The U.S. Side of the Vacation


2016-06-14 – We are on vacation! We left the boys and the animals to mind the house and took off on a road trip. Yay! Only the second time since the boys were born that we’ve gone off on our own.

We’ve never been big on travel preparation. We’re free spirits. We point our sails (or whatever it is you point) at a destination and go. We learn what there is to see and do on the fly. In the old days (before Internet) we might have bought a book about the destination. With Internet, we don’t even do that. We can ask Siri about what’s in the vicinity. Or we can stop and ask real people.

The one bit of preparation that is needed these days is making sure you have all your meds. This may seem like a simple thing, but the insurance company doesn’t like you filling prescriptions early. So if your script is going to run out while you’re gone, it could be a problem. For one of my meds, the refill window didn’t open until the day before we left. I was lucky. My other five meds were filled. (Or is it six? I can never remember.)

Technology has another impact on our trip. In the old days, we used to look at the scenery as it passed by. Today, with cell phone cameras, you have to document it. You can’t really get good pictures out the windshield because of all the deceased insects there. So you are confined to what you can capture out the side windows. That means that Kit and I are having entirely different vacations, though we are in the same car. She went to Mexico and I went to Canada.

At lunchtime we switch. Then she’s in Canada and I’m in Mexico.

The reason for the switch is that I get drowsy in the afternoons. So we have a deal. I always drive ante meridian and she drives post meridian. Years ago, before I developed the drowsiness problem, we had a different agreement about driving. She would drive east of the Continental Divide and I would drive west of it.

We agreed on this division of labor on a road trip to LA many years ago. That gave me driving duties in the mountains and LA, both frightening experiences. But since we live in Chicago, that let me off the hook most of the time.

Our destination in Eureka, MT, a town in northwestern Montana, near Glacier National Park. It’s a long drive. A long drive. Through Illinois. Through Iowa. Through South Dakota. Through Wyoming. Three long days of driving.

At the end of each day the sun breaks through the clouds and glows in the grasses and wildflowers that line the highway. But only on the Mexican side of the vacation.

* * *


The world doesn’t stop when you are on vacation.

We’ve been driving without listening to the radio. But we turned it on for about five minutes. An NPR report from Orlando.

Trying to figure out whether a shooter was a terrorist or merely a deranged maniac from “our side”? Are those two different things?

I started to cry and Kit shut off the radio. On the U.S. side of the vacation.

* * *

Saw a rainbow yesterday evening in the sky over Billings, MT as we left the Boot Hill Inn to get dinner.

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