Friday, December 08, 2006

Road trip proves to be a gas

By Ryn Gargulinski

They say the best part of the journey is the journey itself, not the destination.
I’m not sure who “they” are, but I’ll bet they’ve never taken a road trip.

My latest jaunt took me some 1,300 miles from the blustery Pacific Northwest to the desert heat of Arizona, mainly to get out of the rain.

Of course, on departure day, Oregon’s sun blasted as bright as that North Star thing with mild temperatures and a gorgeous blue sea. This same phenomenon happens to hair on the day of a haircut – it looks perfect.

Since the new Tucson digs were paid for, my puke gold couch already packed and the U-Haul blocking most of the neighbors’ driveways for several days, we went anyway.

I must clear up that “we,” unlike “they,” is a known variable. Kind of. My driver was a Michigan high school friend I hadn’t spoken to for 18 years who agreed to fly clear across the country to drive clear across the country just so I wouldn’t smash the U-Haul into a redwood.

I like this man.

It helped he, like my cousin, is one of those road trip junkies. Next year this guy will be trekking through Alaska in his Volkwagen bus and zooming through Ireland on a Harley.

I told you I like this man.

I want to guffaw about our journey’s tribulations, but there really weren’t any.

Except the way my dog, who quakes in terror when I move one of his bed pillows, took to the truck cab like a king, even hogging all three seats and sleeping like a baby.

This meant he was up all night keeping us awake with his motel symphony of panting, licking and scratching.

Or maybe the place called Ashland, Ore., that didn’t mention it was Mt. Ashland with a 4,000-foot elevation that tested the limits of a three ton truck towing a half ton car at a 90 degree angle up snowy peaks.

Or perhaps the rest stop in Gormon, Calif., where the gas pump took nearly an hour to fill the truck and the bathroom line even longer.

Other than that, it was a breeze.

We didn’t even get a flat tire in Albuquerque or stuck in a rock slide, two thorns in my New Mexico trip to the West Coast when my cousin, also from Michigan, was driving.

The only damper on the Arizona jaunt was the weather upon arrival. Sure, the sun blazed for two days in welcome.

On the third day it rained.

While this will thoroughly amuse all those I left behind in Oregon, it was more ironic than depressing and the shower lasted roughly 32 minutes.

That same evening, however, the desert heat turned into a “hard freeze” warning with the shelter hitting emergency mode.

But this teaches some lessons.

Don’t chuck the faux leopard coat just because the move is to Arizona.

Feed the dog sedatives in the motel room.

And definitely get a driver. I heard there are some good ones in Michigan.

This essay originally appeared in the Dec. 1, 2006, issue of Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico.

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