Welcome to the final, final version of the itinerary. We think. We spent the morning at a restaurant in Raleigh talking about the schedule. Bartowsky had two destinations on his list, Charleston and Austin -after confirming that Seattle and Portland are on the list. 10-4, Good Buddy. It is a definite go on PDX and SEA. So we reconfigured to make sure that the Austin City Limits would come into view of our little road trip. Charleston was already there on an earlier version.
We have also built in three days of extra time so that we can alter the trip or the schedule at any time and move forward confidently with things that catch our roving and nomadic eyes. We are still planning on being on the road by 6:00 AM each day, so that we can wrap up a day fairly early AND still log hundreds of miles.
The final, final thing comes from a long time ago, in architectural practice. We used to draw a project, modify it and then save it as, "Final Version." Then a brainstorm would hit and we would save the alterations as, "Final-Final Version." And so on. I remember one named, "Absolute Final Version." Followed by, "Ok -This Is The Final Version." Then one day someone walked in and had the brainstorm of brainstorms. We went to dates for the titles. Duh! Just open the drawings with the latest date for a name. Good thing we went to college and got smart and all. Five years minimum to become an architect and we were naming stuff, "This One."
At any rate, here is the version that Bartowsky and I discussed this morning. The Final, Final Version. Enjoy.
Possible Final, Final Version
1) Raleigh to Roanoke 15th of June 15:00 Hours
2) Roanoke to Indy
3) Indy to Shoreview
4) Shoreview to Fargo Breakfast in FGO
Fargo to Bismarck
Bismarck to Dickinson
Dickinson to Medora (Pre-book lodging)
5) Medora to Glacier, MT
6) Glacier to Seattle
Spend the next morning in Seattle
7) Seattle to Cannon and Portland
Spend the next morning in PDX
8) Portland to Columbia Gorge
9) Columbia to Twin Falls, ID
10) Twin Falls to St George
11) St George to Durango, CO
12) Durango, to Lubbock
13) Lubbock to Austin, TX
14) Austin to Orange Beach/Gulf Shores
15) Orange Beach to St. Augustine, FL
16) St Aug to Charleston, SC 30th of June
Possibly two nights in Charleston
17) Charleston, SC to Raleigh, NC
In reference to the previous post, I (Dan, the dad in this duo) stopped self-medicating a long, long time ago.
The last Sunday of April 2001 changed my life forever. Not that all changes were immediately felt or even known, but... Enough said about that for now.
Ok. That's it.
Back to your previous broadcast.
21 days to go.
We had a few new arrivals today and we are pretty stoked. We ordered extra cards and batteries. We ordered mounts for the car. And we picked up the actual Go Pros for those extra batteries and car mounts. Finally.
We say "finally" because this little checklist item is a larger checklist/ticket item for us. The Go Pros will supplement our Cannon camera. And it feels like one of the last big hurdles to clear before we can hit the magic highway.
Dare I say it? We're almost ready to go. Almost because we still have to nail down the final itinerary. And we still have some smaller items to pick up before we leave. Things like a first aid kit, jumper cables, a clean cooler without all the juice box and ice residue from last summer's trip to the beach. Of course, not all of this stuff needs to be purchased, though.
The cooler needs to be retrieved from the garage and subjected to a high powered pressure washing -and possibly a couple gallons of disinfectant. There's also a Swiss Army knife around here someplace. I can perform an emergency tracheotomy on anyone utilizing that knife with the addition of a Starbucks frappuccino straw. (And possibly a couple shots of Mad Dog 20/20 or some other form of liquid courage. Maybe a nice Pinot. Or Malbec.)
"Hang on, Buddy! I. Just. Have. To. Get. This. Cork. Out."
I have liquid courage memories of the Greyhound bus from the high school days. Young and stupid and bouncing between divorced parents as I made my way to Minneapolis from backwater North Dakota. Christmas break on the Grey Puppy included numbing oneself to the reality of the bus, as well as perceived teenage angst , with a can of 7-Up and a bottle of MD 20/20. Self-medication at a high school level of maturity and availability.
"Ok. So it's $25 and your brother will get me a bottle of Mad Dog and a pack of Marlboros?" Nervous glances all around until an affirmative nod. "Sweet! I'm in! Oh. Wait! I've got $23 and... um... 68, 69... 74 cents. Will that do? Yeah? Cool!"
At any rate, the Mad Dog laced 7-Up still tasted like the world's worst diet cough syrup. You know the drill. The kind of garbage that a parent would give you out of pure spite for getting sick. That'll teach ya. That's my memory. Numb and sleeping by Detroit Lakes as the bus stopped at what seemed like every gas station on old highways that were only somewhat parallel to I-94. Rousing slightly as some other unfortunate stepped on board and, every now and then, on your feet as they made their way past you. Or being bumped, jostled, and borderline assaulted by and with bags stuffed with gifts from K-Mart. Or the local Pamida store, in some cases. The smell of stale urine wafting from the toilet in the back, as one belched a half-awake cloud of Mad Dog cough syrup to add to the stench. And then allowing the bus to rock weary souls back to sleep. Good times!
If there is an emergency trach to do -and there just might be -we will be looking for something other than Mad Dog 20/20.
We also have to get the car fired up and down to the local dealer for some oil, a brake and belt check, a loofah, rinse, and possibly a back rub. Back rubs are important before setting out to cover thousands of miles in a piece of molded aluminum. Like a 7-Up can without (hopefully) the Mad Dog Cough Syrup stench.
22 days to go.
The waiting is the hardest part, or so said Tom Petty. But it feels like we've already been on a journey. It feels like we've spoken about this for a long time, and we have. And apropos of that fact, I shared a breakfast with my son yesterday at Big Ed's North. More on this place later; the point being that I shared with him a deep and powerful secret of life as we consumed grits and other Southern breakfast foods.
"If you want to accomplish anything," I said, "talk about it." He looked at me in that special way. That way that says, Dad, you're a doofus.
"No, really." I continued, "Tell everyone. Talk about it non-stop. Even if you don't have the means or the way. Even talk about it to yourself... 'How do I get this started?' 'What would it take to get this going?' 'I'm going to ______.' The more you talk or write about it, the more likely it is to happen."
I shared with him that when his mother and I were first married and having kids, we were very poor -in an American way. Meaning that we had a large three bedroom apartment, two cars, but not much money. The cars were older and prone to breaking down. The apartment was rent controlled-section 8. Our kitchen table was part of an outdoor patio set we snagged. And yet, my beautiful bride, his mother, wanted a house with a yard for her children.
I did moonlight and worked extra jobs. Architect intern by day, and bartender by night. Or, later, project architect by day (not registered), rural newspaper delivery over 60 or 70 miles by early-early day (every single day), and moonlighting as an architect evenings and weekends. But that was later on, and by that time we had a house.
We talked about it incessantly. The house, that is. We searched high and low. But we didn't have money for a down payment. We didn't have this. And we certainly didn't have that. And what if that happened to this. Or worse, this happened to that. Unfortunately, we spent a lot of time on nonexistent options and fears.
Eventually we just talked about what we wanted. Finally things started to congeal. And then one fine day, we went to a closing where I wrote a check for the grand total of $18. Yep, that's not a typo, eighteen dollars. And suddenly we had a home in need of quite a bit of work. And we had a nice mortgage payment to make every month in lieu of rent. And the kids had a nice yard to play in.
And so it goes with this trip. We've talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. And now, all of a sudden, we're ordering Go Pro cameras while digging up the Canon EOS rebel that we have someplace in the house. My son, the film major, is talking about mounts for the cameras. He's talking about a documentary. He's talking about POV (point of view). And he is doing so even though he has a little bit of a disdain for the Go Pro cameras. He's telling his filmmaking buddies that he might've found some cameras they can use after this trip is done -they're not professional grade, but they'll do. And he is waiting anxiously for these less-than-desirable cameras to arrive. They are all incredibly passionate about their craft and their future. Being young and poor, he just wants to make movies with his friends.
They just want a yard that they can play in.
Update: We have some Go-Pro camera stuff on order. We have a new itinerary. We have a plan put together and right now we have targeted June 15th at 3:26:52 PM to leave the Triangle area of North Carolina in a haze of rear view mirror glances. We have packing thoughts. We have car maintenance thoughts. We have thoughts. Which is good. It means we're still in the land of the upright and breathing.
Oh, and we have some new car swag - a burned out, sun-scorched window oval -on order. (Below.)
We ordered 10. Five (5.0) are spoken for by people and at least one dog kennel and one Vox guitar amp. Maybe we'll drop the other five off along the way. Or, if the final product sucks, we'll drop all ten off along the way. TBD. Confused maintenance people wondering which moron or morons placed a sticker at their seedy rest area or dirty gas station. It was us. (Vandals and middle aged rebels. Well, at least one of us.)
Bartowsky came home from college on Friday. He is off for the summer. His siblings were happy to see him. His mother was happy to see him. I was happy to see him. I am not so sure about the dog. We suspect the dog is partially blind, as he foolishly barks at shadows and shoes and even Bartowsky.
Buddy Bartowsky spent a few moments talking with me about the routine for the next five weeks or so. We talked about his new summer-boss; some hard case that goes by the name, "Dad." And how his work will be a mix of hard labor and intellectual pursuit. Which is code for labor on one hand and research on the other. Both of which tie into my businesses -a dicey mix of old and new ranging from real estate franchise to house renovation to a new idea that is brewing and simmering away on the back burner.
We talked about his business-an online auto niche store that sells Coilovers and wheels to guys and gals who like to tune their cars and drift and generally pump money into depreciating assets. I get it. I buy motorcycles for similar reasons. He doesn't get it. He drives a Scion XB that he has smashed and wrecked on more than one occasion. It is pretty much stock. He calls it, "The Toaster." It is completely utilitarian and scarred for life due to it's association with Don, or Bartowsky, as I call him. The guy is a capitalist dressed in liberal Film-studies clothing. I think that some day this realization will shock him.
And we talked about the route.
We are now on version five, or as I like to think of it, cinco de route. We made a few adjustments based on his requests. We will make a few more as we get closer to the gig. As we talked, I could see the spark in his eye. He reminded me of my dad talking about a trip to destinations unknown.
"Dan," he would say in his sometimes booming voice, "let's drive to Banff (from North Dakota) for Christmas. Forget the tree and the fruitcake. Open the gifts now. What do you think?" His eyes twinkling as his socks were pulled up with care.
If I was a smarter and a little older elf at the time, I might have said, "Sure, Pops! We're going to the Canadian Rockies in your two-wheel drive Pontiac coupe. In the middle of a sub-zero winter. What could possibly go wrong?" But instead I eagerly participated knowing full well that an adventure without a hint of danger is just not worth the effort.
Bartowsky had that same shine as we debated New Mexico over Colorado. That twinkle. That spark that the first Don, my dad, had when gearing up for a trip. And all this even though my beloved son told the hot-lit babe (my wife), "Dad will never let me drive the Avalon. It is just too nice." The Avalon is the used car we purchased for the trip. He's wrong. Drive it, Bartowsky. Drive the piss out of it. Just don't turn it into a copycat image of The Toaster.