On the road again
I’ll never get back on those roads again
The life I love is not being squeezed between two
semis speeding 80 around the bend
So, I’ll never get back on those roads again.
On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things I never want to see again
Like the outskirts of Memphis and all of Little Rock,
Yes, I’ll never get back on those pot-holed roads again.
One word, everybody — INFRASTRUCTURE!
And the best part of my 2,200-mile drive through the states? I don’t have to do it again! Seriously, though, when all was said and the task of driving was done, it was a fantastic, rewarding experience. Do you know why it was so fantastic and rewarding? Because I did it, I have the memories, it’s a dubious feather in my cap, and most of all, I don’t have to do it again. Yay!
Here’s the deal I presented to myself back in March — Lorraine, you can either drive a small SUV to Laredo, Texas, with your dog, Pearl, and hire movers to move your stuff all the way to San Miguel de Allende from the Vineyard, or save loads of money by renting a Penske truck (which was cheaper than a car) and drive all your belongings to the mover’s warehouse in Laredo yourself. Well, duh, hands down, I took the Penske truck deal.
By the way, flying was out of the question. I would never in a billion (million is such an obsolete number these days) years dream of putting Pearl on a plane. She’s my bud and I love her. I just could not imagine starting out my new life by accidentally killing my dog. No sirree, we were going to drive it.
I sincerely became fond of my 12-foot Penske truck, and felt safe in her. It was home to Pearl, Agatha (my vintage mannequin), and myself for 8 days, and we made the best of it. While Pearl and I rested up in our La Quinta room every night, Agatha stood (actually sat) watch all night in the cab of the truck with her “It’s the Planet, Stupid” tee shirt and “Vote Blue” hat on. She was one cool, stoned-faced lady, and no one bothered her. A guy at a gas station in Tennessee actually waved and said hi to Agatha — I’m not kidding. After he realized what he’d done, he and I had a good laugh. Many times, out of the corner of my eye, I’d see this human-like form and flinch — an easy thing to do when you are in “the zone” of driving long distance and your passenger is a for-real dummy.
The Hairiest and Quickest Decision Award goes to my changing course and getting out of the path of Hurricane Ida. I was in Huntsville, Alabama, my hometown, visiting friends and waiting for my Vineyard friend and neighbor Deborah Medders to fly in and drive to Laredo with us (she ended up flying to San Antonio, Texas, instead). After watching the news the first night in Huntsville, I made a snap decision to get the hell out of Alabama, and to take not the southern but the northern route, which would get me out of Ida’s path. The next morning, crack of dawn, I went north to Memphis, then over to Little Rock, and then down through Texas the next day. It turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.
It was a sad day for the three of us when I had to take Agatha’s torso and arms apart in the San Antonio La Quinta’s parking lot and relegate her to the back of the truck with the rest of her body. This new passenger-seat rearrangement was to make room for Deborah, who was finally able to fly in, take over Agatha’s spot, then ride with us as far as Laredo. Once a passenger, Deborah promptly messed with our ETA by needing pee stops and junk to eat — something Agatha did not require. But at least she provided another pair of eyes that actually worked, and those eyes became very helpful on several occasions.
Focused and intense are the two words that describe my mindset on the 2,200-mile trip. But that was the part of the road trip when I drove. Terrified and possibly dead soon was the mindset I had for the 550 miles through Mexico, when my hands were not on the steering wheel — Ian the Terrible Driver’s were. Ian was the hired American driver who lived in SMA and occasionally drove people and their pets from Laredo to San Miguel or visa versa. He was a reckless, texting speed freak which lasted about ten minutes because I laid down the law and the law won! It was still extremely scary but anyway, as you see, I lived to tell the tale. Thank the Lord!
All and all, I would not trade my road trip for anything in the world except maybe a big pile of money. And you know what? If my almost seventy-year-old self could tell my nineteen/twenty-year-old self, who used to drive across country every couple of years, that I would be doing the same thing for more serious reasons fifty years later, I bet my nineteen/twenty-year-old self would say, “Hot damn, getting old must not be so bad!”
Next up: A Stranger in a Strange Land.