It's weird driving back across the country. We took 5 days to travel out, lollygagged for a full day in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, then turned around and hit the road at 6am on Monday. Now it's Wednesday at 10am and we're crossing the river dividing the suburbs of Council Bluffs, Iowa from the suburbs of Omaha, Nebraska. (Sorry, I'm too lazy to look up the name of the river.) Ah, now we're in Nebraska. We're about an hour and a half from our eastbound Golden Spike.
Everything seems familiar but backwards. Like deja vu in reverse– vuja de as it were. But the further we go forward, the further back the memories get. When we started our return trip, we were passing things that we'd seen 36 hours ago. Yesterday we passed the Mitchellville, Iowa rest stop where Roberta used Loo as a side table 5 days ago. (He didn't even have a name, then). The golden spike was 6 days ago and now is 1 hr, 17 minutes in our future according to Google Maps. I'm imagining we'll be stopped by an elderly state trooper in Wyoming tomorrow. Will he remember us from his youth?
We're going to reach Wyoming today and spend the night there. Given our trouble there on the eastbound journey, Sara asked me to research the Covid 19 regulations in place and I just spent a bit of time on their DOT website. It's a shame that we're making such good time, because we're going to miss participating in the June 6 festivities.
It's a kind of dreamy existence spending most hours of our days in a noisy, cumbersome vehicle, counting mile markers and spending an inordinate amount of mental energy planning when and how we will fill or empty our tanks (both human and vehicular). In the mornings, the roar of highway and engine is soothing but by the time we pull into our rest stop at night, I feel like I'll go nuts if we don't stop. And although the trip continues to land on the side of enjoyment vs tedium, Westward Hoes is less of a screwball comedy than The Long Goodbye. I can't tell if it's the news (very odd to be driving through states with more Trump billboards than I've seen in my entire life while listening to my snowflake liberal podcasts) or the absence of Roberta (I thought Sara and I talked a lot together until I spent a few days with the two of them and learned what talking a lot REALLY is) or just the length of the trip. The rhythm and monotony evidently lead to run on sentences.
Sara said this morning that this is the first day she's started to look forward to getting home. I think I'm getting there too... and in 76 miles, we'll hit the golden spike westbound– was it Tennyson who said "At the spike, a ho's fancy lightly turn to thoughts of home?"