Posts Tagged ‘road trips’

I haven’t written in a while. Truth be known, life just wouldn’t allow room for it. I miss it when I can’t fill a page or two on my blog. It’s been part of my life for nearly a decade now, and I’ve become accustomed to leaving a few words on the page for people kind enough to stop by and read them.

Two weeks ago, my son got married. Not only did I gain a new, and extraordinarily lovely new daughter-in-law, but she brought into our expanding band of ne’er do wells, three children to add to my list at Christmas time. Most exciting. The wedding was beautiful. It was held outside in their lovely, and very spacious back yard, witnessed by a hundred or so of their close friends and family. Vows were exchanged under the three hundred year old oak tree dominating the side yard, and was presided over by the bride’s father who holds down a side gig as a minister. Done and done. Another chapter opens up in our family history. Interesting how life at times seems to write itself.

I drove down and back to the Bay Area solo. This was not in the least a hardship for me. There is something so exhilarating about careening down the highway on a beautiful day, music playing, and the window slightly ajar to allow the breeze in to catch up your hair. As I’ve said many times, I think I was born to be a wanderer. Perhaps in a former life I was part of a nomadic band of souls who moved from place to place making their home wherever they found themselves on any given day. Even now, with my beautiful little house to keep me safe and warm, the thought of moving on slips into my thoughts now and again.

My feet hit the ground running once the wedding was complete. Back in my own territory, before I could draw a single deep relaxing breath, I was reminded I had signed up to attend my first play in twenty years with my friend, Richard the day after I arrived home. The play, based on the planes forced to land unexpectedly in Newfoundland when 9/11 was taking place, was very entertaining and quite funny considering the subject matter. It was performed in front of a packed house. Our seats were located pretty much in the center seats in the middle rows of the lower tier. Richard and I didn’t get dressed as if we were attending the coronation, but we did make an effort to look as though we hadn’t rolled out of bed five minutes before we’d arrived at the performing arts center. This was not true of fifty percent of the people occupying the remaining seats. There was a time when women dragged out their glitter and bling for a night at the theater, but honestly I don’t think people find an occasion to get dressed up much anymore. Do they even have a market for nylons these days? I really don’t know. Back in my grandmother’s day getting dressed for an evening out was a production. Nylons weren’t free flowing back in her day. They were attached by clips to girdles. Horrible inventions those. It was like wrapping a rubber band around a round of soft cheese, everything loose and gooey relocated either above or below the band itself like a muffin top on steroids. I guess the current answer to girdles might be Spandex without the clips. Then after you’d gotten yourself fully assembled, you had to pull on gloves and a hat before leaving the house. I fear my grandmother would be confused at how casual we have become these days. The other day I saw a young girl walking into a high school campus. She was wearing Daisy Duke shorts, fishnet hose, and a shirt so tight I felt perhaps she might be going to shed it the summer rather than throw it in the laundry bin when she got home. The most impressive part of “the look” however was the makeup. I hope she gets it at a bulk rate. The eyelashes covering her upper lids, if fanned, could have cooled a dozen people simulanteously on a hot day. Had I gone to school dressed like that when I was her age they wouldn’t even have let me on campus. Things change, we have to change with them. I remember my mother being appalled when I showed up in bell bottom pants and a fringed jacket. Each generation brings their own style to the table, generally to the chagrin of the one preceding it. I wonder if Amazon has fishnets in my size?

There really aren’t many dress up venues left. I can hardly remember the last time I saw a man in a suit, other than at my son’s wedding, and then only on the participants. Most of the attendees were semi-casual, with some in jeans and a shirt.

Vegas used to be a place where men took in a show suit and tie in place, but that too is long past. The last time I went to a show on the strip was in the 90’s. Sigfried and Roy were appearing. It was a sold out show, and we were packed into the showroom tighter than olives in a jar. The man sitting next to me was sporting well-loved flip flops on his feet. On his person, he wore cargo shorts accessorized by a tee shirt that read, “Honorary Member of the Las Vegas Drinking Team”.  I remember him specifically because he was sucking up beer as though there might be a shortage of the lager about to occur at any moment. After each generous gulp, he would then belch loudly and go “AHHHHHH” as if a signal to his stomach to make room for the next installment.

At any rate, dressed or not, the audience seemed to appreciate the theater production along with us, so it was a nice evening in spite of how tired I had felt when it began. Thankfully, the earlier scenario I had in my mind picturing me, head thrown back snoring like a drunken sailor, drool oozing down the side of my chin, never materialized, so for now my image remains untarnished.

The play behind me, the next thing written on my calendar was “VACATION”. Yay! Richard arrived after work last Saturday, towing his fifth wheel and his boat, to take me on an adventure in Plumas County on Lake Davis. Fun and more fun. I have camped many times in my life. I am beyond the “Let’s put up a tent, toss a blanket on the ground, and throw me on top of it” stage for sure. Been there, done that. Anyone who tells you they enjoy sleeping on a rocky expanse of real estate is either a liar or intoxicated. There is no other option. Even when I was a kid, I ended up walking like a ninety year old arthritic man after a night of roughing it in the woods. No way now, and no how. Over the years I’ve come to accept I like my creature comforts. As it is I don’t sleep well in my lovely comfortable bed, lying on a floor of rocks surely isn’t going to improve the situation.

So, for today I am off to work. I will fill you in on my Lake Plumas adventures in the next installment. Happy weekend to you!!

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Need and want are interesting qualifiers. Since I’m home more than not of late, I find my mind enjoys a little word play now and again. I need air to live, for example. I want to win the lottery (from my lips to your ears). I don’t want an obscene amount of money mind you, just enough to allow me a little latitude when it comes to fulfilling some of the items on my bucket list. Too much money can be both a blessing and a curse. If it brought you undying happiness why is it so many privileged people find themselves unfulfilled and unhappy? Truth is, I have had lots of money and no money in my lifetime and haven’t found that having a well padded bank account contributed to my happiness significantly except for the freedom it provides. When I was young I was never in pursuit of great wealth. I didn’t marry for money any of the four times, and this is well reflected in my present financial state; not on the street, but certainly not on my way to total solvency either. Have I done anything myself to earn large sums of money? Nope. Do I wish I had lots of zeroes behind the numbers in my bank account? At times.  Not because I have my eye on a red Ferrari or there’s a Coach handbag I’ve been admiring. That answer, would be only because I would love to have the freedom to travel, and financial stability allows you room for that. After seeing to my family’s welfare and world peace, of course (thank you Miss Universe), if suddenly independently wealthy most likely I would rarely be home. Rather you would find me sipping ouzo on a lovely patio in Greece, cruising down the Danube, or exploring the Chichen Itza ruins. Ahhhhh, what lovely thoughts on this Covid-19 driven Monday.


Boo, of course, would have to accompany me. Though she believes she runs this saloon, in truth when it comes to what we do and where we go it is I holding the wallet with the credit cards not she. Perhaps she would ride on the plane with me as my support animal. God knows she qualifies. Knowing Boo she would want to be in First Class. It would be nice to travel first class for a change, rather than in steerage like I usually do. I have only flown first class once, and business class twice. Each time it was a luxury to have both elbow and leg room to spare. The airlines are squeezing you in so tight these days it can actually be hazardous to your health. The only time I flew first class was to Hawaii in 1983. Such a treat. Now, from what understand first class passengers have pods for sleeping and other amenities reserved for the rich and famous, but even back then the perks were obvious from the moment you sat your behind in your comfy, roomy seat. In tourist waving down a flight attendant is like finding a sales clerk in Kmart. I remember once in Kmart after actually locating someone who worked there, I inquired as to where I might find the candles. His response, “In the candle department, I believe.” All that in-store sales training really paid off.

In coach when flying if you need immediate help your heart attack will simply have to wait until your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and your seat belt is correctly fastened and the guy in the window seat has made it back from the bathroom. In first class if you as much as crook your finger a flight attendant appears like magic at your aisle offering you a refill for your drink, a glistening smile, and another pound bag of nuts. On the flight to Hawaii where I flew first class they actually sliced delicious slabs of perfectly cooked prime rib at the aisle, served with a twice baked potato and fresh asparagus with Hollandaise sauce on a real plate. So far superior to the unidentified meat in a plastic tray you are treated to in coach. Whoa. You pay for the prime rib several times over when you consider the difference in price between coach and first class so perhaps in the end you’d be better served to cook one at home and pack yourself a sandwich.

When this pandemic allows for activities beyond my front door a road trip is planned with a friend to Montana. I have been through, lived in, or visited a good majority of the United States. Montana, is not one of them. I’ve been close by, having driven through Wyoming. Beautiful. I’ve got a friend in the Boise area and have cruised as far north as Priest Lake in Idaho which is close to the Canadian border. I’ve passed through Nebraska, but missed the Dakotas and generally visited most everything south east of Montana at one time or another. If not for the virus holding us captive I think it would be fun to take an extended road trip and cover the spots I’ve not seen yet. For example, I’ve been to Phoenix numerous times, and seen Sedona, but I have yet to take in the majesty of the Grand Canyon nor have I had a glimpse of “The Thing” much advertised on Interstate 10 as a tourist attraction not to be missed.

When I was small, I lived in my maternal grandparents house from just after my first birthday until nearly nine. My mother and I went to live with them when my father died unexpectedly at twenty-five. My grandmother, a lovely and accomplished woman in so many ways, never drove a car. For someone who never took the wheel, she thoroughly enjoyed being in the car when someone else did. Many weekends during my childhood were spent on the back roads of Nova Scotia exploring all the wonderful sights to be seen in that beautiful part of Eastern Canada. Often we took a day trip down the Cabot Trail, a must see if you are in the area or would stop for some fabulous seafood at one of the many restaurants littering the picturesque outer areas of the province. Always I loved those trips. The window would be half open and untethered by seatbelts as we were in those days, my nose would at the top of the glass taking in all the images whizzing by as we drove along.


My first long road trip was from Nova Scotia to California with my mother and my recently acquired step-father in the summer of my ninth year. Our transportation was a shiny new Buick sedan of which I took up one half of the rear seat. With nothing pressing to get us to Santa Ana and my new “father’s” first day on the job still a month away we stopped often on our route.  In Chicago we began our southwestern trajectory on Route 66. I believe we ate at every Howard Johnson’s along the way. Never heard a complaint from me. They had 28 flavors of ice cream and as a chubby little girl my goal was to sample every flavor. In New Mexico we visited the Carlsbad Caverns. All these years later I can still picture those eerie caves with the beautiful formations. Funny how some experiences imprint themselves on your mind. The painted desert was also on our playlist, as was Las Vegas. Never having seen a desert nor a cactus (Nova Scotia is not known for either) my nine year old brain was like a porous sponge soaking up all these new and fascinating visual experiences.


Some of us choose to remain close to home on our life’s journey. For me, there has always been the urge to see what lingers just beyond the rise of the hill. As I get older it sometimes feel my world has gotten smaller, but still if given the opportunity to cruise over the crest of the ridge again straddling the back of a Harley, I know I would grab it in a second without hesitation.

Aging is just another crossroad on our journey, one more experience to be embraced. If lucky, we are all going to get a little ripe around the edges and the best way to approach it, for me at least, is to make it yet into another adventure. There is no guarantees at any age how many years a person will continue to inhabit this earth, so with that in mind I feel deeply the importance of living fully each and every day. Make it a good one.

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