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Reckless on the Road: Part 4

5 Mar

Day 4: Yukon, Oklahoma to TEMPE, ARIZONA! – 940miles

States: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona

Last leg of the journey, it feels kind of cathartic. I think I needed to drive and for it to be hard. I needed to have to make a definite and absolute decision and wash away all though of return. I needed the time to come to terms with that choice and to fully embrace the life I was walking into. I feel I have taken my spirit walk into the bush and come out the other side standing taller and full of purpose.

With that said, the drivers out here are worse than the drivers back home and I want to make them all retake drivers ed. I mean constantly as I am clearly going a constant speed, coming up to a truck or other vehicle in front of me clearly going a slower speed and some ass hole in the left lane will sit in my corner just close enough to box me in. It drives me NUTS!

But other than that the drive has been nice. It’s amazing watching the scenery change and adapt, morph into different terrains and become something new. Not only that but there is clearly a different way of living out here. Giant roaming ranches, tiny shanty towns, sporadic “metropolitan” areas. All along route 66 we kept seeing tiny strips that are clearly from the hay day when 66 was the mode of travel in the west, but now have become run down pit stops like the town in Disney’s Cars since I40 was built. I can’t imagine growing up with so much space. I keep imagining life as depicted in the movies, but clearly the reality must be vastly different. I constantly have been asking myself what they do for work, what they do for fun, where they shop for groceries, and so on. It’s fascinating.

The end of the journey is always the longest and I must say I am happy to be here and start getting settled. Its going to be odd living with LP at first I think and I don’t think my brain has fully registered I’m not going back to Massachusetts yet, but here goes. Now lets just hope I get a job soon…and a car.

Side story, out of all the years I have been driving in New England, so all of them, I have never once even come close to hitting an animal. See deer all the time, even got a glimps at a family of moose one time, but never have I hit one. Tonight, after crossing into Arizona, I literally came within inches to taking out a young elk. WTF.

 

Afterward from Tapas:

I think I’m happy we’re out of the car. Much safer inside.

Reckless on the Road: Part 3

4 Mar

Day 3: Gallipopolis, OH to Yukon, Oaklahoma – 1,007miles

States: Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oaklahoma

 

When I was in high school I had a major crush on the Assistant Pastor’s son at the Nazarene church I was involved with. PK was very metrosexual, although I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but he was funny, friendly, and well, I guess back then that’s really all it took. We were friends, but really the only legitimate connection I had to him was the fact that my parents were friends with his parents so we all got together often and I was able to construct a nice little fantasy world where there was more between us than in reality there ever would be.

Anyway, the whole reason I just told that story is because that is the family we stayed with in Ohio. I didn’t actually get to see PK, he’s married now and lives on the other side of the state, but PK had an annoying little brother who was always hanging around, Spencer.

You know when you don’t see someone for a while, but you still expect to see the same brat you remember, but then you are surprised that it’s a handsome young man standing in front of you instead? Yeah. I honestly couldn’t remember our age difference at first because I desperately wanted him to not be so much younger than me that it was gross I found him aesthetically pleasing. Turns out he’s 22 now and that is a comfortable three year gap.

Stayed up way too late catching up with him, but it was definitely worth it. Who knows maybe our new facebook friendship will turn into something fun (you know I’m kidding right?).

I say stayed up too late because dad woke me up at the crack of dawn today and proceeded to inform me that the new plan was to see if we could drive the rest of the almost 2000 mile trip straight through. Don’t get me wrong, I have regained my adventurous spirit, I just wish I had slept more than 6 hours. PS Clearly this didn’t actually end up happening and I am currently hotelling it up in the middle of Oaklahoma.

It took us a while to escape the mountains and the snow persisted the entire time we were amidst the hills, but once we got to the other side, the sun made an appearance and warmed up my long frozen limbs. Note to self, next time don’t just pack for your end destination.

It was somewhere in the middle of Kentucky I started noticing the scenery begin to transform and for the first time I really felt like I was out of New England. Dad and I had been switching off driving and I hate the passenger seat. I don’t like not having control. I get antsy. To distract myself, I started writing down fun things you would never see in New England!:

*Possum Junction, Indiana

*Santa Claus, Indiana

*Amish Buffet

*Poseyville, Indiana

*Illinois = “The Land of Lincoln”

*Oil pumps in the middle of the field

*Burnt Prairie, Illinois

*We stopped in St. Lois to get gas and use the bathroom. Dad found a meth spoon in the McDonalds bathroom.

*AH! (I added the !) 1 mile – and other roads only labeled by letters

*Jesse James hide out and wax museum

*Route 66

*Springfield, Home of the Simpsons? “Wait, I thought that was in Ohio”

*Speed Limit 75 MPH!!!

*Cherokee nation

 

Afterword by Tapas:

Tapas “I don’t bark I jingle”

Dad “That’s because you have a penis”

Reckless on the Road: Part 2

2 Mar

Day 2: Morgantown, West Virginia to Gallipolis, Ohio – 172miles

States: West Virginia, Ohio

I don’t think I am ever meant to get a car not out of necessity. After an extremely trying morning the decision was made to say good-bye to my faithful little whore of a car and make the rest of the journey without her. The garage couldn’t even look at the full damage, but the likelihood that it was not going to be expensive and time consuming was miniscule.

After much debate, frustration, and scrambling, we rented a car, transferred all of my things between the two, and decided to continue on to yesterday’s intended final destination to regroup and save money on a hotel. Ironically enough, the rental is also an Aveo.

I had intended to simply leave her behind and count it as a loss, but good old Toga jumped to the rescue. He had mentioned wanting to buy it off me if I got a new car before I left, and although the option seemed a feasible idea, I decided to take a risk instead to avoid a car payment just yet. Even with the engine possibly in shambles, however, he still wanted to try his hand at her. Feeling too guilty to actually ask for anything in advance, the deal is that he and I will flatbed it to Vermont where he will fix it himself (he loves his little side projects). Once she is good as new he is going to sell it, subtract the cost of parts and we’ll split the profit 70/30 instead of figuring out what labor would cost.

For being desperate, I find this an excellent plan and everyone wins. This leaves me in search of not only a new job now, but also a new car. FUN TIMES!

I was despairing this morning, but now that the decision is made I am doing my best to stay positive. Really, that’s all you can do when shit hits the fan.

Panic

Cry…a lot

Make a decision

Suck it up and make the best out of what’s left

I can’t tell if this process would have been harder or easier without my dad here with me. I think if he hadn’t been I would definitely be a lot more broke, but also more decisive. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than thankful to have such a supportive and caring father, he’s my world and the other likelihood is that I would have never left that hotel room and drowned myself in the tub.

Of course with the good comes the bad. The challenge of having my car explode is surmountable, but the challenge my mother has posed is an entirely different matter. She was against me moving from the start, and as the day grew closer and closer, her insistence that I was being irresponsible and stupid (her word) grew stronger and stronger. The car may very well be the last straw in our relationship and I find it difficult to believe we’ll even be able to speak again until I am settled and stable. I find this unfortunate, but there will always be people to stand in the way of progress. Her intensions may be well met, but I can’t have her negativity in my life when my strength is at best tenuous.

This move at its heart is about starting over. Turning the page and starting a new story. The past will always remain as a foundation, and a safe haven if ever I need it, but this journey is so much bigger than the life I’m leaving behind. The pain it takes to get there is the price and the ones that love me the most will understand and remain a part of the story. I have to believe that everything happens exactly the way that it should, there is a plan even greater than mine, and my only job is to play my role.

Tonight we’re staying with those family friends I mentioned and I am so excited to catch up with them and hear their story instead of remaining wrapped up in my own. I am thankful for the kindness of those who, even when not still prominent in our lives, are there to support and harbor us in times of need.

Afterward by Tapas:

I like this red thing, its so much bigger than the orange thing. They let me ride in the back today and that was a lot more fun. Bet they didn’t see the present I left for them!

 

R.I.P

Skittles

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October 2009-March 2, 2013

Reckless on the Road: Part 1

2 Mar

A few posts ago I announced this little New England girl was moving across the country to the wild west, aka Arizona. Yesterday the movers came and hauled most of my things out of my little apartment in Salem, MA and will safely carry it to my new place in Tempe leaving me and my dad to load the rest of it into my, up to that point, sturdy but compact Chevy Aveo. That was a whole ordeal in itself, but I don’t feel like reliving it. It felt somewhat like this:

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Needless to say, I got a really good work out in that day. I spent the night at my parents’ house since my dad was making the drive with me and the plan was to get an early start today. Considering we didn’t get back until close to 1am, this morning started later than intended.

Sign 1 things might not go smoothly: the ENTIRE PLAN is thrown off on the first step.

Well I guess the first step would have been packing, which although slow, went smoothly enough. Wednesday was devote to it and pretty successful if I do say so myself and then the Mormon boy I’ve been fooling around with came over to help finish up. Although all he really did to help was move a table, but he was fairly motivating.

Anyway, skipping that entire side story for the time being. Back to today.

Day 1: Uxbridge, MA to Morgantown, WV – 600ish miles

States: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia

After running a few last minute errands, my dad and I were on the road before noon, snacks at the ready and energy drinks under the seat. I could even almost see out my back window!

The plan was to breeze through to Gallipolis, Ohio and stay with old family friends for the night. Up until about 175 miles before our destination, it was smooth sailing. I drove so we were making great time, we only had to stop a couple times for gas/food/bathroom, and traffic was pretty cooperative. Then I heard the noise. It was a weird scrapey/whooshy noise that last for maybe 30 seconds and went away. We brushed it off assuming it was something else…until it happened again. I pulled over and honestly I thought maybe something had gotten wrapped up into one of the tires. Popping the hood revealed nothing, but then the bitch wouldn’t start.

If I hadn’t been riding with my father any number of obscenities would have been streaming from my mouth, but not only did he keep my bad habits in check, he called AAA and pretty much took care of the whole situation. I am a spoiled princess and in times like this you have no idea how much I don’t care if you judge me for it.

Unplanned as it was, we managed, and I have to say people in West Virginia are really nice. We got towed to a garage who will take a look at it in the morning and since its where the tow truck came from, didn’t have to pay for the tow. The hotel we wound up at is in walking distance from the shop and gave a nice deal since I came in first and told a great sob story. The room itself is actually pretty swanky AND there’s a bar downstairs.

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LP reminded me earlier, maybe yesterday actually at this point, that everything happens for a reason. Until they tell me my car is dead and never coming back, I am thinking positive and looking at the bright side of things. This could have been A LOT worse.

For now let me leave you with a highlight real from the day:

*Quote from the radio: “People who aren’t scared, aren’t about to do anything interesting.”

*Tapas: best driving companion ever. He is a plastic piggy bank that looks like a pug and has a small penis. The dog walking company I worked for got him for me as a going away present and he has been an indispensable member of our traveling party.

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*Learn something new: How to spell Poughkeepsie

*Dad and I have very different tastes in music, but we found a common ground on classic rock which has become the soundtrack to this particular road trip.

*Dad: “I’m kind of glad Krispy Kremes didn’t make it up here. I’ve always thought of it as a southern thing and New Englanders have stolen all the other good ones: pecan pie…cotton…”

*In Unison: “BORN TO BE WILD!” then cracking up laughing

*We passed by signs for Turkey Hill a few times and every time I was reminded of Turkey Hill ice cream, but dad was confused why the sign kept making me think of ice cream. Until we had the best idea ever: Turkey ice cream. If weird things can be bacon flavored, why not turkey? I mean bacon can’t have the only hold on the market. We’ll start with ice cream and build an empire!

*We stopped at a rest stop in PA and not only was the Dunkin Donuts self serves, but we got a free joke with purchase.

You’re alone in a boat in the middle of a lake. The ONLY thing you have in the boat is a pack of cigarettes. How do you light your cigarette?

Open the pack, throw one into the lake. The boat becomes one cigarette lighter. BAHAHAHA

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*My car hates hills, and Maryland is full of them. (I’m blaming them for current circumstances)

*It never fails that there is never a bathroom when you need one most.

*When its dark and you break down in the middle of nowhere, there will inevitably be an ominous barn nearby…DON’T think of the Chain Saw Massacre! DO have Solitaire ready and waiting.

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Afterward by Tapas:

Adventure time!! I’ve seen so many things today and they even fed me some nice road snacks. I do wish they would stop making fun of my little penis. Its not really my fault after all. I can’t wait to see the humans tomorrow, I think they forgot me in the car. Oh well, good thing I can’t feel the cold!

The Marriage of Moving

26 Jan

Moving is like getting married. Before the proposal you get confused, so many questions run through your mind over and over. Is this the right time? Am I choosing the right one? Should I wait for something better? Am I financially stable enough? What about my family? My friends? And so many others. Then its time, THE question is asked and there is no other answer to give, but yes or no.

You hover somewhere between panic and the thrilling sense of adventure, nerves tingling, head buzzing with all the things you have spent way too much time contemplating in a haze of deliberation. It feels like it takes an eternity, but in reality, the answer escapes you in a flash, based on a culmination of heart and logic. Yes. As soon as the word bursts into the universe you are overcome with relief. The decision is made; you can relax for a moment, take a deep breath.

All of a sudden all of your concerns seem trite. You wonder why you ever doubted because everything just feels so right. You are overcome with joy and excitement. The world is bright and something inside you sings in anticipation.

Then come the baby steps in the planning process. Each one inching you closer to the reality of your decision coming to fruition. Each one bringing its own reminders of the worries you set aside. At first you are still jubilant, but eventually, as with everything else in life, everything begins to even out, come to a balance again.

As the days pass and plans continue to be set in motion, the uncertainties bubble and brew insecurity. It’s terrifying, too terrifying for words. Change always is. The bigger the change, the more times you seriously consider jumping the train. Every time you are on the edge, however, you look ahead and you look behind. You look behind to remind yourself why you ended up here, all of the choices that have brought you to this moment. You look ahead to remember all the wonderful things that this decision will bring. You step back from the edge and decide yet again that you will not remain stagnant; you will not choose to live a mediocre life.

The day arrives and all the stress you have somehow managed to maintain at a manageable level washes over you in waves. You aren’t thinking about your decision, only all the things that could go wrong to ruin your perfect moment. You surround yourself with friends and family to keep your head on straight and convince you it’s going to be ok. The day passes, you don’t explode, and whether or not its perfect, the moment comes and you enter a new phase of your life.

Now, I’ve never gotten married, but I have watched a lot of marriages happen. It is the closest thing I have seen to the process I go through every time I make a giant life decision. I have recently made one of those GLDs and I’m still somewhere in the beginning phases. I’ve said yes, and plans have begun to take form, but its still in the unreal charm of exhilaration. I’m terrified, but it’s only a low hum in some corner of my mind for now.

This Boston girl is moving to the desert, Arizona to be precise. It’s the most extreme thing I’ve done probably ever and it’s already very bittersweet. I’m going to miss so many people and whenever I dwell too long the tears swell. My family and my supports are here, but life isn’t meant to be lived in a comfortable bubble. I will not be the girl who has never lived outside of New England. I want adventure in the great wide somewhere (yes, I’ve been channeling Belle for a few days now) and I refuse to allow myself to say no to an opportunity I’ll always wish I had taken. Leaving may be hard, but staying would be harder.

Besides, I could not have asked for a more exciting living situation. How many times in my life will I get the chance to live with my best friend? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am moving in with LP. If I’m honest with myself, I know it very well could end in disaster, but I think we have both decided to make sure it doesn’t. We’re all adults here after all.

More details on that adventure to come, for now I’ll leave you with the anticipation.