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Mom says, “Come Home!”
Now before November of 2013 I expected to spend a nice quiet Christmas and New Year’s Eve at home in Colorado. About the middle of November I had a phone conversation with my mother who would be turning 85 in December. It was during this phone conversation that she asked me to come home for Christmas. My mom does not really ask for a very much, and I knew that this journey was something that I had to make. She has been having more and more problems getting around, and I knew that I could help around the house if only for a few weeks. Since my work schedule will allow, such as it is, I decided that this was the best time to take matters into my own hands and do something that I had always wanted to do: a cross-country road trip.
The best time to begin a cross-country road trip is probably in April or May rather than in December. The first thing I started to do was to reserve a rental car through Enterprise for the trip. You may ask why Enterprise? The answer is easy: Enterprise will pick you up and drop you off. For someone who is single this is a very important point when renting a car. The hassles of trying to find someone to drop you off are taken off the table and one headache is alleviated from the program. The next thing that came to mind was to watch the weather patterns from west to east. The month of December can be one that is very spring-like or it can be one where there are patterns of heavy snowfall and cold throughout the month. I had extreme foresight when I reserved my car that the weather pattern was perfect for a cross-country trip. The weather stayed about 50°most of the way across the country and only got bitterly cold as I was going through Chicago and Indiana.
A good travel companion is a MUST!
Taking a cross-country trip by yourself puts the entire onus on you if anything should go wrong. If you were to find yourself in a bad weather situation, it would be you and the car against the elements. To turn the odds in my favor I did not make this trip alone. My trusty companion Derek, my three-year-old Corgi, made the entire trip with me. This brings to mind the movie from the 1970s that starred Art Carney, Harry and Tonto. Art, as Harry, takes a cross-country road-trip to Chicago with his trusty pal and confidante Tonto the Orange Tabby! Having someone to make the trip with you is much preferable to going it alone. Derek was the best travel companion I could hope for. We had great conversations, we had stops along the way, we had a kinship and a friendship that was heightened and fostered by our shared experience in traveling across the country. I usually took a stop about three or 4 hours into the journey in order for both Derek and I to stretch, use the facility, and recharge the batteries for the rest of the trip.
Crazy for Adventure
Many of my friends told me that I was crazy to do this especially in the wintertime. I saw this as a challenge and a test. Life is not for the meek, and testing yourself at various points along the way is what makes the human experience that much more enriched and exciting. There were some scary parts to this trip as well. When we caught a few hours sleep at a rest-stop along the way, in Indiana, a panhandler tapped on the window for a handout. At 2:00 PM this would not be a problem, at 3:00 AM this is not something you want happening on your journey. There was no reason for actual fear, and I gave the panhandler some money and then continued on my journey. Derek and I also made a video account of our stops along the way and I’ve included a video portion embedded in this blog post. There will be more videos on this journey to come and also future blog posts.
The point of this blog post is that staying in your comfort zone is not a complete recipe for success. Take a risk, do something different, try the unexpected because it may be the best thing you’ve ever done in your life.
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