Going West

We left Hartford heading west. The day was sunny and warm. So far, we were blessed with good weather except traveling through a blinding rain storm in the mountains.

I carried a walking stick, most people thought it was a cane because of the purple heart I received in Vietnam for wounds. The cane had been with me for years. I carried it to White House meetings and events, traveled with it to other countries. I considered it apart of me. In the rush to check out of the hotel room, we didn’t want to pay for another day, it was left in the room. About an hour on the road, I notice it wasn’t in it normal place when I was driving, next to me. I thought Carol might have loaded it in the trunk of the car. No, she thought I had it. I didn’t turn around and go back to get it. It became another change in my life, something else I left behind with friends, family, and a life.

When we got to the Pennsylvania turnpike it was night. Truckers on the CB were rattling off about slow moving cars. They would pull behind a slow moving car, blaring their horns and flash their head lights. They talked about how the cars almost run off the road trying to get out of the away. It is a very scary moment, when a tailer truck is barreling down on you.

The longer we were on the road, the more we saw the sameness in towns. We were surprised how many cities we stopped in had Chinese and Mexican restaurants. What was different was the cities’ history, sometimes it was a local attraction like one place in Ohio that had a tree full of eagles.

We stopped in Springfield and stayed at Carol mother’s house for the night. She was glad to see us, and thought perhaps we had come to our senses and would stay in Springfield. We didn’t feel like we had returned home. It was just a over night stop on our trip.

Took route 55 to St Louis, a route I had driven many times during my state government employment. We bought some lottery scratch off tickets and won couple of hundred dollars. It was right on time, we needed it.

We left St Louis, on Route 70 which would take us all the way to Denver Colorado. In Kansas, we passed fields of bright yellow sun flowers. It was surprising to be driving looking at green fields, then suddenly a field of yellow flowers pop up.

Kansas was flat. There was very little traffic. Carol felt she could drive for a while to help me. We switched seats. It was a bright sunny day, very few cars on the road. I dozed off. The car spinning around in a cloud of dirt woke me up. When the car stopped spinning I could see we were on a off ramp.

Carol told me a trailer truck was tailgating us and another one in the passing lane had her boxed in. She tried to speed up, they speeded up. So she took a 30 miles a hour off ramp, at 80 miles a hour to get away from the big trucks. When she braked, the car hit a patch of loose gravel and started spinning. I looked at the highway, there were no trucks in sight. They had just kept rolling on. She drove another hundred miles before I took the wheel again.

We always thought Colorado was full of mountains, not so in east Colorado. It was wide open flat land, with cattle ranches and farms. Our friends lived in Evergreen Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains foot hills above Denver. We figured we would stay there for a couple of days, enjoy time with our friends, rest and hit the road to Arizona.

Living in a house, you have space to live with another person. Someone could go to another room. Two people in car for days, either you learn how to get along or someone could be sitting on the side of the road. You learn to talk, more important listen to each other.

J Publications, Inc. 2013