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Cayman Blogger
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I'm finally back where I started my trip just under 3 months ago, sitting in the one air conditioned room in my sweltering apartment. The weeks of rain, fog, cold and snow across the North seem so nice thinking back on them now. I can't decide what I miss more, violently shivering in flip flops and a t-shirt while snapping a quick picture on some snowy pass or being soaked through to my underwear from cold, torrential rain. I'd take either right now.

I probably won't be sharing any big realizations from my trip until I've had some time to process, but I can share one little life lesson with you that I've learned in the couple days I've been home: the only thing in my life (and probably yours) that thrives on neglect is an orchid. My refrigerator and freezer have died, my other car was dead with flat tires (but I got it up and running again yesterday), my plants (other than my orchid which is more beautiful than it has ever been) are all more dead than alive (apparently having a friend swing by once in a while to water them wasn't enough), and finally, my local love life is non-existent (if it wasn't for all that love on the road, I'd be feeling pretty sorry for myself right about now). I think the take-away is that if you want to achieve a positive result by completely neglecting something, make sure you're dealing with an orchid and not a car, an appliance or a girl. What this lesson lacks in depth, it more than makes up for in opportunities for practical application.

My apartment did not fare well either (never seen so many dust bunnies in my life) and I have been cleaning, doing laundry and running errands for days trying to avoid dealing with my livingroom, which is filled with boxes I sent home along the way, each with a teetering pile of mail (mostly bills) on top. Every time I walk past my livingroom and see all those boxes it reminds me of the clerk at the motel I stayed at my first night on the road in Rehoboth Beach, DE. I told him about the trip I was setting off on and he started telling me about a similar trip he had done in college (about 35 years ago). He spent a solid half an hour telling me where I had to go and what roads I had to drive before he finally asked, "what are you drivin' on this trip? Ya got a good truck?"
Me: "um, no, I'm actually driving that little porsche out there" (pointing at my car through the window)
Him: (looking at my car for a minute then at the floor shaking his head) "no, young lady, you can't do it in that thing, no way."
Me: (laughing a little) "I know, I know, my trunk space is already completely full and I'm definitely a little nervous about blowing a tire at some point, but the whole point of the trip is to do it in this car because I just love it so much that I'm always happy when I'm in it."
Him: (deadly serious, still slowly shaking his head and staring at the ground while he thinks) "Yep, yer gonna have to sell that thing and get yerself a truck. You can't do the kinda trip yer talkin' about in that thing. Nope, gonna have to get a truck."
He then proceeded to outline the three main reasons I couldn't do the trip in my car and needed to sell it and buy a truck before I went any further: (a) storage for all the souvenirs I would pick up along the way, (b) unpaved roads all through the west and (c) the weather I would inevitably hit (from snow to hail storms).

Well, I have to hand it to Porsche, everything Mr. Buy a Truck warned me about happened, from getting stuck on treacherous dirt roads where I was constantly bottoming out because the ruts were so deep, to getting caught in torrential rain storms, snow storms and the wild storm (complete with hail and tornados) outside chicago, and my car never let me down once. As for the paces I put it through, from breaking 140 repeatedly in an afternoon, to swerving at 120 to avoid a lawnmower in the middle of the passing lane somewhere en route to Palo Alto, to bottoming out so violently in Marfa, I still never found the limits of my car, it took everything in stride. As for the storage factor, you really don't need much if you know how to mail things. All in all, I'm glad I didn't sell my car and buy a truck because the trip wouldn't have been half as much fun and the few nicks my car has from the trip (mostly from debris ricocheting off it during the storm outside Chicago) are a small price to pay for all the fun I had and the stories and memories I will have for the rest of my life.

I'm going to be focusing less on blogging and more on writing my book and finding a job over the next few months, but I'll keep you posted on my progress and any good stories that I remember as I write. I just have to say, to all the amazing people that I met on this trip and all the people who sent me such thoughtful emails along the way, thank you. Turns out, the best part of this journey wasn't the driving, the scenery, the music, the food or even all that love on the road...it was honestly just realizing how many incredibly nice, caring people are out there in every corner of this country. From the total strangers who offered to make me a home cooked meal or put me up for the night, to the ones that pulled over to make sure I was okay when I pulled off the side of the road to snap a picture, let alone the hundreds who bought me a drink or two along the way, the kindness and generosity of total strangers never ceased to amaze me over the course of my trip. Even more amazing to me, is that I have no doubt that a few of those once total strangers, will be friends for life...just an added bonus of driving with gusto.



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Premium Member
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10,402 Posts
Welcome home and thank you for sharing your adventure with us!
 

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Porscheholic
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724 Posts
It was a pleasure to meet you and drive some distance with you. Although I would have enthusiastically bought you a drink or a few in Seattle, you might not have met the cast of characters that Seattle has to offer.

I think what we get from the news is so negative it gives a polarized view of life. What I have discovered in my travels (domestic and international) is that there are more human beings willing to help others than harm. That said, I am not naive in being wary of jerks out there. At the end of the day, it is a very small world with people who may speak different languages or have diverse cultures but have similar tenements of needs and cares. And that is Hope.

Internalize your experiences and do something hopeful with them.
 
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