Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Best Road Trip, Ever

"Mama, don't you want to come with me?"

I'd offered to cover all the expenses if SIR, then merely her best friend, would drive with her from IU to Marin.  Her new-used-car had to get back to California, and he was a better mechanic than I was.  Plus, he was there, in Bloomington.

"But, Mama, don't YOU want to come with me?" 

And so I flew to Indianapolis, landed near midnight, checked into the airport Marriott and tried to sleep.  Little Cuter packed herself up and met me the next morning at the hotel..... and once we managed to get out of the parking lot (lost before we started!) we were off.  

My job was simple - take a photo of every Welcome to (Insert State Name Here)! sign.  I managed to get Illinois and Iowa and Wyoming, but we stopped for those.  The rest I missed, fumbling uselessly with her Canon.  This was 2005; cell phones were telephones not cameras and computers back then.  Her little SLR was more than I could successfully manage, aiming through an open sunroof, trying to frame it perfectly, and, more often than not, failing spectacularly.  

Illinois to Iowa, where Little Cuter got locked in the bathroom and had to be bludgeoned out by a maintenance worker with the world's biggest hammer.  Passing an open Adult Bookstore in an otherwise shuttered outlet mall on Mother's Day, trying to find something to do (and failing) in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, running into two of her classmates at a random gas station in Cheyenne, Wyoming..... the little things were our Big Events each day.  

I drove in the morning, she drove after lunch.  She held onto the keys.  We all have our strengths.

I called ahead for reservations ("Hello, Chamber of Commerce.  What's the newest hotel along I-80 in your town?)  We stayed in chain motels that still smelled of fresh paint, the first ones in newly finished rooms.  We wandered around the University of Wyoming and an Ace Hardware in Laramie - it was the only thing open on that Monday evening in May.  

And then there was Salt Lake.  Speeding down the mountain, 8-lanes-in-each-direction, everyone racing home after work on a Tuesday, needing to be there immediately, ignoring the speed limit, passing our little Honda with impunity, me behind the wheel begging my map-impaired child to figure out where to get off the highway.  It was terrifying.  My thighs were sweating.  

Our reward was a fancy Marriott downtown.  The problem was getting there.  No Left Turn.  No Right Turn.  No U Turn.  We were not in the mood for Salt Lake City that afternoon.  Finally arriving, valet parking the car, checking in, Little Cuter headed for the shower.  Her hair in a fluffy towel, her body wrapped in a luscious bathrobe, she plunked herself on the bed with the tv remote in one hand and the phone in the other.  While I worked out in the fabulous gym, my daughter struck up a close personal relationship with the Room Service Order Taker.

The next day started out bright and sunny, until it began to snow.  Visibility was next to zero.  We were dressed for May - flipflops and shorts.  Crossing a mountain pass in a blizzard was no fun at all; we hunkered down in a gas-station-cum-diner until the worst had passed.  Then it was off through Nevada's miles and miles of nothingness to our final stop - the Resort at Squaw Creek, in Tahoe.

We were just a few hours from home, but we deserved pampering.  A candlelit dinner with white tablecloths and pressed napkins, massages, clean mountain air and tall, deep green trees - we were back in California at last.  We zoomed, stopped for lunch at an outdoor cafe and met the motorcyclists we'd been following down the mountain, with their tiny chihuahua in an even tinier cut-off t-shirt.  

Then we were home.  2,358 miles.  7 states.  4 nights.  5 days.  0 arguments.

That's right. 0 arguments.  No grumbling, no snark, no pouting.  Just two people in a car, moseying across America.  

1 comment:

  1. I might have been brave enough to do this 13 years ago. I don't think I would do that now, though. I'm not as brave as I once was.


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