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I think we’re ready

Posted by joeabbott on June 17, 2014

I can remember saying, “I think we’re ready” last night but not really feeling it. I get the same way before I pack for heading into the mountains … hikes are one thing, hitting technical terrain or glacier is completely another. For this trip I won’t be doing anything harder than driving Seattle rush hour on the way out and the way back, and then a few mountain passes in-between, but I can feel the nerves vibrating.

The trip is pinned on the calendar by a wedding on 6/21 and we planned a road trip as we’ve been out earlier this year for a wedding and will return for yet another. But the driving will be novel.

We rented transportation to put the many miles on someone else’s vehicle, not our reliable but aging cars. We rented a mid-sized SUV, as it would best fit our plans and were told we’d get a Jeep Grand Cherokee (or something in that class) … why is it we always seem to get “something in that class”? We got a Chevy Equinox and, I’m not a car guy, but I instinctively disliked it.

The dislike was based on the fact that it’s white, seemed a bit smaller than the Grand Cherokee, and that it wasn’t a Grand Cherokee. As I noted, I’m not a car guy … most of those things shouldn’t matter if it has enough room, power, and gets us reliably to MN and back. I also didn’t like the 34000 miles on it … most car rentals we get are pretty much “just off the lot”, so something with this many miles felt more susceptible to problems.

And this is why I’m usually not a worrier … worry usually amounts to missed expectation, some sort of gap in your ability to address an issue, and general concern of eventualities that might arise. I’m going to say “*posh*” to this fretting and get on with our trip. Our luggage nicely fit in the back, the car had plenty of space for all our books on CD and snacks, and we’ve already tidied it up from some minor cleaning that escaped the crew at Thrifty Rentals. Oh, the last thing about this car that definitely plays in our favor is the improved gas mileage (over a Grand Cherokee) … which, on a 4000+ mile trip, is not insubstantial.

What else has me from feeling we’re ready? Well, I had a bit of dental work done yesterday: a dental crown was installed. While the doctor assured me it was a slam dunk and the procedures used would guarantee a perfect fit … well, the fit is just a tiny bit less than perfect. If I bite down and grind somewhat, I get a bit of contact that on my original set of teeth had been ground down to a true perfect fit.

Fortunately my doc has early office hours and could see me just before we leave. Grinding off the high spot could literally be a minutes-long visit but I need to get on his calendar. We’d hoped to leave by 7AM … just a time on the clock, nothing special. His first appointment would be at 7:30AM. I’m calling (again) at 7:15AM to see if he might squeeze me in. And, according to the clock on my computer, I have 45 minutes before I should be worrying about that.

The next thing having me fret is the weather. First, most of our trip will be at places expecting around 80° F temps … but we’re also heading to Glacier National Park (spending an extra day there) where they’re still removing snow from the roadways. They expect to be in the mid-40s. I’m not used to packing for such extremes and still looking for something like comfort.

And then the rain. It seems like there’s some epic weather going on out there in terms of thundershowers and lightning and we get to share in that.

I’m OK with driving in rain and cloudy weather, but having to pack cold weather gear, rain gear, and still loading my flip-flops has my head a bit swimmy. Jeans or shorts? Long socks or shorties? Gore-Tex jacket or umbrella … or both? And then there’s packing a suit for the wedding. Yes, I see that lots of other people are showing up in Dockers. Some might even have a tie … I’m an old guy: wearing a suit to a wedding is just what you do.

But, for this bit of fretting … the weather and packing … I’m done. I have tossed in the gear and clothing I think we need and there’s nothing more for it. If I’m truly missing some clothing, we brought coins for the Laundromat or money for whatever store sells what we need. If Suzanne and I are anything, we’re resourceful.

My final fret is being on the road a long time. I realize I’ve become a man who enjoys creature comforts: I like our bedding, thick with down, that welcomes a tired body at day’s end; I like our backyard with cats and chickens and flowers bursting from every corner; I like our good, simple foods, the cloth napkins that accompany our meals, the quiet “time out” that shares dinner time with us. But I’m trading that for clean but modest rooms (at a good rate), the zip of the Interstate or raucous folks in adjoining rooms, and meals eaten in the driver seat.

As I read what I’ve just written I realize this trip will be good for me. Perhaps bring back a sense of adventure I’m slowly losing; perhaps instill in me a touch of tolerance I’ve lost, the ability to see beauty in many things. I’m smiling now … writing has been good for me in lots of ways and I’m just now sensing it’s helped me once again.

I think I am ready.


One Response to “I think we’re ready”

  1. momma said

    It’s gonna be a great trip, Joe! The Momma

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