So our west coast adventure is about done and we're winding down, making preparations for the trip home. Back in August, I drove out here and Mr. Sandy flew with the girls. In two weeks I'll fly home with them and a friend will join him to drive the car back.
Though I'm eager to be home sweet home as soon as possible, I'd happily do the drive again. I had such a great time on the way out here. People kept asking if it wouldn't seem less daunting to have a companion along, but I was frankly craving the time alone.
I get so excited for a long road trip! I love to drive, which helps, but beyond that, I often get itchy to see... well, anything different. Where does that road go? What's around that bend? on the other side of those hills? down that valley? What would happen if I turned? kept going? pointed the car west and just didn't stop? Nothing scratches that itch like a drive across a continent. Wheee!
I figured on day 1 I'd get as far into Pennsylvania as I could manage, with a midday stop to see friends in New Jersey.
Now, it doesn't matter if New Jersey is the end of the line, or just the first of many stops in a heady adventure leading all the way to the glorious Oregon coast -- there's no getting around that unlovely bit of I-95 S through Connecticut (the unlovely bits of I-84 through Connecticut are arguably not progress). So I was about 40 minutes into my journey before I was tempted to flip off another driver. This was a BMW driver from New York. I had been driving almost 55 minutes before I was tempted to flip off another other driver. This was also a BMW driver from New York.
Ah, the lure of the open road.
But really... really. There is nothing like crossing the great, gorgeous, rolling American prairie for hours upon hours, and seeing a towering, snow-capped mountain range come into focus out of the far horizon's gray haze. My first strained view of the Beartooth escarpment from the ranch lands of eastern Wyoming brought tears to my eyes. (See, I can't have anyone along for something like that. I have my curmudgeonly reputation to uphold.) What must that sight have felt like from horseback or covered wagon? I just can't get my mind around it. I'm sure many a pioneer diary just left off at the 19th century equivalent of "ho-ly shit."
For the return trip though, it's my turn to fly. That'll be OK. I'll get back sooner, I won't have to cross the Rockies in winter weather, and it will be really fun to see the girls rediscover their own home, which they've missed so much. Maybe they'll be so delighted to see what toys they've forgotten that I can avoid Christmas shopping altogether. Now that would suit my curmudgeonly reputation just fine.
(Oh don't worry, I'll get them Christmas presents. I'm not that big of a Grinch. Yet.)