Thursday, January 15, 2009

There and back again: The musing of 2 long road trips traveled by a lone girl

Well I've been home for almost month from Taiwan. Yes, I have a lot to catch up on, Taiwan, the trip home, Christmas etc... But today I chose to write about my road trip that I took a week after I returned form Taiwan. I decided to drive from Medford, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit old Berhaners, and friends. All by my lonesome I drove over 26 hours though the middle of no where Nevada and Oregon.

Before I left I began my preparation for my trip. For some reason I am a bit paranoid when it comes to driving long distances in Foxy( the name of my 86' VW Fox, I know, its' name is very original). Not that I've had any traumatic experiences in her, but one look at my rusty, leper of a car and you would understand my concern.

I began my check list:

>Sleeping bag
>High caloric snack foods
> Warm clothes
> Flash Light
> Cell Phone

After I have collected all of these things I felt that even if I were to crash my car in to 25 foot snow drift, I would be able to spend a solid week in my car with out problem.

And thus my trip begins.

I'm driving though my Oregon. I know each and every turn and speed trap for at least the next 100 miles. It's foggy and a bit icy as I dive the long and isolated roads though the heart of Oregon. I reach a gap in the dense evergreen forest right before sunrise. The sun peaks between two mountains covered with the deep emerald green that I have been missing. The last traces of fog linger there on the hills, grasping to the needles on the trees. As I look upon this picturesque scene I realize what I have been missing, what Taiwan had not given me this last year. I didn't know how home sick I was until now. I let the tears that from, slowly trickle down my face before I wipe them away and put on my sun glasses against the blaze of the sun.

5 hours and about 4 bathroom brakes later, I'm still driving. Though the scene has changed. I am not longer surround my the tall and slender pine trees that Oregon is know for. I'm driving though the high dessert with not but the tumble weeds and the herd of wild donkeys that I passed to keep me company.

I stop at yet another rest stop, I recognize this one from one the multiple crossings that my family has made though this desolate land. I remember this one because of the water. On the far end of the parking lot there is a pipe that is forever spewing forth water.

In the quite, brown and frostbitten landscape this is truly an oasis of green and sound. I stop here for awhile streching my leg and remincing on the time when my little sister and I stopped here in the summer and tried to convince my mother to let us wade in the water. Though I'm sure she said no, I remmber climbing back into the truck with wet toes and pants up to our knees.

10 hours in and I have depleted my bank of songs to sing to my self: Christmas, Church Hymns, Children Hymns, song from the radio. I am tired of my own voice, and plus it is getting a bit horse. I have even started to talk to myself. Not in a schizophrenic sort of way. I know no one is in the car with me, but what if that stupid ex-boyfriend was here, what would I say, or a friend I haven't seen in along time, what have they been up to? I know that this not the healthiest thing to do, but we do have some pretty good conversations. And then I remember a magical black box sitting in the middle of the dash board. I turn it on and I hear singing, and people talking. All hail the magic of a radio station in the range of my car.

I'm driving though the seemingly unending salt flats and every half an hour I see signs that say," Driving Drowsy is dangerous". Then a place to pull over if you really need a nap. I am tempted to pull over myself, but the draw of the couch at Sara's house holds me till the end.

One week later...

Back on the road once again and everything is backwards. I'm driving toward Winamucka. I remember that I had a seminary teacher that instead of saying hell, when he would come upon it in the scriptures, would say Winamucka. He would he would also say donkey instead of ass, that's pretty righteous when you don't even say the curse words that the Lord uses.

I reach Winamucka and I know this is my last chance for food and gas for the next 250 miles. I stop a supermarkets to pick up some snacks. I decide on Soy Crisps. When the lady checks me out she asks if I need a bag. It's a bag a chips so I say no. But she said" I thought I should ask, but usually people who each stuff like that, use there own". So eating and enjoying a soy based snack from time to time makes me a hippy. Awesome. Well, I am from Oregon, I should really embrace it sooner or later.

It's foggy. Not just sorta foggy but, I don't want to pass the slow moving truck in front of me because I can't see far enough ahead that it feels safe. But just as suddenly as it came it's gone. I look in my rear view and can see the gray wall behind me. I'm tempted to take a picture, but I realize that dangling out of my car a 50 miles an hours is dangerous with other cars on the road at least.

I reach "THE" intersection. The cross roads where I take the one less traveled, and almost devoid of any human presence, except for the satirically placed rest areas. I pass it the first time because I am speeding, I mean really speeding. I don't know how fast I was going because if I go over 30 miles an hour in Foxy my speedometer doesn't work any way. But the needle had gone all the way around and was bouncing on the reset nob for my trip milage.

The road steaches out in front on me, straight, daunting and the end seemingly unreachable. I start to sing and and re-singing each and every song that I sung on the way over. Is it so impossible to think of some thing new?!...impossible... I remember a song, a new song that I hadn't sung on the cross over. The Impossible Dream, Oh the joy something new to sing,.. to sing to sing, la, la, la!

3 hours later, I hate the Impossible Dream. Now that I'm trying to sing something else everything kinda of morfs into that song. BOOO!

On the road this time I take the time to drink in the landscape, instead of cursing it for it's empty spaces. I stop now and again to take a picture to remind myself of how beautiful sparseness could be. The minamlism design of nature.
As I dive up out of the valley that I had been going though at top speed for the last 2 hours I see a pack of wild of horses. Who knew that there are real wild horses in Oregon. I am having a flash back to "The Man from Snowy River" as I walk up to them. They run away and then turn and face me. The big male takes a few steps toward me and snorts loud enough for me to hear. Suddenly I'm envisioning myself being bit and stomped to death by this horse. What a way to go. After all my planing to ensure my safety driving, I never though of how to protect myself from a wild horse. I back away toward the car, but not before I snapped a few pictures.

An hour away from home and I have hit another patch of dense fog, it's that way for the rest of the dive home. Not until I drive up Mount. Roxanne to my family's home do the clouds part and I can see that the lights are still on for me as I pull in the drive.