With the recent Powerball fever that swept the nation, I thought I’d write about the one time I took a road trip to buy a Powerball ticket. Yes, I took a fricking road trip to buy a lottery ticket.
I had moved to Colorado maybe only a year or two before. And Powerball wasn’t yet available here. I’m not much of a lottery player. But, the fact that the jackpot had reached an unheard of total of, I believe, $200 million drew me out with what I thought would be a great way of seeing this new state I had moved too. So, where did I take this road trip? Utah? Yeah, right. No, I went to Kansas.
I had never driven past Denver International Airport by that point. I thought it would take me an hour or so. Remember, this was way before Google Maps. Remember, I was new to Colorado. I had no concept of how far things were from each other. Very early on, I drove from Wheat Ridge, up to 120th Ave. for a job interview. I thought I must have crossed into Wyoming. And, no. I didn’t look at a paper map. Of course not. That would make sense.
So, off I went. It didn’t take me long to get very bored. Lots of nothing. Readers, if you haven’t taken I-70 between Denver and Kansas, I can tell you that Eastern Colorado looks a lot like Kansas. It’s not like the nothingness of Kansas stops at the border. Oh, I wished it had.
This was a long time ago. So, I’m having a tough time remembering how long it took before I came across the two hotels and one McDonald’s jetting out from the very low rolls of Kansas. But, I clearly had enough of the road and decided to get a bite to eat and ask how much further I had to go. Now, imagine the scene. I was a recent Southern California refugee and former-stationed-in-Hawaii sailor. I walked into the McDonald’s wearing sandals and shorts. Did I look out of place? Yeah, just a little bit. It didn’t help any that the guy standing in line in front of me looked like he had just stepped off the farm.
The power was out at this particular McDonald’s. So, they weren’t selling much of anything. For some reason, I have it in my head that they only thing they could give me was a shake. When it came time for the farm boy in front of me to place his order for a shake of a certain artificial flavor, the girl behind the counter asked if we were together. I must have given her the weirdest look and said “Do we look like we’re together?”.
I did eventually get back on the road and waste my money on a Powerball ticket at the closest gas station just on the other side of the border. I remember being on the verge of turning around and giving up after 3 and 4 hours respectively. Thankfully, this was a Saturday. I had plenty of time to waste. And wasting time, I was doing. Because, of course, I didn’t win. On so many levels.