So…my sister and I are officially on for the Cross-Country Move Adventure, 2014 Edition. The last edition took place back in 2005, when I moved from Vermont to Fort Collins, Colorado, and involved a tightly packed, highly un-hip minivan and two Siamese cats. This year’s version will not include the cats, so (by way of a proper handicap to even things out) it will take place in a very small lima-bean-colored Volkswagen New Beetle. I’m meeting my sister in Wisconsin at my brother’s wedding (another brother is riding with her that far), and we’ll continue out to Washington State from there.
With this coming up in the near future, I’ve been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past.
The minivan’s odometer rolled past 100,000 the day we set out, on a crisp early April day. As we headed down the hill into town, the row of 9’s caught my eye, and–wanting to savor the moment–we pulled into the empty parking lot at Pettyco Junction just off Route 18 in Saint Johnsbury, and drove in circles for…well, let’s just say it took a lot longer than anticipated to flip over. Goodness knows what any passersby thought of us. And goodness knows what the poor cats thought of this situation.
Many of the most memorable happenings on that trip had to do with the cats. They were pretty good passengers for the most part, but with a quirk or two each. Halvah, for example, would ride on the floor behind the driver’s seat, so long as there was music playing. Vocal music, at that–instrumentals would not do. If the music stopped, she’d start howling in protest. And we had very little music with us. We listened to the radio some of the time, but for a very long stretch through Nebraska and Wyoming, there *were* no radio stations. I think we played the same two CDs (Clint Black, and the Everly Brothers–everything else was packed under a zillion pounds of boxes) for about seven hundred miles, punctuated here and there by protesting yowls whenever we decided to toggle from one CD to the other and Halvah was left with silence for THIRTY WHOLE SECONDS.
And then there was Tam. He was fine in the car, pretty much just drowsed in the back on some folded clothing, no trouble at all. Except. The first night we stopped along the way, Margaret and I were both so exhausted we went to bed early, but soon discovered Tam had been saving up his energy all day. As soon as the lights went out, he turned into the Energizer Siamese. He used us as human trampolines. He ran laps around the room. He climbed up in back of the high-mounted TV (I have pictures of this feat somewhere, to prove it). And throughout all this, he kept up a running dialog, as only a Siamese can.
After that first night, we made a point of playing fetch with the little brat (yes, he retrieves–sometimes) for a good long time every evening when we stopped, so everyone could sleep.
We went through New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio (where, without the aid of GPS, we ended up headed back *east* in rush hour traffic on the outskirts of Columbus, which was NOT FUN). We drove through Indiana, along the Michigan border, and passed through Illinois. We drove through Iowa, where the land flattened out and faraway towns looked like objects viewed across a tabletop. We drove through Nebraska, and a empty corner of Wyoming, where if we set the radio to scan, it continued scanning forever. We stopped at a McDonald’s there, and complete strangers, apparently eager for any outside contact, asked us our life stories and life plans: a bit startling to a couple of gals from Vermont, where sometimes it takes a generation or two to fit in and be acknowledged…..
And finally, with the Rockies to guide us, we arrived in Fort Collins, and met up with my friend and new roommate, who had already been patiently dealing with boxes of my books arriving on her doorstep. Oh, the relief of having a stopping point!
It was a blast of a trip, for the most part. And I couldn’t have asked for a better traveling companion. It’ll be interesting to see what memories come out of this new trip, and what new challenges we have to meet. We’re older, yes, but are we wiser? Only time will tell.