I made about a dollar sweeping the apartment as Drew and the kids carried the last bits and boxes to the truck. It turned out to be a handfull of bike racer money - coins from five countries on three continents - not enough of any one kind to buy a pack of gum.
We finished loading the little moving van in a windy 15 degrees. We leave Colorado Springs with the van packed to the roof. Dean and Jenny follow in their red Ford pickup truck. It is snowing lightly. The road is wet and dirty with sand, and the windshield, at a nearly perpendicular angle to the road, is catching a lot of the schmutz. This is when we discover that the wiper fluid in this rental is plain water, and the spray freezes instantly on the glass.
We have our tiny new portable speakers hooked up to my iPhone and Eagles of Death Metal are on. Drew is peering out the less opaque spots in the smeared windshield.
Through Denver the snow is deeper and the traffic heavier. We try the slow lane, but the snow here is piling up too fast. We switch to the fast lane, where the wheels have made a clear trail. Once we get past Denver, both the traffic and the snow eases.
We stop in Cheyenne for gas, a sandwich and some real windshield washer fluid, conveniently located in one stop. Go America. I have career advice for the Subway sandwich maker who made my lunch today: learn the fine distinction between vinegar (what I ordered) and oil. Yes, I eat it anyway.
Sorry, Sad Lincoln. We will not forget you.
I feel a liitle guilty as we pass Entombed Lincoln's Head that we didn't stop and sympathize with him a moment, but our bellies were full and our bladders were empty. No time for Sad Lincoln.
Later, at the Fort Steele rest area, we learn that Bella the kitty, stuffed most unwillingly into a cat carrier for the duration, has lost control of her bowels and her dignity.
Every hundred miles or so along this stretch of Southern Wyoming there is a natural gas processing plant. My memory had truncated the distance between them to being within sight of each other. Now I remember how cursedly wide this state is.
Big Sky Country means there is plenty of sky for smokestacks.
Eating out of boredom and fidgeting in my seat. The seats in this van sit ninety-degree-angle straight against the wall of the cargo compartment. I try to slump down, but the seat pushes my head forward so that I'm looking at my lap. I straighten up. And sigh. Yes, I'm sure I sigh.
Animals with other animals painted on them.
Ogden marks the more-or-less halfway point, and we stop for the night at a Best Western. The hoard of children inexplicably roaming the motel had formed itself into a hallway soccer league outside our room. After a few cross words from The Captain, we sleep.
If you are in the market for sparkly birds wearing sweaters, I know where to get some.
When a motel offers free continental breakfast, I feel obligated to get my money's worth no matter how lousy the offering. So I really eat a warmed sausage patty on brownish toast.
The weather this morning is snowy and foggy. I feel like it requires accompaniment by piano jazz courtesy of Vince Guaraldi, but The Captain vetoes that (one vote is always enough to veto jazz, that is ironclad), and we go back to my Compromise Playlist.
I entertain myself with finding fleeting signals to update Twitter and Facebook on my iPhone while The Captain navigates past small Utah and Idaho towns. We make cell-phone-negotiated rest and gas stops, some with tourist lures like sparkly unicorns on sticks and western-themed "art," such as animals with other animals painted on them, which pleases me. Thank you, highway entrepreneurs.
We celebrate our re-entry into Oregon with a late lunch at Baker's Geiser Grand Hotel which has been recently restored and is quite grand, however, their buffalo patty melt could use some mustard or something.
We pass a few hours with the "Jordan Jesse Go!" podcast and Doug Benson's "I Love Movies." We try an audiobook, but it was a group of humorous essays from various artists (containing widely varying amounts of humor), and Drew has little patience with mediocrity, so we switch back to Compromise Music for the final leg from Hood River.
And then we are home. And that's not the royal "we." That's all four of us.