Friday, June 23, 2017

                                      The Joys of Extended Travel and the Fallout

     One of the many nerve wracking things about being gone from your home for an extended time is not just the stress of driving in heavy traffic, or in our case, maneuvering a tiny sports car through a tropical storm at night, it is what may greet you when you return. 

     I am always a bit anxious when walking through the door as to what may await. Has the electricity been on the whole time? Are the cupboards warped? Did the few things we left in the fridge spoil and are now creating whole-house-stench? Are the plants dead? Do the toilets work? Is the internet back on? Has the pool overflowed? Is the house smaller than I remembered it? (It is very small). Did someone steal my stuffed bear?

     Fortunately, our dear neighbor friend, Jim, walked through the house a few times and watered the outdoor plants weekly. Bless his heart. He has no idea what peace of mind that gave us. We only had to deal with a few of these issues, with a few pending, so we consider ourselves very lucky.

     Long-term travel is not for the faint of heart, particularly when you plan it yourself. We prefer doing that, as we are not followers, and we don’t like crowds. (Our definition of “crowd” is “more than six people within a 20’ space at one time). We don’t mind the ins and outs of hotels, as we have our system perfected. I have a little one-nighter backpack that weighs about two ounces, and I just throw the basics into it if we’re only staying as a pass-through. No one knows us, so if my hair isn’t perfect, and I’m wearing down-to-earth shoes, no one will know unless I’m stupid enough to post a photo on fb. It really works well. We stay in Hilton properties which offer free breakfast, so we don’t have to search for restaurants. It’s perfect. They also have fitness centers, so if we want to stay fit, the equipment is right down the hall.

      Driving through twelve states and staying in ten, we needed to know exactly how long it would take and where the pit and provision stops would be. The Cracker Barrel brochure is our go-to reference. I used to say I wouldn’t be caught dead in that place, as it only catered to old farts. Well, we are old farts, but the theory is incorrect, anyway. There are families, college kids, and even an occasional dog there, so I have changed my attitude. I only eat breakfast there, as I can’t bring myself to having a regular meal there. Mr. Wonderful has whatever he wishes, but the choice of 16-hour breakfasts is always a good option for me. They also have audio books that help pass the time when you are traveling for days through the scrub and nothing of Montana or New Mexico. It’s all good.

      Last night, after driving through a half hour of blinding rain thirty minutes from home, poor Mr. Wonderful discovered that the internet, phone and TV was not re-activated as the nice lady had promised. Fortunately, we had taken the confirmation number on our way through Pensacola. Apparently, he was up until midnight talking to another nice lady who pulled many strings to finally get our life back. I only found out this morning, as I was long gone by 10:00 p.m.

     Now we brace ourselves for the reality of responsible adults and prepare for the arrival of more family two days from now. Hmm. Do we have sheets? food? I don’t think so. 

     Bottom line:  Would we be gone for more than a month again? Absolutely. I’m already thinking about the itinerary!