Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

A gift from a friend given the night before we left. It became a good luck charm of sorts and hasn't left my wrist since.

...and just like that, we're here. I had high hopes of blogging from the battlefield known as I-94. I'm a dreamer, you see, and a dreamer actually believes that it is totally reasonable and within her capability to write and edit a blog post in the wee hours of the morning after driving the better part of a whole day. If I had it to do over again, I'd still think I could do it (and I don't particularly want to do it again). 

So before I write about the new house and life thus far on another coast, I want to properly wrap up the journey that got us here. Because, dude, it wasn't insignificant. Road warriors were we. And that man of mine. Oh, that man. Every single moment of those 3000+ miles was spent driving that truck. Going 30mph max on mountain passes that went on forever... eating food from places solely based on the pull-through capability of their parking lot... gas station coffee... stopping at truck stops every 300 miles to fill up. again. We worked for this move.  

Despite the inherent challenges that arise when moving yourselves across the country, after Day 1 we established an easy rapport with the road. Towns and cities came and went and the miles melted away. I listened my way through The Museum of Extraordinary Things, Wheat Belly, and the better part of Faithful Place. When Kiddo rode with me, we listened to Shadow and Bone. Not bad for 6 days; it would be months (or more) before I ever got around to reading them in print. 

The cat and dog rode in my backseat and all that went fairly smoothly. Except for the meltdown on Day 5 that involved both yowling and howling that culminated in a screeching halt before the Welcome to Idaho sign in order to separate them. From then on the cat got the front seat and the dog shared the back with the cooler. Both held it together and not another peep was made.

In the first few days I stayed behind the truck, ever its faithful follower. I didn't want Mario and Kiddo out of my sight, which likely stemmed from irrational fear and the need to feel stable and in control despite the general lack of stability. But as the days passed and my anxiety relaxed, I began making stops here and there. Then I could set the cruise control at normal highway speed and play catch up. Kiddo, Jack and I hiked Pompey's Pillar in eastern Montana. I made a quick detour and drove by the apartment we lived in when Kiddo was just a tiny little thing. I stopped occasionally for coffee breaks and miscellaneous Target runs and short walks with the dog. (We were pretty well prepared for the drive, but I have to admit that I accidentally boxed up all but two pairs of shorts for Kiddo. Oops. Target to the rescue.)

Somewhere among those thousands of miles I let go of the fuss and stress and general ick that came with leaving the old. The goodbyes and the cleaning and the house selling and the packing. All of it seemed to melt into the past where it has stayed ever since. In many ways that arduous journey across the U.S. was the best thing for us. Because upon arriving, we were ready. To start over. To embrace a new life and all that entails. There has been no sadness or homesickness or malaise associated with this move. Likely because we spent six days processing all of it. Our emotional junk is all over middle America. Mine, anyway. 

And now here we are. The hard stuff is behind us and the rest is pretty darn good. The house is coming together and familiarity is setting in. It's weird: the moment we moved all of our stuff in, our old life literally felt 3000 miles away. Despite almost seven years in that area, and just shy of one week in this one, I scarcely remember our day-to-day life. There is no attachment or personal connection anymore. I remember it, but as someone looking in from the outside... as if I was never an active participant in my own life. It's a rather weird head space, but not unpleasant. This natural tendency to look forward, and never back, seems like yet another assurance that we made the right choice.


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