The travails of travel are many. There’s the time I ran over my poor husband’s toes (with the car). Of course, we were moving…from Charleston, S.C. to Monterey, California. We were in Meridian, Mississippi where we’d spent the night. I didn’t realize how close to the car my husband was standing and…just did it. His shout of pain stopped me cold, as you can well imagine…
Same move…we’d made an agreement to pull over at the next rest stop (with services!) when I flash my headlights. We are in West Texas on I-10. Anyone who has ever traveled that route knows that services (translated: RESTROOMS) are few and far between. Blithely I flashed my lights before the first rest stop we approached. We flew right past it. Same act, Scene Two…same flashing headlights achieve the same results. Scene Three…headlights are no longer being flashed politely. They’re continuously, insistently flashing my demand. He pulls off at the next exit and what do you think we see? A desert, a few waist-high bushes and three trash barrels! “So find three bushes together that shield you from the freeway,” he says with utter unconcern. Really? Do you have any idea how many waist-high bushes you find growing together on the West Texas desert that shield the heroine’s backside (mine!) from the view of passersby from horizon to horizon? Not very bloody many! The resident daughter and I trek off across the desert, trying to keep the cars in sight. Finally, mission is accomplished with daughter standing guard…until she erupts in laughter, pointing toward the frontage road behind us. Three guys in a pick-up are honking their horns, laughing and waving as they pass by. Husband is in deep, deep trouble. Naval officers, I was once told, long, long before, have the strength of ten because their hearts are pure…but just every now and again, their insight fails them. Airily he says, “What do you care? You’ll never see them again.” Oh, yeah? Oh, YEAH??? Just every time I recall the scene is all!
Same move… It’s July 15th and we’ve left the Los Angeles basin and entered the long Central Valley headed north on I-5. It’s hot…really hot and it’s only eight o’clock in the morning. By two in the afternoon we turn west heading for Highway 101. Approaching Salinas the temperature begins to cool and I shut the windows. We leave Salinas and I shut the car’s vents. We top the coastal range and I have the heater on, hoping I don’t turn blue before we reach our hotel in Monterey and my jeans and sweatshirt. Jeans and sweatshirts in July? Yes, indeed! Have you ever been there? It’s one of the most beautiful spots in America and yet it’s where I learned the meaning of layering ones clothing. It wasn’t just for effect, either.
Oh, that isn't all of it...not by any means. Please stay tuned for further Travails of Travel!