Travel pet peeves

OK, to get this out of the way… A “peeve” is a cause of annoyance. Why would anyone keep one as a pet?

After a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma (down to OK on Wed, back on Thursday…in a snowstorm) I have amassed a few things and practices that annoy me. I have divided these into categories.

Rest Stops:

  • Going West from Omaha to York, between Lincoln and York there are several Westbound rest stops. Going East from York to Lincoln, there is one. US highways don’t have rest stops like interstates, so the only place you can stop is a gas station. If you don’t like stopping at gas stations, you just hold it until you get back on the interstate…at York, after 3 hours of driving and a quart of water.
  • If you are thirsty and you don’t want to buy soda or juice, you carry your water with you, and you refill the thermos at the rest stops. Be aware that during the winter, they turn off the drinking fountains and all you can get is warm water from some of these bathrooms. Yes, it is wet, but not preferable.
  • The doors on the stalls have broken latches. We’re not talking about missing screws. They are BROKEN! The 1/4-inch metal piece that attaches the latch to the door is sheered off. I picture a very very angry woman in a wheelchair charging the door with a Viking yell and destroying the latch mechanism.
  • The toilet paper doesn’t come in perforated sheets. It comes in ribbons that are miles long. When you try to access this 1-ply, translucent paper, it comes off in 1/16-inch pieces. You can try to piece together these little scraps or you can add them to the 1-foot pile of teeny pieces on the floor. I think there is a method to get enough paper to do the job, but I don’t know what it is.
  • If you want a paper towel to wipe off your rearview camera (on your CAR you pervert!), there aren’t any. Yes, you could use toilet paper instead…see above.
  • Automatic Anxious flushers. After you have done your business and are beginning to rise to your feet, the toilet flushes and washes your backside. Now you have to get more than 3000 1/16-inch pieces of toilet paper to dry that off, and you have to leap off the toilet and step 2 feet away in order to avoid repeating the process. I’m old. I can no longer manage this feat of strength and dexterity.
  • Automatic NON-flushers. You walk into the stall and see that the toilet has not significantly flushed. You push the button and it works. Yay! It’s not clogged! (Remember that I use the handicapped stall and there’s only one in every rest area. And the lock is broken…) So after completing your business, and not getting your backside washed multiple times, you start to walk out of the stall, and nothing happens. So you walk back and the toilet flushes vehemently as you reach for the button. There is a backsplash. EWWW! Everything you did comes up in a geyser before it gets sucked into the hole. You learn to stand to the side before you reach for the button.


  • TV Remotes need to have batteries.
  • When you’re in a different town, the guide to all the channels always starts at “1” and proceeds at 5 seconds intervals with no search feature. After 10+ minutes of scrolling, you discover the Weather channel on #156 so you can see what you have to drive through tomorrow.
  • There is a blinking green light so you know that the smoke alarm works.
  • It takes a degree in engineering to set the alarm clock.
  • They now have duvets on their beds, and they seem to be weighted. If you roll over, the weight of the cover pulls all the blankets off the bed and onto the floor so both of you freeze.
  • The temperature control was designed by the same people that did the alarm clock.
  • They don’t really have a cook in the kitchen, so their hot breakfast is toast.
  • They don’t put the number of the room ON the key, so if you split up to park the car and get the cups and purses into the room, one of you will not know where the room is.

Phone Directions: You can set directions 2 different ways. You can set them by pressing the map icon, entering the destination, avoid tolls, highways, etc. choose whether to walk, drive, ride your bicycle, fly, or ride a train. The other option is to enter some event into your calendar and then add the travel time. It all depends on how sophisticated you want to be when you’re lost.

  • Sometimes you get automatic travel time calculations so you know when to start your journey, sometimes you don’t.
  • Sometimes the phone directions come through the speakers of your radio. Sometimes they don’t.
  • Sometimes they give you gratuitous directions…Stay on Rt 81 (because the road is turning and they don’t want you driving up someone’s lane.) And sometimes they don’t. “Which one of these 12 exits am I supposed to be on?” silence…
  • Sometimes you can hear the directions,
  • sometimes they’re whispered, and it doesn’t matter what the volume settings on your phone or your radio are.
  • Sometimes there’s a map that goes with the directions; sometimes it’s just directions.
  • Sometimes the screen stays on for all the changing lanes and traffic info; sometimes it goes black just when you need the information.


  • Try to find a station you like and there’s a good chance there will be repeater stations all the way to your destination. This is especially true of the Jesus stations and the Love yer Neighbor stations and the Yer gonna Roast in Hell stations. It also works on the Country stations and the local sports stations. Classical only works during the day on your way South and not at all on the way North. NPR stations will repeat the same shows 8 times in either direction you’re traveling.
  • If you’re listening to the radio and you’re in heavy traffic, YOU WILL NOT HEAR YOUR PHONE DIRECTIONS (see above.) This also happens if your traveling partner breathes heavily, or sneezes, or asks what time it is…
  • When you are traveling in especially awful weather, you will not find any information about road conditions or it will fade in and out and give you the forecast for Buffalo, NY.
  • There are places that will give you static for 200 miles no matter what station you’re trying to listen to…Scan, Kssshshhhshshs, Scan, kssshhhshshhshsh, Scan, “Jesus will…” Kssshshshshshshs…
  • Then there are the “cool jazz” stations late at night where the cool DJ is talking low and mellow, and all you can hear is something that sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher, down one octave. “Wa wawawa wa wa wa Cool 98 on this wa wawawa.” These are guaranteed to put you to sleep after a long day of driving. But it’s not a good idea to go to sleep while you are driving.
  • I cannot leave out the Buddy Banter when the stations employ 2 DJs to talk to each other rather than play music. So you get 4 min of a song, and then 6 min of these guys asking each other questions, making jokes, gossiping about celebrities. and basic inanity. These are the cool dudes that didn’t pass the audition for the Jazz station as they are high tenors.

Still, I love road trips. It especially pleases me when I’m driving because I get to choose the rest stops and the restaurants. The more things go sideways the more stories I have available to blog.


2 thoughts on “Travel pet peeves

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