We Browns are the road-tripping experts. Every year at Christmas time we drive 21 hours from Colorado to my grandparents’ house in Indianapolis. We’ve also taken a road trip to Maine, New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico, a couple other places. And there are always those drives to and from Spokane.
I mean, we know how to bring enough food and manage to not smash the sandwich bread. Some rules. You stop to fill up every half tank of gas. When going down mountain passes, you put on the AC and put the car into second to save the brakes. You go about five mph over the speed limit, and you repeatedly profess your worry about the bike rack.
Mitch doesn’t know the rules.
When he drives down mountain passes he puts the car into NEUTRAL.
“Mitch! slow down.” As we careen towards a curve.
“Well, I can’t slam on the brakes now.” Zoom past truckers and deer and construction workers. Just coasting, the engine doesn’t grab the wheels at all.
He explains to me that he just drives to his comfort level. This while my adrenal glands are swelling by precious micrometers. I can see us spiraling out of control, rolling at least twice. I can hear my mom crying when she finds out about our tragic deaths. And Mitch is all relaxed.
When we are just outside of Yellowstone (“Mitch! slow down. There’s wildlife around here.”), Mitch thinks he sees some elk or something off the left-hand side of the road. He stops and kicks it into reverse. As he’s looking over his left shoulder, a black bear crosses the road from the right. We almost backed up into the poor thing.
The bear’s just on the other side of the road, and Mitch gets out of the car. He lets in a cloud of mosquitoes.
You don’t get out of your car to talk to bears.
I’m not sure Mitch knows anything.