Sunday, December 27, 2009

Laura Lansing Slept Here: Road Trip, Day 1

This was a big day. I sold my house. My daughter left her childhood home and probably won't ever see it again. I cried. Then, like Holly Hunter in "Broadcast News," I looked at my watch, wiped my face with a Kleenex and said, "Okay, we gotta go." And my Beloved and I got in the car and headed east.

Of course it's not entirely that simple. Escrow is just beginning and who knows what can happen. We fly back to L.A. at the end of January and still have to deal with clearing and moving out of the condo. But I've changed my address with the post office and on my magazine subscriptions. And as many belongings as could fit in my Honda Civic are making the trek east with us. So it's the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Or something.

I'm writing now from a motel room in Flagstaff, Arizona, where it's—wait, let me check the weather app on my phone yet again—yup, 4 degrees. Officially the coldest I've ever been. Tomorrow: Tucumcari, New Mexico. We're taking Route 40, the interstate that replaced Route 66—not that anyone could forget Route 66 for a split second.

I love being on the road. Desert or ocean, cornfields or Rocky Mountains, flatlands or vertiginous mountain curlicues, I love watching the landscape roll by through my smudgy car windows. I love car food: trail mix and Cokes and peanut-butter sandwiches and gas station coffee. I love maps, and we have billions of them.

We've been planning this trip for weeks, me obsessively plotting routes and counting hours to see how many miles we can accomplish per day without destroying my Beloved's back. We have eight days to make it to New York in time to meet The Child, who will fly there on January 2. So far, one day down and still on schedule.

We hit the road a bit late this morning, got snarled in Vegas-bound traffic on I-15 in San Bernardino, then finally got clear sailing through the Mojave Desert.

We listened to the driving mix The Child had made for us, a travel-themed edition featuring The Decemberists' "Los Angeles I'm Yours" (How I abhor this place/Its sweet and bitter taste/Has left me wretched, retching on all fours/Los Angeles, I'm yours), Brandi Carlile's "Dying Day" (Chasing miles through the night time/Making tracks with no time for looking back) and the Dixie Chicks' "The Long Way Around" (I hit the highway/In a pink RV with stars on the ceiling).

I was excited to hit Needles, California, home of Snoopy's brother Spike, before crossing into Arizona and into a classic western-sky sunset.

It was pitch-black by the time we rolled into Flagstaff—465 miles, a time-zone change, and a world away from where we started. And tomorrow, as Willie Nelson would say, we're on the road again.


Unknown said...

I've always wanted to do this trip, I too love being on the road. Look forward to more posts & pics!
Helena xx

Miss Whistle said...

Oh I just love reading road trip accounts. So glad you're on your way and can't wait to read more.

Btw, daughter's playlist seems excellent.


Miss W

Susan Champlin said...

Thank you, Helena and Miss W! It's a fantastic journey—I highly recommend it. Thanks for joining me on the ride. xo