I suppose we really can’t predict the future and can only experience the present when it is upon us, but I have to say, I really had some major misconceptions about life on the road. Here is my litany of delusions and facts:
#1: I had visions of gobs of time for reading. To this end, I downloaded four books onto my Kindle app. In reality, I have about 10 minutes at night before bed and my eyes close and I fall asleep. This is similar to my routine during the school year which is why it takes me so bloody long to finish a book (sorry book club!). Happily, I’m reading John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charlie which is his narrative about traveling from East to West and back again with his pet poodle, Charlie He moves at a faster clip than we do, but we overlapped briefly here in Montana. Like me, he loves the state and wished he had more time. One thing I’ve learned from him is that whiskey seems to help in most questionable situations. If he encounters an aggressive, angry type he breaks the barriers by offering fresh brewed coffee and “a little something to make it interesting.” This seems to do the trick in solving most problems. I’m thinking I might pick up a bottle, just in case.
One of the many support crew duties, cleaning the BBQ
#2: Taking up running. I bought a new pair of running shoes foolishly thinking I’d have lots of time to exercise. I knew I wouldn’t be hitting the gym, and running is an efficient and cheap way to get the heart rate up. In truth, I’ve only “gone for a run” twice – in three weeks.
#3: Hiking. I had visions of visiting lots of trails, especially over the passes. In preparation for all these hikes through bear infested forests, I purchased a large can of bear spray, just to be safe. Fact: two hikes, no bears.
#4: Planning awesome units, lessons, projects for next school year. You know, the ones which take thoughtful foresight to create really inspirational and meaningful activities which will make me the best 6th grade teacher ever! I brought along several important, and I might add heavy, books to aid my self-motivated professional development. Truth: see #1.
#5: Driving through pastoral, quiet, country roads. These country roads were to allow me time to remember Walt Whitman’s poetic insights and fashion my own while overlooking the vast beauty of this country. Fact: Highway 2 is fast and I have to pay attention to Google’s directions. It’s fortunate that I’m driving a truck and only have to go 60 mph verses cars which are instructed to go 70. I did have a sense of accomplishment when I passed my first vehicle. Some might say that passing a tractor doesn’t count, but I say pat your back when you can.
#6: Journal writing. Perhaps it’s fortunate that I lost my journal 5 days into the trip. I believe it slipped into the garbage which is maybe where it belonged all along.
#7: Biking. Yes, I brought my “mom” bike hoping that upon arriving at our destination with hours to spare, I’d hop on my bike and ride to the local country market on Main Street to purchase necessary groceries. Truth – The poor thing hasn’t even been taken off the rack the entire trip. It sadly watches the world go by from the rear while collecting mountains of dirt and dust and is probably ruined from neglect.
#8: Daily, witty, and thought provoking blog quips about the adventure. Reality: One a week and of questionable quality.
The Rig Driver