Journeys with the crazy traveler

Grampy Grumpy is a maniac behind the wheel. This is a fact of life. The sky is blue, water is wet and Grampy Grumpy is a crazy driver.

If you ever follow Grampy anywhere, best get directions first, because he will weave in and out of traffic and blow through yellow lights, leaving you behind. He then will wonder why you never made it to where you’re going.

Maybe if he looked in the rearview every once in a while, he’d know.

This is compounded when we go on vacation, because we’re in places I’m unfamiliar with and my sense of direction is already poor. Grampy claims I’m an over cautious driver, which is hilarious, because he helped teach me how to drive.

I’m not the only one he leaves behind. I’ve been in the car when he’s left my Long Suffering Husband stranded at a light, and I’ve gotten an earful or two about him doing the same to Grandmama. To compound the problem, Grampy never takes the same route twice – he’s obsessive about finding faster ways to get where he’s going.

As the kids say, a vacation isn’t a vacation until Grampy leaves us behind somewhere.

I’m 99 percent sure my son, the Little Professor, gets his extraordinary sense of direction from him, and I’m afraid he’s starting to pick up on his aggressive driving habits as well.

As part of our summer vacation caravan down the coast, we stopped in Daytona Beach, home of that famous speedway.

You can’t go to Daytona without doing something motor sports-related, so the LSH and I took the kids to a go-kart track.

I was nervous, because the Professor had told me he was uninterested in getting a driver’s license.

I thought he might be a little cautious, even behind the wheel of a go-kart, and he was – at first.

Roughly around the third lap, he put his foot to the floor and never looked back, unless he was lapping his dad or sister and laughing. He careened around turns and “rubbed” the rails. I lost a year off my life every time I heard the screech of metal bumper against rail as he whipped past me, hair flying.

He weaved through traffic – such as it was – bumping into his dad, his sister and the other children unfortunate enough to share the “road” with him. I pulled a couple of handfuls of hair out, worrying that he’d crash. Then, I pulled another couple out, thinking about having to teach him how to drive in four years. If only I could uproot his bad driving habits as easily.

He didn’t crash into anyone, and managed to screech into the pits, where the little lead foot promptly slammed into an empty kart, not having bothered to gauge the stopping distance or use the brake at all, really.

“That’s the brake, little guy,” the attendant helpfully pointed out.

Those are words that bear repeating.

(Wallace-Minger, a Weirton resident, is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at