Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Traveling with Ty

If you've read any of my posts, you'll know that I'm a big ol' scaredy cat. When I was younger, it was even worse. I was one of those types of people who wore a watch and checked it constantly - even if I didn't have to be anywhere. I arrived everywhere at least 15 minutes early, just in case I had to fight off ninjas who were trying to cause trouble. If I was going on a trip somewhere, I'd have the entire map planned out. With contingency routes. I tried to leave absolutely nothing to chance.

Thankfully, that all changed in the early 80s when I took a road trip with my middle brother, Ty. We decided to drive out to California taking back roads all the way. We had 3 weeks and wanted to make the most of it. On the day of our departure, I made sure my watch was in good working order, that my travelers checks were safely stowed (because you know, someone might steal my wallet) and that I had about a dozen road maps at the ready. We drove all the way to the western edge of Texas before stopping for the night, and I must have consulted our route on the map(s) at least 50 times. I even marked how far we had traveled with a highlighter! About every 20 miles. You get the idea.

Now, Ty is the type of guy who doesn't worry about a thing. His philosophy is "I'll get there when I get there", and "Why not go down a road I've never gone down? I might find something cool." He's cool as a dang ol' cucumber. Just the way I'd like to be. We didn't have a planned stop for the night so I was starting to get a little uncomfortable when the sun started going down and we didn't have a fully furnished campsite with a hot meal already cooking. I was rapidly scanning the map in an attempt to find the perfect place to stop. We ended up at a really cool place called Bottomless Lakes State Park. And you know what? We managed to pitch our tent in the near darkness and round up some grub to eat and still have time to explore the lakes! Whew, we dodged a bullet on that one.

For the next week or so, we crisscrossed our way across the U.S. and saw some awesome scenery. Sometime during the trip, I had a moment of insanity and I took off my watch and put it in the glove box. It was sort of liberating in a anxiety-riddled way. Some evenings, we'd misread the sunset and end up having to pitch our tent in the dark. Other evenings, we would not be able to round up enough firewood to actually cook a meal so we ate some pretty gross stuff.

Speaking of gross food, one memorable night I had planned to cook some chicken breasts. I found some wood and started the fire, only the wood wouldn't burn too well. And it smelled funny. The fire put out some really horrible black, oily smoke and it was making the chicken turn funny colors so I got the bright idea to fry it in a pan. I figured I couldn't put bare breasts in a dry pan so I added some corn oil. Only, I lost my balance when I was pouring it and ended up sloshing about a cup & 1/2 of the stuff in the pan. At this point, my stomach was growling pretty loudly and I was getting really grumpy so I decided to heck with it, we'd eat whatever would cook. Our dinner ended up being black, sooty, oily, fried chicken and chips. It was really gross. Oh, and by the way, the wood I was cooking on????? It was cedar. Anyone who knows how to grill knows that cedar is NOT the type of wood you want to cook over. Ever.

Half way through our trip we landed in San Francisco. At this point I was feeling pretty smug because I was a laid back world traveler without (many) worries. We didn't have a hotel picked out beforehand, so we drove around and found one to our liking. We stopped on the side of the road and I waited while Ty went in to reserve our rooms. While I was waiting, I was looking at another car parked by us and suddenly all holy hell broke loose. A HUGE dude came storming out of the hotel lobby and went up to that other car and started screaming at the driver to move. He reached in through the window and grabbed that poor driver by the neck and practically yanked him out of the window! Apparently, that other car was in a loading zone and the "bouncer" wanted him out of the way. Since this is a PG site, I won't use the words that best describe how scared I was. Suffice it to say it was something like "scared sitless". Anyway, I didn't get yanked out of the window by my neck and was allowed to proceed to my room.

Later we went to the airport to get the hubster and friend and that's when the second event happened. Before going down the concourse to claim our peeps, Ty decided to respond to the call of nature. I waited for him to come out. For about 65 hours or so it seemed. My psychotic mind started thinking that maybe, he had exited the restroom and took off without me. OH NO!!! I was stranded in the San Francisco airport all alone!!!! How would I ever get home? Alone? O.  M.  G. life was over. Just to be sure that I had indeed been abandoned, I decided to yell into the bathroom to see if Ty was still in there. I called his name once, twice, three times to no avail. By this time, I was walking around in circles, crying a little bit and pulling my hair. I had myself worked into a good little tizzy. Of course, he came strolling out shortly afterwords and gave me a good talking down to. He pointed out that even if he did walk off and leave me and head down the concourse, he still had to walk back out! And I'd see him then. That was a life changing moment. I realized what a stupid scaredy cat I was and how much time I was wasting, worrying about stuff I couldn't change. It was like a light bulb went off over my head.

For the rest of the trip, we had a great time travelling unplanned routes, sometimes pitching our tent in the dark, going hungry a few times and facing challenges as they happened. I'll have you know, I haven't worn a watch since that trip over 20 years ago. And I like nothing more than going down roads, not knowing where they lead just because I can. And I have never purchased another travelers check since then.

Amen and hallelujah!

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