Southern Border Adventure 2008 travel blog

I started a list of things to do once I was back in SF - pay any bills I'd missed before and during the trip, go through big stacks of mail, hug Mango, work on my resume for who knows what kind of job, add up the gas receipts to see what kind of mileage the Sea Dragon provided, finish a few more entries in the trip journal, research Austin, etc. AND set up wireless at home. Yesterday after I got home, when I powered up my home PC I remembered that the Windows spies have been pestering me for months about the Windows XP version and whether it was a valid license or not. They haven't stopped their relentless messaging just because I hadn't powered up the PC in weeks. And while it is valid I think, I've been avoiding getting it straightened out especially because the darn PC is so incredibly S-L-O-W. In other words, I am now spoiled by the laptop my Dad gave me before I left on the trip that he was not using. And sitting here at Book Passage, I'm glad to have a speedy, easy to access wireless connection. Besides the Sea Dragon and Maggie the navigator, the trip would not have been the same for me without this trip journal and my iPhone.

I've tried for years to keep a journal and never succeeded. Sure I might write for a week or two, but that would be it. I'd get too busy, or get stuck on whether what I was writing was worthy of being put down on paper. For this trip it didn't really matter if what I wrote was relevant or not. I just wanted a record of what I did and saw since it wasn't my normal day to day routine. I wanted proof that I hadn't squandered my time off and that this trip wasn't the most hare-brained thing I'd ever done. Hmmm, I guess it still could be considered a crazy thing to do, but I also know that it gave me a much needed break from the world of consumerism.

And really, if you're reading this entry, then you were a part of making the trip happen, too. You're part of the experience that was "the trip."

I think of my Dad, who supported me in so many ways even though he was understandably very nervous about me taking the trip. I've already mentioned the laptop, which I asked him about when I had made the decision to go and knew I would need a way to keep in touch with everyone. He also kept filling up the 38 gallon gas tank when we traveled together, a daily need and not cheap at $3.00 gallon on average in AZ, NM and TX. I called my Dad almost every day once I arrived at a destination to let him know where I was. Sometimes I felt like talking, but just as often I wanted to just be. Dad in his usual good-natured way just rolled with it. I didn't want anything on a to-do list, I didn't want a to-do list at all. Unless it was the checklist for the Sea Dragon when I would pack up and move on. Having said that, I did like having some structure to my days, and in hindsight I quickly put that in place. My morning routine was the same - wake up, peek under the privacy curtain to see what the world looked like, have a bowl of Peace cereal, put water on for tea, fill the thermos with any left-over hot water, stow the laptop or books or maps back in their nooks, take a shower, enter the new address into Maggie, run through the Sea Dragon checklist and get on the road. I never did get consistent in the timing of this. Sometimes I'd be on the road by 8:30, but it could also be 9:00 or even 10:00. At the other end of the day, my goal was always to be wherever I was headed by 3pm, but that soon became 5pm and then before dark, and eventually before 8pm. I always wanted to get on-line so I could update the trip journal and see if anyone had left me a message, but access just wasn't always available. I would figure out how to get a wireless card that always provided access next time.

Each email or trip journal message felt like a hug. I tried to send one back each time, but I'm not sure that I did. But they were great. It was like those cell phone network commercials where one person has the cell phone and a few hundred people are standing behind him representing the network. I took a solo trip with lots of people surrounding me.

I had certain things with me that really helped the trip - crisp single dollar bills from Hope for laundry. She thought about how annoying it can be to try and get a change machine to take a slightly bent bill and gave me crisp George Washingtons so I could avoid that. My godmother Sally who sent me yummy blueberry jam from Maine and the cutest small casserole for a one person dish. I had blessing charms from Hope, a lucky frog from Dad and a matchbox filled with Mexican safety and strength icons from Julie.

I did things because of people's advice or ideas, too. Based on Jerome's cross country treks, I carried my keys on a caribiner (how do you spell that?). The keys that were in only one of three places at any time - in the ignition, by the side door, or on me. (If they weren't there, I would panic for a moment and then look in the door and always find them there. :) ) I had one trash bag in the same place that I tossed every day so the place didn't get junked up. I came and went by one door unless I was getting gas so I didn't have to worry about whether all the doors were locked. Thanks to Jakki in Chico, I rented an RV that specifically had a window in the back so I had a little more visibility. I also remember her saying that people would get out of the way if they saw that you were struggling with changing lanes. That's true. The cranes didn't make it throughout the whole trip, but they came about because of Hope's godmother Caroline, Shari and Teresa who showed me how to make them.

My Mom was with me too in so many ways. The seahorses that just kept appearing in so many unexpected places. The way events and timing would fall together to make what could be a hard day, surprisingly do-able. I know it could've just been luck, or a positive outlook, but I choose to think that she wanted to support me, too.

And so now I'm back in the Bay Area. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up on what's been happening in their lives. Next week I'll work on my resume with the help of someone who does that sort of thing professionally. And still try to capture some thoughts on New Orleans and Austin...

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