Today was another long day in the car. We left Newark, Delaware around 9 AM under a cloudy sky – with the intention of getting to Milford, CT for tonight’s stopover. When I finally got there around 1:30, I decided to give Max a stretch break and keep going to South Deerfield, Massachusetts instead.
Why there? It seemed closer to tomorrow’s destination: Portland, Maine. And there was a Red Roof Inn. On closer observation, I think the driving time is only about a half hour shorter. I did manage to avoid some of that horrendous I-95 traffic today, and will do the same tomorrow for part of the trip.
Of course, part of our drive was the New Jersey Turnpike, the GW Bridge (George Washington Bridge), and the Cross Bronx Expressway! Those probably offset the part of today’s drive that wasn’t I-95!
Jack the GPS guy gave me bad advice on one of the switchovers somewhere in the middle of massive traffic and we ended up on surface streets with him saying: “Recalculating” almost before I had made the end of the exit ramp that he told me to take. We got back on track within a few blocks, but in the process I cursed him and called him an “effing jerk” under my breath (so as to not get Max upset) plus a few other expletives.
As I sit here tonight, I’m feeling melancholy, nostalgic, slightly euphoric, and curious. Our fantastic journey is approaching its end; we’ll be in Portland tomorrow afternoon with my daughter Cindy, son-in-law Jonathan, and granddaughter, Maya. That has me slightly euphoric. I am so looking forward to seeing them after almost four months. Cindy told me today on the phone that Maya has grown four inches! Yikes!
Melancholy because I’ve loved gypsying with Max. We’ve done so many amazing things together – from simple things like playing in dog parks from the Florida Keys to Seattle, to bigger things like seeing the Grand Canyon, walking on the Vegas Strip, coming through a car accident unscathed, and so many others…
Last night, when we went out for our last walk of the night, I heard peepers for the first time this spring! We’ve seen full moons all over this country, sunsets, stars, big storms, and dry crusty landscapes.
Once I got back to the east coast, I realized I missed that dry crusty landscape with its big sky, vast distances to mountains, and the unique colors of the desert southwest. As happy as I was to see familiar eastern trees and landscapes, the great southwest got under my skin in more ways than one. I miss it in my heart… in my mind, I see our street in Silver City, with the sagebrush and piñon covered hillside at the end of the block. I feel the heat, the wind, the sun on my face.
I’ll carry all of it with me for the rest of my life, but I really hope that I can physically go back and spend more time.
And I’m curious about what’s next. I think it’s going to be a hard transition and today, as I drove further north into a not-so-green-and-springy landscape, I seriously thought I should turn around and go back a bit to slow down! But, my homing pigeon instinct won over and we kept on going north.
What will our days be like when we get back home? Max has an internal clock that gets us up around 6:45 AM every day in every time zone, so that will be a given. I feel a strong commitment to getting out and giving him (and me) some exercise, so that’s another given. Beyond that? Three meals for me; two for him. Baths, naps, playtime, work…
And most important: a social life beyond the dog! Well, okay – in addition to the dog. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends, cooking, sharing a glass of wine, stories, laughter. I’ve missed you guys! (Even more than I realized…)
I’m dreading the task of unloading Tumbleweed… It’s one of the things I hate the most about returning from any trip – the unpacking. And Tumbleweed is one big suitcase full of all kinds of things – some of which I’ve forgotten about! It will be part archaeological dig, part reunion, part pure drudgery.
So, our last [hotel] night on the road is a quiet one. I did laundry this afternoon, and Max has decided it makes a good pillow: