I have decided I am quite possibly the worst travel blogger ever. I set out with the fantasy that I would be able to present wonderful word pictures of our travels replete with pithy observations and deep moments of wisdom.
In lieu of this, the ugly truth has revealed itself; I am simply not able to write anything after a long day on the road. I don’t even so much as glance at my laptop. Instead I hurl myself upon the bench seat in the van. I don’t even bother to convert it into a bed anymore. Or change. Or brush my teeth. I bathe with wet wipes. (And yet again I fortify my position of being single forever.)
Our days look something like this: Get up early. Or rather, plan to get up early. Then wake up and, depending on the position of the sun, either flap a bit or go into full blown panic mode. Continue freaking out while shovelling food at offspring while grabbing a plain, usually bitter cup of coffee for myself. (As this is usually from a campsite or truck stop, it’s often got undertones of bark, rubber, diesel and asphalt in varied combinations.)
We then drive for 2 hours with a reminder set warning us that the van will die at some point soon. Sometimes we time it right. More often than not, we sit at the side of the road snarling at one another in the hot sun until I either give in and call AAA, or we try our luck and start the process again.
After 12:30 we begin our routine of running the A/C for precious moments at a time, turning it off at the merest hint of a grade. By 2pm we have to cut it off completely. We can have A/C or drive. You have no doubt worked out our choice.
We keep mini spray bottles filled with chilled water, (well at least they were chilled back when our fridge was still working,) by our seats. At some point one of us will yell, “Mist!” as a plea for some small measure of relief. We spray, feel better for approximately 45 seconds and then chug from lukewarm bottles. At one point we bought a small thermometer, curious to see exactly what our condition was. We have since hidden it away by unspoken mutual agreement. Apparently knowing that we were literally driving in 100 degree heat was too depressing to bear.
Our lunches depend on what stage of overheating we are at. If the van has us stranded we often end up with beef jerky, granola bars, apples and crackers . (There used to be cheese. I miss cheese. Oh My God. CHEESE.) If we are at an unexpected but not completely dead stop, it’s PB&J. We have had a LOT of PB&J. I’m not sure if after this summer I will be able to even smell peanut butter again.
I don’t want to admit how often lunch has been Dairy Queen. This is most often funded by the copious amounts of spare change we keep discovering in the van. Not to mention on the ground at campsites and in motel rooms. I owe a huge thanks to all of you with loose pockets. I cannot for the life of me fathom how Ducky and I have both lost 15lbs while on a diet that has repeatedly consisted of sugar sticks, ice cream and light snacks. I guess that guy was right.
I know you’ve read that we also get to stay with friends. And I always think when pulling into a new driveway, “Oh, isn’t this wonderful? I’ll finally get to mail those postcards, check in with family, find out about my mail, post to the damn blog…”
But when I’m staying with my friends I don’t want to write I want to do.
I am aware that I sound like a recalcitrant child when I say this, but my older and sulkier inner teenager makes it all better by not giving a shit.
I have discovered a true way to reverse the aging process. Somewhere after all the driving the adult gets burned away and I am left with a brain committee of no one over 22.
If only my body would come along for the ride.
On that note, I have to say I like the muscle tone I’m developing on my arms. Due to a combination of driving, along with the hefting of bags, boxes and dog, I am rediscovering my strength. My skin is also a quiet joy. I have burned, peeled, tanned and repeated enough that my skin has taken on a soft, “god-dammit I forgot to use sunscreen AGAIN” glow. It looks good, though I have to put ideas of skin cancer out of my head.
The aforementioned weight loss is of course welcome, however since Ducky and I were the same size upon setting out, this means that our shared shorts are now WAY too big. Declan had a pair fall down on him while he was darting up some stairs and the perfect “Oh” of surprise on his face will be engraved in my memory until the day I die.
It’s a good thing I brought belts.