Saturday, September 20, 2008

On the Road (Again--Sigh)

Just two weeks after one cross-half-country trip, we're doing another one.

The Things gave us a smile

girded up their resolve

and buckled in.

The poor, beleaguered little "bread van" gamely chugged along.

(And it should. I've replaced enough of its parts that there's not much to stop it from being a new mini-van save for the paint job. Oh and all power seats and windows that you don't have to roll down manually and doors that open with a push of a button when you're half a parking lot away. But other than that? It's so there.)

We even rigged up the ultra-posh mini-van with movies look by hooking up the laptop to a charger.

(And in case any of you out there were wondering, if you accidentally drop an audio book case on a keyboard, you stand a good chance of knocking letters clean off. Just a little fyi there.) We then slotted a special cassette into the player

(Yes, you heard me right. A CASSETTE player. This. Van. Is. Old. :) ), hooked it into the laptop and viola! Movies in surround sound and with a screen far larger than those nancy little screens the cool new minis have. We even balanced the laptop perfectly between the two front seats with the laptop bag providing center support. And we felt just too darn clever for words, let me tell you.

I liked all the movies that the kids watched while I was driving, but I discovered that some don't work for the driver of the car. I adore Wallace and Gromit, but visual humor doesn't translate well for the audio listener. Lots of silences with me searching my memory for the funny part that I should be laughing at right then.

Sound of Music, though, was great. LOADS of people gabbling and bursting into song, which is a real help at 11:00 p.m. when everyone else has nodded off and it's either sing along or be reduced to carrying on pointless conversations with oneself (and I do that enough as it is).

WARNING! Never, never, put in the latest version of Pride and Prejudice at 11:45 p.m., thinking it will fill the time until you get to the hotel. I don't care how sexy Mr. Darcy looks striding across a misty field in a great coat (you're driving and not supposed to be peeking at the screen anyway). The music is so soothing and the accents so sweet that before you know it you'll be slamming the last of your soda and waking up a groggy Thing to demand that it talk to you and ask you lots of questions to keep you awake for the last three miles.

Thank goodness for family. Normally we stay with them instead of at a hotel when we reach New York, but this time there was other family there too. Hence the hotel, and a kind offer from grandparents and great-aunts to watch the kids play in the pool so mom could go back to bed, after a nice continental breakfast, and have nice siesta (I felt so multi-cultural, though when you're as mixed race as me, that's really not all that hard).

That of course, meant that we did not leave New York until check out time, which meant we could either do one long days' drive to Maine or stop in New Hampshire and crash at a former student's place. Since Jedediah's now long graduated, he can officially be moved up to good friend. Besides, he had hosted the Stanleys on my wild ride back to the east for an interview earlier this year

and they had played his drum until all hours

and then stolen one of his books.

Three Things after the Stanleys would be a walk in the park.

Jedediah lives in Littleton, New Hampshire. I LOVE Littleon. It's the only place in the US I have ever found that paints instructions for pedestrians to wave thanks to cars that stop for them. People stop to help direct you out of tricky parking lots when your van is loaded and visibility is poor, and manage to hold a entire conversation with you while still saying, "Litta more, deah, litta more. Yah can back up another fahve. Therah. That should do yah." Stop to ask for directions and you'll wind up giving your life history to people who are sincerely interested, or at least you assume they are by the number of questions they ask to keep the conversation going.

But the best thing in Littleon? Some canny yarn and fabric shop owner has guaranteed a way for knitters and crocheters to bring their non-knitting/crocheting partners to the store and keep them there indefinitely, so that the knitter or crocheter can stock up to his or her heart's content.


As long as the partner is interested in Nascar, that is.
I can't tell you how much I wished that shop was opened when we were there.

And so at last, we rolled out of New Hampshire and on into Maine. We didn't go over this

(it's the Pisquata Bridge and the Things always cheer when we cross it going north; it's their way of saying we're back) but instead came up a new way. Appropriate, I guess, as we are going to be in a new town and with a new job.

Now all we have to do is find a house to rent and we can unpack our stash and all will be well. Housing should be easy, right?

1 comment:

Arthur said...

Heidi - I loved your illustrated history of the journey. Have you had any luck finding a house yet?

Arthur (elliotaw)