3 states in 6 hours
or, “Back East and bus riding has made me a driving pansy”
You’d think for everything being so tiny, it would be easier to get around.
The 6 hrs from Slaterville to Providence, RI, last night, in the rain, were some of the least enjoyable of my life. To be fair, the first 2+ through the hills to Albany were idyllic even for the drizzle. But then the steady rain, the 4,000 double-trailer trucks drenching the windshield on the dark Mass Pike, the grooved road for 10 miles, and the 38 driving decisions to make on the way took their toll. I emerged in downtown Providence stiff, exhausted, strangely noodly, and not ready to do it again Sunday night.
What happened to me?! 6 hours when you’re from TX isn’t even a quarter of the way across the state! It’s a weekend trip to Bishop from Vegas. It’s just a touch more than halfway home from Austin to El Paso. Whipping the 4 hours over to Joshua Tree on the winding Mojave backroads on a Friday night used to be a joy! Not to speak of Salina-El Paso-Crested Butte-Salina or Vegas-Crested Butte-Salina-Iowa City-Cleveland-Slaterville. What gives?
I blame most of the dissolution of my road warriorhood to the 15-hr bus ride from Nairobi to Dar that had me shaking and sobbing and groping in the under-carriage bags for a handful of Ibuprofen when we finally stopped. But it’s also about almost never driving anymore, handing the wheel over to TCAT bus drivers, God bless their winter piloting skills (and 10,000 lbs of bus to grip the road). The rest of it collapsed at approximately 11:36 p.m. June 18, 2009, with that final windshield splash at 65 mph. I finally slowed down, let the speeders pass, and coasted in safe and sound. That’s road warrior enough.
The payoff? I get to visit Blithe
worldwold today, Boston tomorrow, and, if the rain quits, climb the Whitney-Gilman ridge on Cannon Mtn Sunday. Then we drive back home.