Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Road trip reflections

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.)


  1. I-84 completely concur. Hartford section is like the place where all highway engineers got their start. Learn from your mistakes here.

    BMWs --only assholes drive BMWs--proven scientifically

    Or how are BMWs unlike porcupines, the porcupines have their pricks on the outside.

    Enjoy your trip. Welcome home, Godspeed. Now I gotta change the oil on the car, cause I feel a road trip coming up.

  2. Delighted with the blog! Good to know that after all these years, you still sound like you.

    Very happy to re-make your acquaintance on Facebook. The West Coast adventure seemed to fly by, especially since I've personally known about it for approximately six weeks. Best wishes for your renewal of vows with your newly augmented house.

    Curious, though, as to exactly who the co-worker in Brattleboro was...rh