Road Trip – Part 1

Let’s begin with The End, okay? We made it to North Carolina and we are here in one piece and a little startled to find We Live Here Now. But it’s only been 3 days, so give us some time.

To the left you will see a picture of our car, outside of our former apartment the morning we left Portland. I wish it was a close-up so you could see how entirely Hillybilly’ish the back of the car looked – stuffed to the gills with all the leftover stuff you find yourself with after the bags and boxes have been packed, things you probably don’t need exactly but don’t want to throw away either and that don’t have a natural place to put them: guitar straps, shoe polish, pillow slips, etc. Also, enough clothes to last us a month. And food. And some kitchen stuff and a quilt and pillows and an airbed and all our cleaning supplies…you get the idea. It was a mess. Look at the top of the car – there is a hastily strapped on storage container that only our good thoughts and about 18 bungee cords kept on top of our car. And look on the back – a bike rack holding Sergio’s sensible modern mountain bike and what’s this? My rusty Red ancient Schwinn with two flat tires? Who would drag that across the country, bouncing perilously with each pothole? The morning we left ( a day later than scheduled, exhausted and sore with seriously dishpan hands from all the scrubbing) we installed the bike rack for the first time and discovered that modern bike racks don’t take into account the gloriously curved crossbars of 60’s era purple Schwinn Hollywood’s with streamers and I had to leave my bike behind in the custody of a kind neighbor. A few tears were shed, let me tell you. Perhaps it is the universe’s way of telling me to finally get that Euro-style commuter bike I’ve been pining after for years now. We also had to leave behind our vacuum and our beloved yellow kitchen step-stool thingy that I hope to replace, along with the rest of our shed furniture.

Anyway! We were on the road, creaking along in our heavy and hot car. Oregon is beautiful but long. Idaho is not beautiful and long. We hit the final stretch of Idaho, a barren and dark road of over 120 miles, with very little gas and a raging forest fire glowing eerily on the horizon. Things improved little in Utah, where the first 7 hotels we hit, many miles apart, had No Vacancy. Finally we found a very fancy Best Western and 6 or so hours later, we were on the road again.

Southern Utah, usually so beautiful with the mountains and the rock formations, was blanketed in smoke from forest fires. It was terribly, terribly hot in the desert. And there was endless stretches of road work, where we had to wait in long lines in the baking sun to follow the pilot car at ten miles an hour. We had never truly tested our cars AC ability and it turns out it doesn’t work so well when a) it’s too hot and b) idling in a road work line. Too bad for us! Thankfully Colorado doesn’t have as much money to spend on road improvement and the construction ended right at the border.

In New Mexico, we headed straight for a Green Chile Cheeseburger at Blake’s Lottaburger (Actual slogan: “If you are what you eat, you are awesome”) and on to a quick sleep at Sergio’s parents deserted house, as they were on vacation themselves. Later, a concerned neighbor would report to Mr. Chavez that ” a strange bearded man had been seen going in and out”. I would hope an actual robber would choose a far less conspicuous get-away-car than our swaybacked Subaru, but it’s nice to know that Neighborhood Watch is alive and well. The next morning kind friends (Hi Nick and Amy!) and family (Hi Grandma and Patsy!) rose at the crack of dawn to watch us eat breakfast (for me, cheese enchiladas with green chile at The Frontier, likely my most favorite meal, ever). And so, on to Dallas.

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