Bridge Out on Memory Lane

In the movies, when the long-lost father/mother/brother/sister/whatever crosses paths with their kin, directors show us the visceral connection. Look in their eyes; they know something just happened. Nice for story lines, but no connection to reality.

3-Week Itch

Writing music always pulls emotions up closer to the surface. Weather changes make me happy. Or sad. Depends on what changes and how. Listening to my older daughter’s music is always emotional.

But really, I think what I’m feeling today is the 3-week itch.

We’ve noticed as we travel that when we land somewhere for a while, at about the 3-week mark, we start to get itchy feet. Fiona starts asking “When are we going to drive again? I’m tired of being in houses.” Sue starts looking for places to go; organising events and coming up with reasons to be on the go, on the road.

stones glow, shadows grow, I have to goMe? I just get fidgety, cranky, and distracted.

We love being here in Arizona. Terry and Virgie are even more dear than they were before we came. Nothing is wrong.

I just wanna leave.

Songwriters have used the wind as a metaphor (or maybe it’s a simile) for ages. Some of us live our lives knowing we have to see what’s around that bend, over the hill, across that river or in the next little town.

I can’t see that from inside a house. Adventure isn’t parading past our door looking for me.

Nomads don’t settle. Nomads move; we’re made from the wind and the sea and the sky, and precious little earth.

I’m a whirling flowing wind that needs to blow.

Wind on the Kansas Plains, Ice in the Colorado Mountains

How does anyone know when there’s a cyclone in Kansas? The wind blew 70 MPH the whole time we were there. Also, there was snow in Kansas, and snow and ice in Colorado. For some reason I can’t get it through my head that if Denver is over 5,000 feet up, the mountains around it must be over 7,000 feet. There might, in fact, be snow and ice in late November, especially at night.

We almost turned back an hour from Denver, 10 hours into an 11-hour day. When I decided that one more climb to a higher elevation just wasn’t worth the risk, we started down the other side.

Driving Through Coronado

Coronado is my favorite part of San Diego. The historic Hotel del Coronado was the largest wooden building in the US when it was built more than a century ago . . . and it still is, today. Then we cross the enormous Coronado Bridge, completed and opened in July of 1969, the month before my family moved to San Diego.

The ‘zippers’ I keep talking about in the video are two machines that move large concrete blocks from one side of the middle lane to the other side on the bridge. It’s a 5-lane bridge, so in the morning, it’s 3 lanes inbound to San Diego, 2 lanes into Coronado. Late in the morning, the two zipper-mobiles drive across the bridge. As the front of the vehicle comes to the concrete block, the block is lifted on a conveyor under the machine, then dropped off at the opposite corner of the zipper. Each one is only long enough and wide enough to move the blocks half a lane, so the two travel in mated pairs, moving the blocks across the entire center lane twice each day. It’s fun to watch; the weirdest mix of high tech and low tech I’ve seen.

The incidental music is “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” from ELO’s “Eldorado”

I Want to Live at the Edge of a Lake

After an event we drove around Lac Davignon. The causeway across the lake, the trees along the shore, the houses reflecting in the rippled surface . . . it’s a memory I wanted to keep.

We weren’t talking about anything of consequence so I dropped in three of my songs which almost fit within the 10 minutes of the video. Since I didn’t bother listing them in the video . . .

  1. You In My Arms
  2. Pax Aurora
  3. In a Midnight Sky

Federal Illinois Food

Fiona gets a little impromptu home schooling. Of course, 90% of her schooling is impromptu. It’s not hard teaching an insatiably curious child who reads at college level and loves to talk.

Okay, sometimes it’s hard, like trying to define words in a way she’ll take away and care about. Thank you, Charles Handy, for a usable definition of ‘federal’ I can share.

Montreal 10th (and Final) Leg: Ottawa to Montreal

Note to self (#61)—Two weeks is not nearly enough time to cross two countries.

Note to self (#62)—When you’re rushing across two countries in only two weeks you have, like, zero time to get to know the amazing, generous, wonderful people who’ve made it possible; not just possible, but heart-filling good.

The drive through Montreal was a lot like driving through a big city, even though we only skirted the south side. I lost track of miles and time and finally just couldn’t wait, so we stopped at an information center to use the bathroom. Nicole was extremely friendly and helpful. We helped ourselves to the basket of free local apples.

As we walked out I asked Sue how much further it was; it seemed like we should have less than an hour. She said “The last two measurements just say ‘m’ instead of a distance; like, we go up here 40m, then up another 120m and we’re there.”

Um, that’s like, we could probably see their house from where we were standing. I coulda waited.

We arrived just as Cristina’s oldest was getting home from school so they were standing outside as we drove by. They were still standing outside as we turned around and actually pulled into the driveway.

And so, we’re here. As soon as I resurface from the mountain of work that’s built up, I promise we’ll share more about the tactics and strategies that made the trip work (and the ones we’re bagging because they were hopeless) and tell you all about how to make it work when 8 people (half of them young children) share a single bathroom.

Montreal 6th Leg: Sioux Falls to Rice Lake

Another short driving day, but boy we could stand to get out early.

We woke up at 7 despite the 4 days of driving and the time change. Bedrooms are downstairs, kitchen et al up, so we went upstairs and watched Mimi make bread. Whole wheat with other grains, honey instead of sugar, specially shaped loaves for my dining fun. It’s good stuff.

I asked about a tire pressure gauge, and one of her sons found the gauge, checked the tires, aired up the rear tires, and reported his findings to me. I love it when people teach their kids to be good citizens; tells you a lot about their parents.

Sue drove, because I woke up with a headache. After a hot shower, coffee (which I only drink for headaches) and a nap, I felt pretty good, but weak and shaky. We ate two whole loaves of bread as we crossed Minnesota, then stopped in St. Paul to mail a card to a friend who grew up there but lives in Roseville now.

Before we left the grocery store I called my Mom and asked “How long does it take to get to Rice Lake from St. Paul?” and when she said 3 hours I said “So, we’ll be there about 7:30” and she said “Tonight?!?! Do you have money for a hotel?” I laughed. She didn’t.

Minnesota in the fall is glorious. We stopped to let Fiona look at the river and trees, and drove on into the darkening forest and lake lands toward the place of my birth.

WIsconsin is also beautiful, even if nobody can pronounce it unless they’re from there. We rolled into Rice Lake about 9:00, and for the first time in her life, Fiona met her Gramma Mumsie.

We’ll be here two days, but it’s clear we’ll need to come back and stay longer to enjoy the beautiful lake and city and to spend time listening to Mom’s stories and watching movies and helping her find a little joy in life. I’d forgotten how good it feels to be with one of the few people who knows exactly who and what I am and loves me unconditionally, just as I am.

Montreal 5th Leg: Rapid City to Sioux Falls

Denver and Diane both had to be in Rapid early, so they took off before we were up and asked us to meet them in town for breakfast. When we got there Diane’s appointment had been postponed a bit so we went to Starbucks and got some work done, including Phase I of a client job Sue really needed to wrap up that day, while we were traveling.

When Diane was delayed for the third time she asked us to go eat without her, so we ate chicken fried steak and omelets with Denver and talked ’til noon. Not exactly an early start, but we only had 6 hours to Sioux Falls.

Except, we weren’t going to Sioux Falls, we were going an hour north of Sioux Falls. Oh, and then, the time changes halfway across the state. Then we had to stop multiple times trying to find wireless access in the tiny towns crossing the plains.

But we did it.

Sue finished the client job, as she always does, to shouts of praise and thanks from her client, and her client’s client. We crept into Arlington, South Dakota late in the dark, and, for a second time, missed meeting Mimi’s husband. We did meet her kids, who, like all the kids we’ve met on this trip, were smart, polite, fun, and helpful.

We talked about baking bread in the morning and crashed on couches.