West Coast Road Trip 2020 (Pandemic Edition) started as a notion in Michael's noggin. He had spent the last few decades selling drum boxes like a maniac at craft fairs all over the country. He had his favorite routes, and HWY 1/101 was one of the tops. COVID 19 had cancelled most of his scheduled fairs, so he suddenly had quite a lot of free time on his hands. On top of that, my mom turned 99 in July 2019, and I had mentioned to Michael that we were going to take her on her annual road trip to New Mexico. I was pretty sure it would be her last trip, ever. Michael decided he wanted to go with us. It was so much fun, we schemed to do another trip. We knew we couldn't wait another year, based on Mom's health situation, so we decided to go as soon as the wildfires had burned out enough to let us pass.
That's right -- we had to scheme to get around vast tracts of burning territory. It was the basic plot of every adventure movie. Or several of them, anyway.
Our best departure time turned out to be the end of October, and that had the extra attraction of putting us on the road and entertaining ourselves with quaint towns and natural wonders during the election. I've posted a day-by-day account of those most excellent distractions. Here are some of my favorite photos.
First from Michael's workshop, which has a 40s sci-fi vibe.
This is where he makes all the cool stuff he sells on his Hardwood Music site. He gets lost in that work for hours, sometimes for days. So he was ready to meet the Morro Bay Coronavirus shark.
I think my favorite town was Cambria. Medusa has her own Mexican food joint there.
I loved the hotel kitties.
The Avenue of the Giants is Amazing.
And who can forget Shark and Chicken?
We found a stylish gal in Tillamook.
All of the Sasquatches we saw were properly masked.
Also the dinosaurs.
This thrift store dog we met was quite adorable.
And this shop cat.
This shot turned out to be the essential road trip pic.
I don't want to leave out Troy, the excellent barista, son of Micah, who was not named after the mineral.
Those are just a few. We started our trip in the afternoon of October 29, and finished it on the morning of November 14. Before we left, I expected the election results would be well-established by the time we returned. They were, as far as I was concerned, but many of the Republicans in congress still have not addressed reality, and Trump is apparently considering declaring martial law. That's not going to work out for him. You heard it here, first.
Anyone who's ever been on a road trip knows one of the first orders of business when you get home is laundry. We had gone thrift-store shopping all the way through the trip, so we had only added to the problem. The pile took a couple of days of diligent attention. At our house, it's also necessary, within the first hour of arriving home, to seek out all of the inconvenient spots that pets have peed and nuke them with cleaner. And of course, there's the traditional run for pizza, and the mail to sift through, and grocery shopping, and notes to take about what needs to be done in the next week.
It's best not to have too many expectations when you're on road trips, because you've just got to let those happen to you if you're going to get the most out of them. Returning home is another matter. Over a month later, I'm still scribbling schemes. I've got a lot to accomplish, like keeping Mom company in her last days. Every night before she goes to sleep, I tell her I love her, because I'm afraid she's not going to wake up in the morning. But really, it's not the worst way to pass out of this world -- in a comfy bed, in your own room with your favorite things around you, knowing that you're loved.
Ernie and Michael and I have more road trips to do. We're going to see this world out of its semi-apocalypse. In her own way, my mom is too.