped for gas and I again got behind the wheel to drive. I didn't really trust anyone else driving in their sleepy state and I figured that the rising sun would help keep me awake anyway.

We were about halfway up our ascent of the Appalachian mountains when the sun really began to shine. It was just coming over the horizon and even though I was wearing sunglasses, I could still barely see. The rest of my passengers were just starting to wake up when a huge group of crows flew up into the air from over the edge of the road. It startled me, but in my sleep-deprived state, I simply kept driving, hoping I didn't hit any of them. It was a narrow escape, but we somehow managed to miss them all. The car just to the right of us wasn't quite as lucky. I remember looking over and seeing at least three of the crows fly directly into the front of the white, shiny car. The repeated hollow thunks of the birds hitting the car made me feel a bit queasy, but I kept on driving.

At the next stop, everyone gave excuses that they didn't want to drive in Atlanta traffic, so I once again got behind the wheel. I was going into my 16th hour of driving, and my body was starting to hate me. The sun was giving me a headache and my entire body was achy from having stayed awake for so long. As we were cruising through Atlanta on the interstate, we came across another car that resembled ours. There were four people about our age packed in with as many belongings as would last them a week. One of them saw us and quickly started scrambling around for something. After a few moments he held a sheet of paper up to the window that read, "What's For Breakfast?"

Being the merry pranksters we were (and since we were all wearing sunglasses), a friend of mine quickly grabbed a piece of paper and scribbled down the reply, "Your Blood... Open A Vein." The guy that saw it gave us kind of a strange look and soon looked as though they were frantically searching for another piece of paper to reply on. After a few moments, there was no reply and we were beginning to wonder what was up with our new interstate friends. All of a sudden, one of them popped up through the sun roof of their car. Before we knew what was happening, a big piece of dough was sticking on our windshield and there were several more small lumps sticking to the hood and sides of the car. After throwing a complete tube of instant biscuit mix on our car, the person disappeared once again and the car took the next exit, never to be seen again.

At the next stop, I simply rolled over into the passenger seat as soon as my friends had gotten out. No excuse was good enough for me to keep driving this time. I'd been at it for about 20 hours and I felt like a zombie. By this time it was almost 100 degrees out and was no air conditioning in the car, but I managed to crash for a few hours before we arrived at our destination. When we all got out and ready to unpack, I noticed a chunk of dough that was still sticking to the hood. Without hesitation, I pulled it off and took a bite. The mix of heat from the engine and the sun had cooked it to a golden brown and it was actually quite tasty. Combined with my lack of sleep and the strange surroundings, it made for quite a surreal afternoon snack. I wished I would have had a spot of butter for it though.