I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out a way to wrap up this blog. I meant to do my final post last week but then a combination of laziness and busyness got in the way.
Quick recap on the drive from Jackson Hole, WY back to Oakland, CA… The first day’s drive to Elko, NV was fine. The route took me primarily through Idaho. I hit insane wind (big surprise) heading south on Hwy 93 once I crossed into Nevada. Other than that, no issues. Elko to Oakland was supposed to take 7 1/2 hours. It ended up taking me almost 9 hours. And it was painful. I hit crazy wind, rain, snow, hail and horrific traffic going through Sacramento and again between Davis and Dixon. But at 4:30pm, I got to my friend Jason’s place and all was right with the world. Juno dive bombed the bed and I took care of feeding a random feral cat that sits on the roof of the bungalow every night waiting to be fed.
I spent a couple of days in Oakland catching up with friends, hitting some of my favorite haunts, grocery shopping at Berkeley Bowl (best grocery store EVER!!), getting Juno groomed and going running in my old ‘hood. But the best part was sitting in Jason’s hot tub every night. I cranked it up to 102 degrees and after all the driving, it was pure heaven.
I’ve been back in Carmel-by-the-Sea since last Thursday and got right to work unpacking the MoHo and settling back in at my mom’s place. My friends Chris and Mary (whose house I stayed at last year when I kicked off the first trip) were down from Healdsburg so I got to spend some time with them on Father’s Day. This is crazy but I’ve known them for nearly 27 years… Juno is also happy to be back – getting strolls on the beach and playing with his toys.
I started back at Foxy Couture earlier this week and it’s awesome being back at the shop, styling the mannequins, reconnecting with clients and checking out all the fab new Chanel bags that have come in since I’ve been away. Plus it’s fun getting dressed up again!
For those of you who are wondering whether there will be a third road trip in the MoHo, the answer is no. I’m actually selling the MoHo to my friend Dave (he and I crossed paths last year in South Dakota and he loved the Roadtrek) – I will be delivering it to him next month. BUT! This doesn’t mean I won’t hit the remaining states at some point… Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina ( I don’t necessarily have to do Florida and Louisiana since I’ve been to both states many times over the years). Most likely, I will fly into one place, rent a car (or an RV), drive around and then fly out of another place. Maybe this will happen next year – maybe the year after. And then there’s still Alaska… But I will absolutely see all 50 states before I turn 50. That’s the new and improved goal.
So it’s time for final thoughts and observations. The first observation is that people are comfortable with what they know. When driving through the south and being confronted with scary tornado and flash flood warnings, I’d remark to people I met that I much prefer earthquakes as my choice of natural disaster. Of course they would respond how awful earthquakes are and how they’d take tornadoes and/or flooding any day. See what I mean? It’s all about comfort level! After a lifetime in California and 20+ years in the Bay Area, I am used to earthquakes and fog. 65-68 degrees is my happy place. The kind of weather where you should bring a sweater, just in case. And sunglasses too, just in case. I love traveling to hot places and cold places – I just don’t want to live in any place that has extreme weather. And humidity? Hard pass.
I said this when I wrapped up the first leg of my American journey but I want to reiterate that America is full of wonderful people. With all the amazing places I visited, nothing compared to the people I met along the way. Every day I met someone new and it was a joy to spend time talking to people about the places they live and getting recommendations on things I should do. I want to take this opportunity to thank all my old friends that put me up along the way and to thank all the new friends I met for their hospitality and kindness.
Now here’s the big revelation… Before I started on this journey, I felt that because I lived in big cities, traveled extensively both domestically and internationally, had made good money, had a nice house, etc etc, that I was better than others. Even during the first leg of the trip, I’d roll through these small towns, see people’s homes – sometimes in the middle of nowhere – and think why anyone would want to live like that. That they couldn’t possibly be happy being in a place so far from anything. But as time went on, I came to realize that these folks have rich, fulfilling lives too – theirs are just different from the life that I’ve led. There are the families who would haul their 5th wheel to a lake or the mountains and that’s how they’d spend a holiday weekend or even the whole summer. There was the couple I met last summer in Iowa that spent their honeymoon weekend at a state park, joined by their friends and family. So many people that have never been outside of the country have no interest in doing so. Are they unhappy? Absolutely not. Anyway, it took some time but I finally realized that despite our differences, we are all equals – because we are fortunate to call America our home.
We are all more alike than we realize. We like to get ice cream when it’s hot, we appreciate the arts, we enjoy spending time with friends and family, we visit our national parks and monuments, we love BBQing on a warm summer’s night. But most important, we are free to take advantage of all our country has to offer – whether’ it’s a 5 mile drive from home or a 2,500 mile drive (I always enjoyed looking at the license plates when I’d be at a national park or monument to see how far away people had come). While our country has politically become more and more divided over the years, I feel like this road trip gave me a chance to see what our country is truly made of – and newsflash, it’s made of really good people.
There’s a part of me that wants to get into politics now that I’m back – I want to figure out a way to bring our country back together. So who knows? Maybe you’ll see my name on a ballot at some point (“my name is Bee and I approved this message”). Until then, I’m going to continue to work at Foxy Couture, find a more permanent residence in the area and get eyelash extensions again (priorities). I’m going to sign off with one final pic of the MoHo fridge. These stickers are just a smattering of the places I visited. I hope that you’ll have the opportunity to see these places at some point. Our country is truly magnificent and I feel both blessed and lucky to have had this incredible journey. USA! USA! USA!
Final state count – 40