Noro Silk Garden Solo is available at Webs and Jimmy Beans Wool, and at your local purveyor of Noro.

Slouching toward Philadelphia

Dear Kay,
Hi. Me again, back at the airport–the Philadelphia airport. Remember? The one where you just dropped me off, the one where we just had a knock-down drag-out about whether US Air is in Terminal A West or Terminal B? Don’t worry, I forgive you for saying the sentence “I know they don’t have airports with more than one gate in Nashville . . .”
And yes, I’ve got my earplugs hooked up. There’s a woman sitting across from me who is saying something really fast into her cell phone. She looks like her eyeballs are about to pop out, and I’m just dying to find out what’s eating her. But I’ve LEARNED. I’m not listening to THAT. No more eavesdropping for me, no matter how tantalizing it looks.
We are seriously behind on some blog business, namely announcing the winner of the photo caption contest. You allude to some elements of our trip Thursday night from New York to Philadelphia, but I don’t think you’ve really captured the night properly. Maybe if people understand the dire circumstances under which we have been operating, they’ll forgive us. It was like a combination of Escape from New York, The Amazing Race and A Clockwork Orange.
wicked.jpg
What kind of portent was this, as we drove through Times Square? Surrender, Dorothy! Why did we not turn back immediately?
Why didn’t we look here to find spiritual sustenance for the road?
Stop and Slop
We sort of forgot to eat on Thursday, and by 10 pm, the pickins were limited to cigarettes, gasoline, and curly fries. Anybody can guess where we ended up: the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Service Plaza on the New Jersey Turnpike.
We pulled up, and we saw this:
legsundercar.jpg
Those are human legs poking out from under that taxi.
alexanderhamilton.jpg
We paused for a moment to remember Alexander Hamilton and his contribution to our country’s economic robustness.
We bought curly fries. And two hamburgers that were made no more than three days prior to our arrival. We gotta write up that special sauce recipe you invented at the Roy Rogers Fixin’s Bar: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and horseradish, all what-the-hell squirted from those Alaska Pipeline-quality spigots into a big gooey slop.
Eat It and Beat It
It got later and later and later. Our car, a Buickiac Gran Tostada Sport Edition, had so many buttons that we still don’t reallly know whether we were operating the defroster or launching a Stinger missile. I despise that car so much that my hands are shaking even as I write this.
blurryclock.jpg
Our vision started to blur. We clung to Amber’s Mason-Dixon Road Trip CD as our sole link to reality. When we ran out of that, we turned on the radio and discovered that we really do know all the words to “Love Train” and “Last Train to Clarksville,” and that it doesn’t matter whether you know the words to Earth, Wind and Fire because it’s mostly just inchoate howling anyway. One solemn vow we made was to cook up the ultimate Singalong CD, so everybody please suggest the best songs to sing at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night to keep you from falling asleep while driving a rented Buickiac Gran Tostada Sport Edition. Don’t suggest “Bridge Over Troubled Water” because we’ve already put it on the list. K. C. and the Sunshine Band: ditto.
Ooo-ooh, That Smell
Bad Smell No. 1 hit right in there around Elizabeth, New Jersey. We’re grateful to Elizabeth for making so many important solvents and compounds that we use every day, but jeez louise I don’t think my cerebral cortex is ever going to be the same. Every once in a while we’d get a new killer smell, and eventually we kept track of them, because each had its own special quality and also because we were delirious:
No. 2: Something that has died + wet mohair note.
No. 3: Turpentine + nail polish remover + lighter fluid + super glue.
No. 4: Pond slime + old flip flops.
No. 5: What the inside of the Mayflower smelled like. Bilgewater + mildew.
By the time we got to the Pennsylvania state line, we felt bad for New Jersey. Don’t get me wrong–Nashville is plenty whiffy if you hang out by the old meatpacking factory on Second Avenue. And I know that most of New Jersey is a freakin’ garden state. Pennsylvania jumped right in with what had to be the worst of all, right as we crossed that really tall bridge: No. 6–Doom. The smell of doom. The scent of our own mortality! Drive faster! Quick! By the time we made it to our destination, it was well after midnight. We were running on fumes.
When finally hit the hay, we looked up, whereupon we discovered these guys:
masks.jpg
who spoke to us and said, “Hi! We kept a light on for ye!”
The Winner of the Caption Contest
It wasn’t all bad. We remembered that, thanks to my blogphone, we could read the entries to the caption contest. So I started reading them aloud. At this point our blood oxygen levels were so diminished by all the bad smells that we found all the entries hysterically funny. We’d like to give prizes to all, along with a box of curly fries from the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Service Plaza. But because we had to pick only one, the book and the dishcloth cotton go to Carole:

Ann: I wonder, if Kay keeps that thumb out long enough, if the Flying Fingers van will come and pick us up.

A new contest:
carbuttons.jpg
Here’s a row of buttons right in the middle of the dashboard of our rented Buickiac. The contest: Name The Function of These Buttons. Please note that we have no idea what their actual function is. Deadline is Sunday night, 8:48 pm EDT. A copy of the book to the best interpretation of these cryptic, Mayan hieroglyphs.
NEXT TIME: HIGHLIGHTS! We’ve had an AMAZING JOURNEY! So much to tell you!
Love,
Ann

Tags:

69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. Looks like buttons to the Knitters GPS System:
    From left to right
    Hungry?: Push if you are starving (low on gas) and a bag of peanuts pops out.
    Auto pilot: Push if you want to drive straight so you can finish up those socks while driving through Texas.
    Flip a U turn: Lets you know you miseed the yarn shop & reminds you to turn around and go back.
    Information: Push to get information on fiber related stores/events coming up in the next towns
    Dicount Gas: Gives you the address to the cheapest (if that’s possible) gas station coming up so you have more money for yarn

  2. I was so excited to be first I forgot how to spell. I meant missed the yarn shop. Not miseed the yarn shop. lol
    Will you guys sign the book?

  3. From left to right:
    1. Turns on the stash warning system that goes off whenever your stash quantity dips below SABLE
    2. Displays the altimeter (when you are flying low)
    3. Automatically takes you back one exit when you miss the one you wanted
    4. Turns on the idiot alert so that you are warned before that SUV in front of you suddenly cuts off the truck next to you
    5. Flips you to the auxiliary gas tank so that you never run out of fuel
    Enjoy the tour! So, when are you coming to California???? Oh, and Kay, I’m almost finished with my Durrow in black Denim. The neck came out a little wide in the first try, so I frogged it tonight and will try again tomorrow. My son loves the cables on the sleeves and is very anxious to get his sweater.

  4. Left to Right:
    1. Automatic Gauge Checker: Open ashtray (no one uses ‘em anyway) and insert knitting. Close ashtray and push this button. Digital readout of gauge shows up next to the speedometer.
    2. Countdown to Event Horizon: Press button to display distance and time remaining before next MDK booksigning event.
    3. Auto-Ripback button: Press to frog last knitted row.
    4. Intarsia-o-matic: Press button and the windshield wipers retract into the car interior, poking out from under the dashboard, where they proceed to incorporate into your project a Rowan Denim instarsia pattern of the MDK book cover.
    5. Gas: Non-knitting related; DO NOT PRESS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! This button is connected directly to W in the Oval Office. Alls it does is make him giggle uncontrollably and hike up the price of gas another $1.77 per gallon.
    Yes, will you sign the book please? And maybe just bring it to Arizona? I’d even brave gas prices to come to California……

  5. I have some of these same buttons in my new truck, so here goes:
    1- help, I have something in my eye
    2- how the heck much longer ’til this road ends?
    c- this way to Flying Fingers (or nearest yarn emporium)when illuminated
    IV- i-dentify this smell please (an aside- when we lived at West Point and went to visit the grandparents when they lived in MD, we would take the scenic route down thru PA which took longer or the quicker way via E-town, Newark, etc which the kids quickly began calling “the stinky way”. Other whiffy places we have lived- near a paper plant which gave off the so called “Tacoma Aroma” and near the Cargill Corn Processing Plant near Dayton, OH. Even in the pitch dark we could tell when we were almost home!)
    funf- caution! alien life forms ahead! *OR* did you remember to hit the ATM ‘coz Gran Tostada SE’s don’t run too long on curly fries
    Singable Songs:
    *most anything by Roger Miller but especially “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” and “Trailer for Sale or Rent”
    *The “Llama Song” at albinoblacksheep.com
    *all those John Denver songs that have been stuck in your head since high school
    *Dancing Queen by ABBA
    *Goodbye Earl by the Dixie Chicks
    *old TV theme songs like Gilligan’s Island, The Ballad of Jed Clampett (come an’ listen to the story of Ann and Kay, wrote themselves a book and now they’re on their way…), Courtship of Eddie’s Father….
    Now they’re all stuck in my head and I have to go to bed. Maybe I’ll try some of them out on my daughter tomorrow morning at 6AM!!! when we are driving to hockey.
    PS- Have you gals thought of maybe going into the illustrated travel guide industry? Just a thought. :)

  6. The best singin’ songs are Jonathan Richman stuff and the best foot-stompin’ drivin’ music is the Pogues. Howl across the Prairies with the Wild Cats of Kilkenny blasting. And when things are going slower, just repeat Ice Cream Man ad nauseam.

  7. Buttons 1 and 5 are used by driver and passenger to argue about how much gas is in the tank. Driverside: I’m sure there’s still enough gas in the tank; passengerside: I think we need to get gas. Press buttons instead of arguing loudly and potentially getting into an accident.
    Button 2: press to point car toward the Sierra Madres.
    Button 3: the carriage return, press the [ENTER] button to record your roadtrip SMELLblog.
    Button 4. press this button if you think the car’s dash is IDIOTIC! Buick’s ingenious way of conducting market research after sale.
    Hope you have better traveling conditions for the rest of your tour.

  8. GREAT BIG SEA – you gotta get some Great Big Sea songs in there! O I’m laughing so much! Hope the next leg of the trip is easier – can’t wait to hear about knitters in the DC area – my old neighborhood!

  9. Is there ANY WAY you can make the road trip extend to Europe? I’d be there with bells on. And maybe a few kirs :-)

  10. Oh my. How embarrasing. I’m glad I read the comments first before leaving mine, because I was actually just going to try to Name The Function of These Buttons. Notsomuchnow.
    I’ll just go crawl back under that rock.

  11. Freakin’ icons! Okay here goes (left to right):
    * Turns on the eye-ball wipers (for when you’re driving after midnight)
    * Turns on the runway feature (allows you to fly over traffic jams and bad smelling states)
    * Rewind (lets you take back that stupid thing you wish you hadn’t said)
    * The I button (for when it’s all about you)
    * Martian dating button(Remember the punchline to the joke that goes “Take your finger out of your ear…”?)

  12. From left to right:
    Eye-Crud Removal Button
    Press to Enter the Road to Nowhere
    “No, I meant to go THAT way” repair knob
    Idiot Driver Disabler Switch
    Instant Gas Replacement Module

  13. Wow, I won? I’m so excited! So, I won’t be a hog and enter this contest, too. But I will say that one of the best songs for singing aloud is Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves. You couldn’t possibly fall asleep while that’s on.

  14. This was easy! Reading from left to right, here goes:
    1. Snack-meter: Measures how much further you can drive before being driven insane by hunger.
    2. Oasis-meter: Will show GPS directions to nearest yarn shop – do not press multiple times or lean on button unless you want to end up at Hobby Lobby or Joann’s.
    3. Insta-park: Will parallel park car automatically (note, this really exists in new BMW model). http://youtube.com/watch?v=zbrdkt4YFik&search=bmw%20park
    4. The Indignant driver button. Press when some driver cuts you off or performs other stupid maneuver. Does absolutely nothing, but you may feel better temporarily.
    5. Mid-air refueling request. Why should Air Force One have all the fun?
    Enjoy the rest of the tour! I wish you were coming to Cleveland…

  15. From right to left:
    1.This much longer until you go insane button
    2. Bug zapper button, turn on when in misquitoe/gnat territory. Usually used down south where the love bugs live.
    3. You’re going the wrong way button. Blinks when you are going the wrong way. *Note: it is usually broken and is therefore no help at all other then to drive you nuts and make you wonder where you truly are.
    Hence the need for the next button
    4. The “i” button. Use for when exhaustion on the highway sets in. Tells you who “i” am and what in the h*ll “i” am doing here. (oh yeah, Kay and Ann and we are on a book tour. Our book tour. Thank God for that button.)
    And finally, this one is for Ann:
    5. This is the DOOM button. That smell at the PA. state line was not the smell of doom, it was the smell of the gas refineries. When this button lights up, you are doomed to empty your pockets and bank accounts of all yarn stash monies for a gallon of gas.

  16. I nominate “I Will Survive” for the singalong mix.

  17. Good driving songs:
    Anything by Counting Crows
    Anything by Simon and Garfunkel
    I do not recommend anything by Laurie Berkner or other kiddie music, or else you are likely to drive off the road just to make it stop FOR ONE DAMN MINUTE.

  18. first, I wanted to say “hello!” to a fellow Nashvillian!!
    second, I wanted to say your entry was great! this is my first time commenting…I (lamely) just discovered ya’lls blog last week and have been enjoying your entries about your tour!
    that sounds like a grueling night you guys had…but I”m glad you made it through!
    one final thing…I am planning on being @ Threaded Bliss on April 21st to see you guys! Your book looks amazing and so much fun & I’ve heard nothing but good things! as soon as the paycheck fairy pays me a visit, I’ll be purchasing it! :)
    .♥.

  19. Ok, this is serious, so here goes
    1 – this is your knit work in progress button – ah, you better get knitting cause you haven’t gotten very far.
    2 – This is what your knitting needles look like from a distance in mid-knit from a moving vehicle – don’t use this button – it could be dangerous.
    3 – This is the FROG, or go back, you messed up the last ten rows I hope you used a lifeline or else your gonna be so sorry button. When pressed it emits a high whining sound similar to a knitter who is experiencing that exact same thing.
    4 – this is easy – it’s the info button, press it and you get immediate info on the exact pattern you happen to be knitting in clear, concise knit language, so you don’t have to read and knit while driving. It’s a good thing.
    5 – well that’s the how much gas you have in your tank to get you to the next knitting shop button – can be used when you’re running out of yarn, or if you just wanna know – are we there yet?
    Oh, and lastly – I sure hope you have Born to be Wild on that list of songs to sing out loud – nothing like it.

  20. Road Trip song essential:
    “Somebody to Love” by Queen

  21. Careful with that middle button – it’s the EJECT, and it works for whomever pushes it first. It’s really expensive to get it reset at the dealership. The first one turns on the low blood sugar monitor, and it will cut power to the engine and force you to pull over for snacks if the readings get too low. It’s a pretty good safety feature, especially if you are traveling with others who might kill you if you don’t eat something already, you cranky jerk! The second one activates the boring scenery filter. The i button is the idjit button and will activate the GPS, but it will be pretty snarky about it. And the last button? Well, you push that when the smells are coming from INSIDE the car (ahem.)
    I suggest Carly Simon, “you’re so vain” and the entire Reservoir Dogs soundtrack. And The Beatles! All so good to sing.

  22. Left to Right:
    Bad Smell Indicator – currently in the “safe” zone
    “The Horizon Is Further Than It Seems” button – press it and it plays the theme from the “Twilight Zone.”
    The “you should have rented that car over there” indicator
    Idiot Button. Activates the Electric Seat – can be used by either the passenger or the driver to administer a series of increasingly larger voltage shocks when their companion becomes terminally annoying. Can alternatively be programmed to play just that type of music that drives your companion batty.
    In-Motion Gas Refill System – pressing this button triggers an alert to the in-flight gasmobile. No need to stop at seedy filling stations, all your gas needs are taken care of while you drive. (Except for those caused by three-day old hamburgers, secret sauce, and curly fries.)

  23. 1) Beware of knitting needles poking eyes: it beeps at you if your knitting needles come within 10 cm of your eyeballs due to napping or sightseeing.
    2) Indiana Jones: If you are in desperate need of lovin’, Indian Jones will ride out of that sunset and into your arms. Note: this button may also attract cowboys and other sunset-riding heroes/heroines.
    3) Electric Slide: This button not only prints the dance moves for the electric slide but plays music at the same time for your dancing convenience. Handy for those long cramped drives.
    4) KnitShop! Info button: When pressed, this button will instantly cause your windshield to display a glowing arrow directing you to nearest yarn store. Please note that the shop must contain yarn that’s at least 50% wool to activate the arrow.
    5) Refuel button. Although this mundane button starts to ding at you when you’re low on gas, it can also be set to monitor caffeine levels and yarn levels, a handy feature. Just set your coffe in one holder and your yarn in the other, comfortable in the knowledge you’ll never run out of either!

  24. Left to Right:
    1. Coherence Meter: Ensures driver has as few braincells working on road as possible (and uh, none on knitting. ever. nope, none.)
    2. Speeding Thru New Jersey (allows driver quickest escape from Garden State)
    3. Delerium Reflief (aka Valium). See STNJ for explanation of use
    4. Idioms- How to talk like a meth-mouth trucker. 10-4! 18-12! Roger!
    5. Gauge indicating level of urine in combined bladders of vehivle occupants.

  25. 1. Plucks your eyebrows. A multi-task that’s much safer in the car than, say, talking on your cell phone.
    2. Stairway to heaven (doubles as a singable road song!)
    3. Punches the person to your left in the arm. If you’re the driver, this would be the jackass gesturing for you to “flash ‘em”. If you’re the passenger, this would be the driver, who may or may not be gesturing for you to “flash ‘em”.
    4. Removes limbs from any stick figures in the vehicle.
    5. Self-destructs.

  26. 1. Eject fuel. To be used when cute guys are nearyby, to simulate damsels in distress.
    2. Clear the road: get rid of all the dang cars and stoplights, and give me a clear road to the horizon.
    3. Emergency manoevers. To be used when you realize you just passed a new yarn shop.
    4. Information: location of nearest yarn shop. (Notice how the “i” looks like a ball of yarn on a pedistal.)
    5. Refuel. Used when the cute guys turn out to be duds. (See button #1.)

  27. Oh, and I second “Dancing Queen” as a must-include singalong song. Yay for ABBA.

  28. Elton John “Crocodile Rock” if only for the “la, la, la, la, las.”
    Meeting you and Kay at Loop was fantastic. The Philly airport is an adventure for sure. Hope you got home safely!
    How’s the sock knitting?

  29. great sing-alongs? you answer that in your book. while reading it, my son (age 12) asked who John Denver was. I felt bad about my lapse in educating him, so I sang both Rocky Mountain High and Take Me Home Country Roads at high volume in the shower (the only place I am allowed to sing).
    (btw, my 4/8/06 blog entry talks about your book and my not-quite buttonhole bag. I am really enjoying the book. too bad you aren’t coming this far west.)

  30. Contests seem to be all the rage this month, and the prize, more often than not, is your book. Way to go, girls!
    (from left to right):
    1. Displays your life meter, indicating how many power pills you need to capture to make it to the nearest yarn store.
    2. This is the Paradise Button. (I don’t understand why this button isn’t glowing golden with a big CAUTION! EMERGENCY USE ONLY! label above it.) Pushing it wil catapult you and your passenger(s) clean out the sunroof and directly into Nirvana. Magically it somehow knows exactly what constitutes your own personal Nirvana. For some it may be a tropical beach, for others a gourmet restaurant. For youse guys, it’s obviously another yarn store.
    3. The “I’m about to back up and turn left” signal. Who knew we needed one?
    4. Internet button. Push it and a T1-connected workstation pops out of center of the dash on a swivel — easily accessible by driver or passenger. What, you don’t check your e-mail every 20 minutes? What kind of Luddites are you?
    5. This is where you get the magical power pills (see #1, above). Push it and a can of Red Bull and a bag of trail mix will drop from under the dashboard.
    Take care (and don’t push button #2 unless you really, really need to),
    Kathy

  31. AHHH the Jersey turnpike-scene of many roadtrips for me. I personally prefer either the Molly Pitcher rest area or the one near Cherry Hill (that one has a LONG story attched to it involving motor oil and bras)
    Songs to sing on long car trips: We didn’t start the fire, Only the Good Die Young, Piano Man by Billy Joel, Let’s Go Crazy by Prince, Jessie’s Girl by Rick Springfield, We got the Beat by The Gogos, Saturday in the Park by Chicago, Stop! in the Name of Love, My Girl, California Girls by the Beach Boys, Can’t Hurry Love by the Supremes, You make me feel like a natural wonam by Carole King. When life get’s really bad, resort to Christmas carols to keep you awake.
    Caption for buttons in honor of the Jersey Turnpike heading south…
    (L to R)
    1. This indicates that you need oil and washer fluid. The washer fluid will remove the debris from Elizabeth and Perth Amboy and you will unfortunately see the Jersey Turnpike clearly now. You need the oil to support the current level of fumes over the Turnpike. Try the Vince Lombardi rest stop.
    2. This will light up the way to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. At the top of which you will feel like you are in the clouds. (Those are clouds from the oil refineries.)
    3. Make this turn to Atlantic City.
    4. If you press this button you will hear the announcement,”You from Joisey! I from Joisey! Which exit?”
    5. Please stop at the Val, no I mean, Joyce
    Kilmer rest area for gas. Then pull up to the pumps to fill up the car’s gas tank.

  32. Boy! You have some clever readers!
    L-R:
    Speed Up! Hit it and you’ll take off…0-60 in 5 seconds
    Clear weather: Punch this baby and the storm clouds part
    Rewind: Like in Back to the Future except in smaller increments (5 minutes ago)
    Idiot: Press this button and it explains all the others
    Automatic refeuling: Did your Buikiac have a second gas tank? Press this and you switch to all that gas you didn’t know you had.

  33. Speed dial buttons for the car phone, of course; road trip edition:
    Right to left:
    1. Local grocery delivery service: Use when Hubbo/Hubby calls — “Hon, I checked all the way at the back of the fridge and I still can’t find the milk.”
    2. 24-hour Pscychic Hotline: “The crystal ball is still cloudy, but I think I see a parking spot 3 blocks ahead on the right.”
    3. Mary Poppins (Who’s really watching the kids?)
    4. Mobile Pest Control: “I don’t know what it is, but it looks like a giant mosquito and it’s flying right at us!”
    5. Pinkie-Promise Best Friend (“Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.”) Don’t need this one — she’s right there in the other seat.
    Have fun in DC! De-lurking, Kelly

  34. I think I’m knowing what the buttons are!
    Left to right:
    Gas gauge, compass/gps, next line (for directions from gps thingy), information, gas cap release.
    I’m sure I’m so wrong, but I’d be the one pushing them all and driving my husband batty. I’d be told to stop touching things and continue knitting and please stop singing as well.
    :)

  35. OK. From left to right:
    (1) Speed protection. Hit this button and speed all you want. As far as the cops are concerned, you’re going 40.
    (2) Autopilot.
    (3) Return. Return to the most recent yarn shop or go home. Whichever the situation calls for. :)
    (4) I spy. Perfect for those long solo road trips. Rather than getting information about where you are or need to go, the onboard computer plays “I spy” with you.
    (5) Name that smell. “My God Kay. What is that smell?” “Hmm…I’m not sure. I know it isn’t me. Let’s ask the computer” “Greetings Ladies. The smell is definitely rotten eggs with a side of original Mayflower. Bon apetit.”

  36. Perhaps I should have expanded on #2. obviously, autopilot = knit your way across the state, country. tell them how far you want to go and get knitting.

  37. Songs:
    1. Must of Got Lost – J Geils Band
    2. Cecilia – Simon and Garfunkel
    3. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
    4. She – Elvis Costello
    5. Promises – Eric Clapton
    6. Say You Love Me – Fleetwood Mac
    7. Dixie Chicken – Little Feat
    8. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
    9. Low Spark of High Heeled Boys – Traffic
    10. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrision
    11. Up on Cripple Creek – The Band

  38. Here’s my take on the buttons, left to right – goldang, I want a copy of your book, and I’m poor!
    1) Eye-Poke button – Helpfully pokes you in the eye when driving late at night
    2) “One Day I Just Felt Like Runnin'” button – Plays quotes from Forest Gump when pressed (e.g. “Me and Jenny, we was like peas and carrots”). Annoyance factor encourages driver alertness.
    3) “It’s HER fault” button – passenger, when confronted with driver’s mistake, along with driver’s inability to admit she made a mistake, may think to herself “Now, whose fault was it that we missed the turn on to I 80?” and then press button, pointed at driver.
    4) “Idiot Information” button – Will point out obvious and unhelpful information when pushed, as though your elderly, persnickety relative was riding along (e.g. “I think that was the turn back there” or “I think we’re lost” or “You be careful making turns!”)
    5) “Gas Tax” button – everytime you push it, Dick Cheney gets 5 cents.

  39. Button #1 – Knitting progress meter
    Button #2 – Hurry up button
    Button #3 – Broken needle button (comes on to remind you to pick up a replacement)
    Button #4 – Idiot button (idiot drivers around you will magically evaporate)
    Button #5 – Shields you from gas vapors if your driving partner didn’t remember to take her Bean-O

  40. Gosh, I hope you’re tired when you read these!
    L to R:
    1. pops out the special “apply eyeliner” mirror
    2. For some strange reason, this button makes ants (or spiders?) pee when pressed. Don’t ask me why, I think it’s a rather silly function.
    3. This is the left turn indicator. One should note that you are not allowed to turn right in this car.
    4. We all know this symbol stands for “information”. Strangely, it does nothing to provide the driver with information, but is just a built in information/trivia game for bored travelers- kinda like Trivial Pursuit.
    5. This light flashes when a questionable smell is not from the outside world, but is from leaking gasoline detected by an internal sensor. The car manufactuerer recommends you not write that one down to poke fun at later, but tend to it immediately.

  41. #1) For the driver w/ knitting envy, because her passenger(s) are knitting and she can’t. Pressing it will cause all needles in the car to come together and uncontrollably point to the left.
    #2) Thirsty? Push this button and your passenger’s needles will work like a devining rod to point to the nearest rest stop.
    #3) Press this button and the heads of everyone in the vehicle will turn to the left quickly and in unison. I don’t know why you’d need to do that, but you never know.
    #4 and #5 must be used in sequence. #4 IV needles will pop out of their panels ,insert themselves into each car occupant’s vein and extract one pint of blood from each. Then push #5 and said pints of blood will be inserted into gas machine so that you can fill up your vehicle.

  42. L to R
    Gauge to show that we really are nearly there yet. Really. And yes, I’m bored too.
    Switch view to panoramic within city limits
    Return. Place of return not defined. Could be return to place of no return, thereby causing temporal or possibly space-time continuum paradox, resulting in termination of the world.
    Inform driver of useful information. Like “we should have taken that turning two turnings back, before we got stuck on Route 66 by accident.”
    Petrol head. Press for help with petrol. Or heads. Or both. Or even with gaskets. Gaskets must still be in cars?
    So glad I stick to bicycles.
    ~x~

  43. L to R
    Get your Finger out of your Nose (deals with small passengers in back seat)
    Someplace Better (push and your destination will change to something with a prettier horizon)
    I’m with Stupid (mutes voice of dimwit passengers, also a directional service, for when Stupid gets you lost –even if “Stupid” was you)
    Little Boobs, No Curves (will flatten stomach, tone muscles as you drive)
    Pump Him Up (fills car with hallucinogens until gas attendant is cute)

  44. I have all of these songs and more on my ipod.
    They are ALL great singalong songs.
    1. rolling stones: paint it black
    2. blondie: dreaming
    3. pj harvey: you said something
    4. tori amos: cornflake girl
    5. joe 90: drive (this was that great song at the end of one of the episodes of 6 Feet Under)
    6. sonic youth: undone (the sweater song)
    7. beth orton: stolen car
    8. hole: violet
    9. cardigans: erase rewind
    and of course (but only when the children are NOT in the car)
    10. nine inch nails: closer

  45. Sing it!
    1. Dancing Queen by Abba
    2. American Pie by Don McLean
    3. I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan
    4. I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred
    ok, I’m tapped out unless I revert to all 80’s music or all Disco.

  46. from left to right:
    Windshield WIPER: Grand Tostito only has one.
    Horizon button: keeps car pointed right at the horizon until you hit the ocean or a stationary object
    Enter button returns you the the beginning of the next line, um, the next journey.
    The Idiot button ejects the bossy person doing all that backseat driving.
    The Gas button rolls all the windows down at once veryfast when someone toots.

  47. These are what are known as “idiot buttons.” This is the highly technical term for useless buttons that treat you like an idiot. From left to right:
    1. Got Fuel? – Push this button and a soothing, mechanical voice will say, “To check your fuel levels, please look at the fuel gauge.”
    2. Wherever you go, there you are – Push this button and a soothing, mechanical voice will say, “Your current directional heading is (mechanical pause) directly straight ahead.”
    3. Replay – When you push this button, the soothing, mechanical voice repeats whatever it just said.
    4. iCar – Push this button, and a soothing, mechanical voice will say, “Thank you for driving a Buickiac Gran Tostada Sport Edition.”
    5. Critical Information – Push this button, and the soothing, mechanical voice reminds you, “If your fuel gauge indicates that you need fuel, please stop at the nearest fuel station and purchase the requisite fuel.”
    Critical sing-a-long music: “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” U2, Joshua Tree. No road trip is complete without it.

  48. As a Hoosier who was transplanted in New Jersey many years ago, I felt your pain when I read your description of driving through the Garden State. My husband and I spend many heart-stopping hours on the Turnpike and the Parkway every week. It’s not for the faint-hearted or the humorless. Too bad you didn’t get closer to the shore, where it smells better…
    As for the buttons in your rental car, I think these functions would be helpful (l to r):
    1. Do I have enough gas to get to the next service center?
    2. Are we there yet?
    3. It’s not too late to turn back.
    4. The humble button (the conceited button has a big capital I)
    5. Did I remember to put the gas nozzle back? (for those of us in New Jersey, who aren’t used to fueling our own cars)
    I just discovered your blog last month, and I love it! I’m looking forward to enjoying your book, too.

  49. Okay, any button comments I had were well outdone, my only adds:
    1. I grew up in NJ. Elizabeth’s “scents” are the reason everyone picks on the state.
    2. As for songs:
    – Jungleland–Springsteen
    – Mr. Bojangles–Jerry Jeff Walker
    – Hold the line–Toto
    Admit it–anything by Abba or Styx if you are over 40!
    Travel safe y’all…..

  50. I’m afraid that all of the clever ideas are taken – I’ll go for the serious attempt.
    From L to R:
    Gas Gauge
    Headlights/Highbeams
    Turn Indicator
    GPS
    Fuel Tank Door Opener

  51. Since you’ll be back in the great Garden State in May, I’d like to let you know that Montclair doesn’t smell!!!
    See you then!

  52. OK, Gals, here it is from left to right.
    Button 1: Low on snacks gauge. Immediately find the next mini-mart and stock up on Cheetos, drinks and other things that will make the car a ghastly mess.
    Button 2: Are we there yet?
    Button 3: I told you the exit for the airport was a half a mile ago.
    Button 4: Activiates the Interocitor.
    Button 5: I’ll bet if we go a little further we can find cheaper gas.
    Best singin’ out loud car songs? Top o’ the list is “Psycho Killer.” Not the original, but the a cappella cover done by The Bobs. Next on the list is their cover of “Ring of Fire.”
    Also:
    Hotel California
    American Pie
    Dancing Queen (I think that’s been mentioned)
    Uptown Girl
    You’re so Vain
    My Boyfriend’s Back (or any other girl band song)
    Kathy D.
    P.S.: Don’t forget to schedule a trip to the SF Bay Area. We’ll keep the light on for you….

  53. what the HECK is up with those where the wild things are graffiti/masks/hallucinations? yikes!

  54. The BEST road song to sing at the top of your lungs….”Paradise by the Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf. And crank it up!!

  55. Forgot to add that all of the Bachman Turner Overdrive (BTO) songs are great, too.

  56. Noone has mentioned American Pie!!!! The Don McLean version, of course. I hereby grant full permission to passionately, loudly mumble through the 7 middle verses, if you don’t know every word.
    I’m a bookseller in Cambridge, and we’ll have to reorder soon, cause I’ve been handselling like a maniac. E.g. “What do you need? Let’s see….you’re looking for a new French cookbook? Have you seen this one? Not a cookbook, presicely, or French for that matter, but check out these colors!!”

  57. I’m too late, so I don’t count, but I can’t help myself.
    1.To instantly run out of gas so you can meet the cute guy three cars back.
    2.Transports you instantly to North Dakota.
    3.That’s the second part of “one step forward, two steps back”. So you don’t get too cocky.
    4. Steve Jobs’ personal phone number.
    5. So you don’t have to stop at the Alexander Hamilton Memorial Service area – you can just get the fun part – gas.
    And songs? That one about the Deadhead sticker on a cadillac. by that guy.
    And Burning down the house, by those other people.
    Surprisingly enough, I don’t buy music often, because I can’t remember names.

  58. Hello!
    Just wanted to drop in and say I love your book. I found it at the bookstore a couple of weeks ago, and unlike most new knitting books which I covet, but don’t buy until months later, I picked this one up immediately. I love that it’s not just patterns.. but wit, and humor, and advice, and heartwarming stories.
    I’ll probably be seeing you in either Nashville or Huntsville next week!

  59. Those buttons? No clue. Best NJ Turnpike travelogue I’ve ever read, I could practically smell it.
    singing
    Obviously:
    The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down – The Band
    Droningly:
    American Pie, all verses – (I see others have this already)
    Mandatorily if you’re over 40:
    the entire Tapestry album-Carole King
    (and
    Big Yellow Taxi- oooooh la la la )

  60. Great driving songs: “Get Out the Map” and “Closer to Fine” by Indigo Girls

  61. Those masks are just too, too scary for display ANYWHERE anybody is supposed to sleep.
    Ultimate driving song – Holly Johnson / Frankie goes to Hollywood doing ‘Born to Run’ by Springsteen. Way better than the boss, because of the ‘Hah!’ right at the very beginning. And Bohemian Rhapsody, a la Wayne’s World, for sheer sillyness.

  62. The Mayans are somehow related to the Japanese you know. These are really knitting symbols very similar to those found in Japanese knitting magazines. From L to R:
    1) This is the notorious P7tog of the Nupps.
    2) S2kwise, K1 and pass the 2 slipped stitches over.
    3) Short row: wrap and turn.
    4) What else but i-cords.
    5) This is the symbol of a very difficult cable.

  63. I am ROTFLMAO too hard to leave a coherent legend to these here buttons, but I did want to add to this AMAZING list of sing-along songs “Merry Christmas from the Fambly (I think he spells it Family)” by Robert Earl Keen. The first verse starts “Mom got drunk and Dad got drunk at our Christmas party.” Fun stuff. A road trip would enable you to learn the lyrics so you could recite them at your next fambly gathering.

  64. I’d like to vote for Un My Kim’s button interpretation. I really like the driver/passenger argument about gas.
    All roadtrips should have singalong music! I nominate Hey Jude (Beatles, of course) — and I second (third? fourth?) nominations for Sweet Caroline and Cecilia. and the Billy Joel. Gotta love Billy Joel.

  65. I’ve lost my funny bone somewhere, but I like that button that’s second from the left. It’s probably the “just keep on driving” button. (See? Not funny.)
    I highly recommend “Piano Man” by Billy Joel and “Steamroller Blues” by James Taylor. (Those are the only songs fitting for you ladies…my other suggestions were “Cold Hard Bitch” by Jet and “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer. I’m not sure those are up your alley.)

  66. Oh my. The closest IKEA to us when we lived in New York was in Elizabeth and that was always an adventure that left us a little woozy at the end of the day. At least you stopped at the edifying, educational Alexander Hamilton rest area. The Vince Lombardi rest area is where I first learned that there are strange people who will approach you from halfway across the parking lot and try to sell you perfume from the trunk of their car.
    I rilly rilly love your book. I even made a special yarn trip to get Euroflax linen. My husband was disappointed that it wasn’t for the nightie, but now I’ve given him a reason to encourage me to buy more yarn.

  67. Dear Kay and Ann,
    Regarding the “sing-along” songs, may I humbly suggest:
    1.The Logical Song by Supertramp. Very satisfying to sing along to on a road trip with the girls, because every male I know Hates This Song. Hates. I know not why…it’s such a cool song!
    2. Jump by Van Halen. Just heard it on the radio, it’s perfect for staying awake, IMHO.
    3. Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers. You know the words. C’mon. Admit it. You do.

  68. oil pressure is low can’t get it up
    wipers fliud cry me a river, can’t find them!
    hazard move outta the way!
    info help I need help! dropped a stitch!
    gas filler up auto, can’t you see I’m knitting here!

  69. Hello!
    I find it very funny that you mention the Wicked sign on your way to Philly, and you’ve stopped in DC lately too. The reason is that on the DC Beltway, near the Mormon Temple, there is an green overpass, painted a shade of green not unlike the Wicked Witch of the East’s skin. The Mormon Temple is frequently referred to as The Emerald City and some goofball likes to paint ‘Surrender Dorothy’ on the overpass. It’s pretty funny.
    BTW, I followed here from Crazy Lanea. Nice blog!
    mapgirl