Monday, February 22, 2010

The Road Begins

The night before my road trip started I was a little anxious. Even though I had packed and prepared, it felt as though I had more things to do. I guess I could always have more things to do no matter when I left. I know I would find something else that I just had to do before I left. Truth is, I was a little nervous as well. What would it be like to drive so many hours and miles a day? What would the roads be like? Would I be safe with Carli? Would she be okay sitting in a car seat for so long? What if she couldn't deal with the travel? I could go on forever about the questions that ran through my mind. Luckily, I didn't keep myself up wondering about it either. I was so exhausted from running around my house like tornado trying to remember everything that I wanted to bring that I wore myself out.

The next morning came fast. Today was the day we leave! About 7:30 AM it started. Emails, phone calls, text messages from well wishers and curious acquaintences. Seems if you put on your Facebook to check the blog for updates on the road, that really means call early, often and incessantly until I answer the phone. My poor mother got the brunt of my frustration as the one last phone call that morning as I was already delayed by an hour trying to pack my car and leave the house. "Not a good time! Not a good time Mom!" I practically hung up on her. After everything was packed and I had made a trip to the bank and the gas station, we were on our way. It still didn't feel like I was really going anywhere. I couldn't picture the trip. I thought I would really feel like I was embarking on a big adventure. I was certain, I hear some great soundtrack in my head as I started toward the highway. Nothing happened. I was just driving.

Time and miles went by that morning. I was in Bronx, NY before I even realized it. The Bronx is still as ugly and dirty as I remember. I was glad to be on the George Washington Bridge in no time. Carli was as quiet as a mouse in her car seat, watching Curious George and occasionally asking for snacks. In robot-like fashion, I was pulling snack packs out of a bag on the front seat, opening them and passing them back without a word or even taking my eyes off the road.

We saw more rest stops and public bathrooms than I'd care to mention. If you like people watching, rest stops are an endless of supply of interesting people. I love watching crowds and families filter in, getting a sense of what is inside and making decisions on what to do first. Voiceless conversations everywhere in a sea of noise, I imagine what they are talking about. The trip ahead? The trip behind? Vacation or going home? Driving to see family? With a little effort, you can imagine almost any scenario, one that is more interesting than yours. Maybe that is what someone else was imaging about me and Carli. I was so pround of her. She was the perfect little travelling buddy.

Our trip to Baltimore took longer than I anticipated. We arrived at Neil and Channa Basia's house at about 7:30 PM. Neil and Channa Basia are a lovely Orthodox Jewish couple that I know. They migrated to Baltimore from Ipswitch, MA a few years ago and I hadn't seen them in years. Sitting down with them and talking was like we hadn't missed a day. I was so happy to see them and they looked like they hadn't aged a second. Thier Great Dane Liba entertained my Carli for a while but during the last snack on the night of banana and milk, she started to fall asleep in the kitchen chair. I hurried her through her bed time routine but she didn't even stay awake for her story. I was tired too but a little too excited now to sleep.

Today is different. I can't believe how far we've come in just 24 hours. I am in Virginia and headed for Columbia, SC. Now, I feel like we are on an adventure. The uncertainly of travelling with Carli has worn off and I am looking forward to our next stops along the way today. If have never made it appoint to travel around this great country of ours, please stay tuned. You just may be planning that trip pretty soon.

Keep on truckin'

Britt and Carli

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