Blog 1 : "On the Road Again"

Introit                                                                                                         15 October 2013

Many months ago we contracted the Oaxaca house this year from November 15. Planning to drive down, we committed ourselves to a two day talk-fest in Arkadephia AK on October 26-27th and we tentavized an event in Sewanee TN on the 18th. So even though in Kingston the frost is not yet on the pun’kin, the maples out along stone wall in back of the house are wearing more green than red, the last planting of snap peas are just beginning to pod and the pole beans are still producing a potful every two days, it was time to fold it down and go.

Over the last two weeks Linda and I have made the rounds of doctors A, B, C, and D and got all the relevant body parts prodded, measured, assayed, cleaned, and tinkered with. We were granted the medical nihil obstats (though a couple of them had codicils) that we interpreted as a mandate to continue planning. We successfully—eventually—badgered the insurance companies to authorize the poundage of pills we need to get us through the next six months. We let the banks and credit card companies know where we will be and when so that they will not, in the interest of caution, suddenly stop payment on our accounts when a claim for a breakfast in Tamazunchale or a hotel in Ixtapan de la Sal pops up on their computer. We returned library books, took off-line our various items for sale, matched portable electronic devices for the trip with their correct umbilical recharging cords, packed the freezer tight and emptied the fridge.


A week ago we printed off the most recent version of the car-packing list (it has been evolving, trip by trip, since at least our drive to Panama in ... ’93?). Boots, Keenes, six pairs of socks, four pairs of gloves for Linda, two formal shirts, NO ties ... a peeler and serrated knife for the picnic kit, compass and corkscrew, some clothes pins ...


Over the years, as our meds and appliances have expanded, our vehicles have shrunk from Dodge Caravans to a Honda CRV. Still, our cargo needs tend to balance out. We used to pack a stack of CDs; now we load five thousand songs and a few audio books onto an I-pod that plays over our car radio. Though we used to have to truck a couple of boxes of research files and photocopies of documents, now we only slip a couple of flash drives into our pocket; and some of the documents we use are available digitized on line. Too bad the zip drives won’t hold my binoculars, field guides, telescope and tripod; and it’s too bad we can’t digitize the five or six miles of yarn that Linda is planning to knit into scarves and sweaters and tunics.


It is always the same equation that stymies us: CLW + I  = 1.5CS (where CLW are Can't-Live-Withouts, I are Impedimenta, and CS is Cargo Space). Once we have assembled all the proposed lugalongs —David in his study, Linda in the bedroom, and both of us on every flat surface in the house, we begin a week of intensive negotiation. Four shirts instead of five? One packet of matza-ball mix instead of two? Maybe instead of a coat, a thicker sweater to wear under the windbreaker? Do we really need shoes? For both feet?


Except for overnight bags, we’ve long since given up on suitcases, preferring to pack instead into transparent plastic storage boxes. Four of them 2 x 2, fit snugly into the back of the CRV along with an umbrella, the red triangle, and the fold-up sun shade for the dashboard. The picnic box and the map box, both transparent plastic, sit on the back seat. Any curious eyes that peer into the car, whether or not they have larceny on the mind, can see immediately that David & Linda are carrying nothing worth stealing. Meds, electronics, toiletries, and the like, hide in the overnight bags and go into the hotel with us every night. And, after all, when it comes down to it, our drafts and key data are in the cloud, the pills that keep me alive are in my pocket, and all the rest is just things.


Departure minus two days we vacuumed the car for the first time in at least 6 months: Linda found an onion ring that she believes had gone missing in April. Departure minus one day we combed through the house one more time, washed the last load of laundry, set the timers on the lamps in three rooms, and, so as not to soil the kitchen, went over to our liver-in-laws for dinner of veggie leftovers.


Tuesday morning, October 15, at only seven minutes past our proposed launch time of 8:00, we closed the back hatch of the CRV, turned right out of the driveway, and pointed the car at Mexico. Southern Rhode Island’s fall color was at its peak, but there was a hint of winter nip in the air. A couple of monarch butterflies floated past us, headed for the coast, dreaming of the pine-covered mountains of Angangueo in Michoacán.


Posted in Cape May, New Jersey, October 16.

David & Linda

 Cape May 131016 (L) D & scope 1 copy.jpg                     

            Cape May 131016 pond, swans, lighthouse copy.jpg

Cape May 131015 Lighthouse 2 birds copy.jpg