visit the web site

Monday, October 6

fast forward

I left Oregon and the blog with a heavy heart a few days ago and now I'm home. In my big leather chair, a cat on each arm of it, typing on my laptop, waiting for The View to start. As wonderful as traveling can be, there is joy in simple routine, in comfy chairs and purring cats who bat at the cursor as you type. I missed it all.

So, we went home via San Francisco which makes perfect sense in Russell's world. I just ride along. There are good friends there we wanted to see. We passed through Ashland, Oregon, known for its Shakespeare Festival. Really charming town. I want to meet the folks who live here, though. Check out the guy on the porch:

On the way, Mt Shasta played hide and seek along the curving roads. Last time we came through here, the mountain was obscured by haze. It actually disappeared. Weird. So, I was happy to see her in the sun.

We got to Vallejo in the evening and I have to agree with Russell that the extra hop was worth it. Rambling conversations, laughter, breakfast, hugs, friends.

A stop at a park for Jake, the view was for me

We decided to go as far as Reno, stay the night, and then drive through without stopping except for naps. Oh man. OK. We got up early, resolved to our fate. The scenery was beautiful

the rest stops not so much

We drove by the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. I had never seen that before and it was crazy. I had to google it on my iPhone while we were there, to see if this used to be an ocean or something. No. It somehow evaporates into salt, renewing itself every year. Something like that. I have it on my list of things to learn about. Not sure how it relates to Great Salt Lake, I assume it does.

A lot of driving and a Wyoming sunset farewell to the mountains before we hit Nebraska

We started to see signs of Autumn. Not the riot of everywhere color we have here, but beautiful, unexpected moments tucked into the hills.

We skirted a storm in Nebraska, hoping that our turns wouldn't take us into it. We lucked out. The clouds stayed off to the side and we drove away in the sunlight.

It was debate night and we really wanted to see it, but assumed the best we could do was get a take out dinner to eat in a parking lot and find the best radio station we could in order to hear it. But there, in Eastern Nebraska, at a truck stop, we found the TV on in all the public areas and in the restaurants, all tuned to the debate, all being watched in respectful silence by all sorts of folks. It was wonderful. Granted in NY there would have been talking back and popcorn tossed at the screen and drinking games around words like "maverick" and "change". But here, in a place that I guess is what they mean when they say " the heartland", truckers and young couples holding hands and families hushing their kids with promises of ice cream and seniors parking the RV for dinner and a couple of old hippies on a road trip, listened. Just listened. Gives ya hope.

On we went, fed and informed, into the dark night. I hate night driving, It feels like I'm in an endless dark tunnel and dawn will never come. But Russell likes the quiet, the lighter traffic. And he is refreshed by a 30 minute nap. Sleep usually eludes me. I read by flashlight, watched Desperate Housewives on my laptop, recharging the battery in Iowa. (Iowa has the best rest stops.) We were dotting the "i's" again, going the other way, and when we hit Illinois, I started to get excited about getting home., Chicago would mean it was 8 hrs away. A manageable number of hours at last.

Friday night, we pulled into our street. Jake awoke, sniffing the air, his tail thumping. If I had a tail, it woulda been thumping, too. We dragged most of our stuff in, just dumped it in the kitchen. Morning would be soon enough to deal with it like grownups. The cats came out, tentatively. Silent. I picked up Scooter and he glared at me. Silent. No purr. Limp. Refused to snuggle. But he couldn't help himself and soon he was purring and giving me Eskimo kisses. Mandy waited patiently, head cocked, looking puzzled. Who are you and where is the lady with the canned food? But she. too, caved in and purred and snuggled. Of course, they then proceeded to follow us around the house complaining in cat language. They're entitled.

Russ calls from the kitchen. Did I see what was on the counter? A note signed by the cats, scolding us for being away so long, next to a loaf of fresh baked banana bread. The note let us know that we didn't have to go shop for breakfast stuff and, sure enough, in the fridge is milk, eggs, half and half. And a container of homemade gumbo.

In the last few hours of the trip, when I was longing for home, this is what was waiting. Not the house. This. Friends, neighbors, my blessed real life. As if to put a exclamation point on it, within a few minutes of settling back in, this e-mail from another friend:

I just let Foster out and the neighborhood felt right again. The van across the street and the lights on....I'll sleep better tonight.,

Some people said to us how lucky we were to be able to go away on such a long vacation. Yes. But the real luck is what we have every day, right here. At home.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, those cats are thoughtful! They shopped for you and everything. You are lucky to have cats like that in your life!