Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In a minor epiphany this morning I realize I'm deep into escapism.

At lunch, before dinner and for as long as I can stay awake in bed, I'm  reading River Horse by William Least Heat Moon . It's the story of traversing the country by river.  In Blue Highways, the same author describes America by car.  Before River Horse, I read several accounts of walking across America.  A pile of dog stories-Merle, Lou, Marley, Pukka-detective novels set in Key West, an English travel guide by Bill Bryson and William Powers' book of a return to a simpler life in Twelve By Twelve soothe my savage travel beast.

"There's a pattern here," I tell myself.

In 2004 we crossed the US twice. The first trip was to drive two-26 foot Penske trucks from Arizona to Wisconsin.  The second to drive my Ford truck hitched to a trailer with the remaining accumulated junk that we acquired in 5 years living at 4500 feet between Phoenix and Flagstaff.  The "check engine" light comes on just after Albuquerque.  A Ford dealer fleeces us of $400 in unnecessary repairs in the flat-lands beyond ABQ and a kid in another Ford dealership in Amarillo clips a leaking air pollution control hose for free. 

In the twelve years between quitting my job as an elementary school teacher and the move to Arizona, when Dawn and I weren't working 7 days a week, she as a gruntled postal worker and me as a peddler, we'd travel for business.  The journey to Arizona from Wisconsin could be fodder for a travel story.

Stuck for three days in Elk City, Oklahoma because of heavy panhandle snow, we get back on the interstate and find traffic stopped dead for as far as the eye can see, both front and rear windows.  In another first time ever award to myself, I read pulp fiction on an overpass outside Amarillo. Interstate 17 from Flagstaff to Phoenix is closed at the Sedona exit because a truck overturns with 1,000,000 pounds of newspaper.  Dawn pulls up to a Stuckeys mear Grants, New Mexico and her 26 foot Penske will only go in reverse.  A tow truck takes our precious junk from Grants to Sedona.

And so it went.

We were travel pros. We didn't batt an eye when three men in front of us in a long line to security in the PHX airport, guns on their hips and shiny police badges in their hands, trade quips.  We learn to beat the beeping machine in the security checkpoint by removing  all metal, nail clippers, hair dryers etc., but forget that Dawn's shoes have a metal support in them.  She's taken into custody and beaten senseless for hours under a hot light ( I"m kidding).

I'm so far removed from that scene that on a recent third Tuesday, in the middle of hog butchering, I get stressed over traveling to Cashton 30 minutes away because Mountain Man Johann isn't waiting at the entrance to his half mile long driveway at the preordained time. They're out of onions by the time we get there.

Mandy's a veteran traveler which is quite an accomplishment for an Amish dog.  She learns to always pee before getting in the car because, as I tell her," You never know how long it'll be to the next rest stop."  Traveling for Pooch, the cat, is solely riding on top of a stationary vehicle in the driveway. Thus, we're limited to trips that take no longer than the amount of food and water will last in ceramic bowls on the kitchen floor. My guilt about shutting in a wandering pussy limits us to two days and one overnight.

Our Netflix queue says that we watched 109 movies from September 22 to February 28th.  In the early morning light, fur-balls, dust and detritus are back lit by sunlight intensified by winter snow.  I retreat to a west facing room for self therapy by keyboard.

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