I had an opportunity to make a lifelong dream come true
My husband was the one who suggested I read the book called Travels with Charley – In Search of America by John Steinbeck. Mr. Steinbeck named his truck camper Rocinante. My husband thought that would be a great name for the Airstream.
According to Wikipedia, “Rocinante is Don Quixote’s horse in the two-part 1605/1615 novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In many ways, Rocinante is not only Don Quixote’s horse, but also his double: like Don Quixote, he is awkward, past his prime, and engaged in a task beyond his capacities.”
What name could be more appropriate for the “horse” that would carry me across the country on my very first adventure? Like John Steinbeck, my journey would make a big circle around America…across the top, out West, down to the bottom, and back East. Also like John Steinbeck’s search of America, my own search took three months. When I left on the trip, I wasn’t sure how long it would take. I was terrified. I was excited. This might be, as for John Steinbeck, my only adventure like this and I wanted to savor every moment. I felt so alive! I was in my 60’s and thought the best part of my life was behind me. This trip made me feel like a girl again…like the girl who explored the woods and marveled at the campers and trailers and schoolies at Atwood State Park. I was in search of America, but also in search of ME.
When I was around ten or eleven, my dad bought a truck with a little home-made camper on top of it. The truck looked more like a car…all sleek and slim. The camper was made with plywood and painted green. The roof was canvas. It looked sort of, kind of, maybe…like this.
That is so not really right, but I like it anyways. The little area over the truck cab was so small that I couldn’t make myself share the space with my sister. I slept in a lawn chair outside. My parents slept on the table…lowered down to the level of the bench seats. There was no bathroom. The kitchen consisted of a tiny counter with a propane camp stove and an ugly gray water cooler.
Camper – Meh! Camping – Awesome!
I did NOT like camping in it on those rare occasions that we went to Atwood State Park in Ohio. I loved being there. I just didn’t like having to sleep and spend time with three other people in THERE. Outside the camper, my parents left me to my own. I explored the woods and spent a lot of time looking at the other campers. There were no Winnebagos that I can recall. Mostly there were tents, truck campers, little vintage trailers, and some old school buses converted into campers.
That was the moment…there at Atwood State Park. It was seeing those little RVs. To me they were little homes and I wanted one of my own. I wanted to see what they looked like inside.
First Glimpse at my Introversion
When our own camper was at home, it sat out under a tree, balanced on four stilts that cranked down to allow the truck to pull out from under it. Dad left the little camper sitting there on its thin legs. I was allowed to go inside whenever I wanted. I felt like this was some sort of right-of-passage. I was at last old enough to do something by myself. The little camper was not hooked to electricity, so it was always a bit dark inside. I didn’t care. I went out and sat on the bench seat and just thought. I imagined myself living in there and being on my own. I locked the door and it was thrilling to just be allowed to lock a door. Privacy. My first privacy. My first solitude. And I liked it. I didn’t need it all the time. A few minutes at a time was enough to give me the energy to go back out and be around others. I just loved getting that time to myself, even though I didn’t really have anything to do out there. Mostly it was just sitting in the dim light, smelling the odd wooden structure and the plastic covered seats; taking time to just be.
That was how it started; my being an introvert and finding a way to do that and not to feel like I was weird. I was just me. I discovered how much I savored quiet moments, the listening to things…really concentrating on things around me
The previous page of my art journal took me back to those days when I fell in love with designing “home”. It’s the page where I decided to try my hand at drawing things from memory. It brings them to life and gives me a chance to share them with others. Much to my delight I found out that others have done the same thing…drawing houses on the ground with autumn leaves. Wow!
Houses Drawn on the Sidewalk
After the leaves were burned I had to find another way to make houses…because my heart was on fire with this new pass time.
Too Cold to Draw Outside – Draw Inside!
I could draw them on any surface, but I found a large sketchbook was best. I used a pen to draw the layout and features I wanted. Then I colored everything in with colored pencils. As I went along I added more and more detail to my drawings. I designed houses in caves, tree-houses, buses, apartments…anything I could think of.
It was fun to add wood floors, stone floors, patterns on furniture, little details of things on dressers, desks, and kitchen counters.
Lately I’ve gotten it in my head to add walls. That was good for my brain, I think. I liked figuring out how to cut holes for windows, how to color the inside and outside to make it look as real as possible. I wanted to be able to peek inside and see what it looked like; pretending that I could see the family inside, living and loving one another and making the most of their time together.
3-D Structure – An art class project with the kids
For my part in the project, I drew the RV. First I drew it in my journal and then made it with white foam core board. This was the final art project I did with the kids in Honolulu.
I wanted them to do this design project so they would, on their own, discover why perspective and scale are so important. I wanted them to learn to think in three dimensions and to see how everything relates to everything else.
However we only had a week to complete the project. It was the first one where they didn’t put it aside after class and not come back to it until the next lesson. This time they took the little houses with them to spots around the house and each one worked throughout the week. I was so proud.
My own, shown below, was done quite hastily. I didn’t measure out the furniture. It was more like the other drawings from memory…very spontaneous/ I didn’t have time to color the interior or exterior of the walls. I just went with trying to depict that the walls existed and divided up the space into little rooms.
It was a fun project. I didn’t do a very good job, but it was still satisfying and left me wanting to make more. It reminded me of the 3-D dollhouse my younger sister had all those years ago.
I come back to the topic of designing houses in pages further along. Here I was just figuring out what I wanted this little art journal to be about. I have never been good at or liked to do art from my imagination. I prefer to have something real to look at. But as I got into the journal, I began to draw little sketches from memory and found it so satisfying that it has changed how I look at art altogether.
The nickname of Ren came about a number of years ago. I have a dream to write a children’s book about a little girl named Aubrey Claire who is a modern day Renaissance Girl. I am also one who has tried many things and so I named my character in an online role playing game…Ren. Short for Renaissance. It has stuck and to this day, throughout the US, on my travels, I am Ren.
I don’t think I talk about the cover in any of the pages. I wanted to have a printer with me in the RV. From time to time I needed to print out documents, but I also wanted a printer that would print out high quality prints that I could sell. I’d had a Canon Pixma Pro printer for years back in my studio at the cabin and I loved the quality. It printed with pigments rather than ink jet. The ink doesn’t smear when it gets wet. It’s also archival quality. Even better, the quality of the printouts is superior. The printer in the image above is the Canon Pixma Pro-100. It prints on paper as large as 13×19. I can print on almost any medium. I can run archival quality watercolor paper through it if I choose. I’ve often printed on the highest quality bristol board, made by Stonehenge.
The RV – 2018 Winnebago Vista LX35
This is a class A motorhome. It’s thirty-five feet long. It was purchased January 5th, 2018. It has a bath and a half. The half bath is right in the middle and is accessible even when the slide-outs are in. I can’t tell you how convenient that was when I was on the road. The rear bathroom is blocked off by the bed, which is on a slide-out. The RV has a washer/dryer combo which is fantastic. I loved having it. There is plenty of storage through the interior of the RV, as well in as in the “basement area” underneath. The living area has an electric fireplace that actually kept the entire RV very comfortable in even the coldest weather. There are lots of posts about the Winnebago if you’d like to look back to them.
Einstein is a ten year old Golden Retriever. He was my best friend and traveling companion. He was not able to go with me to Hawaii. It was a very difficult decision to make. He was a great dog and pack member, but he did not like our days on the road. he often became physically ill for days while on the road. I found a new home for him and he has been doing super well. I’m told he adjusted immediately and is loving life with the other Golden Retrievers and the children. That makes me feel better. I still miss him and you’ll see him throughout my blog. I’d love it if you’d read the interview with Einstein…in the menu at the top of the screen.
I have the printer…still
I bought it while in Oklahoma. When it was delivered, it weighed fifty pounds. Once out of the box, it still weighed in at thirty-five pounds. On travel days, it sat in the passenger seat with a seatbelt. It rode with me my house-sitting job in New Jersey. For $165 I shipped it in the US Mail to Honolulu, Hawaii in March. When I left Honolulu and returned to the mainland, it costs $400 to take on the plane. Why you ask? Why would I pay so much to keep it with me?
Because I’ve never had a printer that can compare and it will earn its costs by helping me to sell my art.
This art journal is on a spiral book made in Beaverton, Oregon. Its called Bee Paper and is considered Marker Paper. I like the super smooth texture of the pages. I like to use colored pencil, watercolor pencil, permanent markers, and watercolors. I had to leave the watercolor pencils in Hawaii and my colored pencils are in storage. I do have the watercolor set I used however.
And here are the pens I prefer to use. All of my ink pens are permanent so that I can use them with watercolors. I like rather fine points as my art journals are rather small. That way I can take them with me in my backpack.
Einstein is gone. The RV is gone. But the adventure and its story are still here…in this little art journal. When I was traveling to visit friends and family, I used the nickname Ren. I made many new friends along the way and I didn’t give my real name. So I’m called Ren or Renny by the many awesome people who crossed my path. I like it.
By the time I was traveling around in this, our cabin was empty and up for sale. I couldn’t make myself move back into the empty cabin. Besides, the whole purpose of selling everything and selling the cabin was so that we could live in the RV full time and travel. Little did we know it would take two years to sell the cabin. At this time, it has a buyer, but is a short sale and has not been finalized yet. Many fingers are crossed
I got two pages done in my first art journal and then all the pages started falling out. The paper was a heavy cold press watercolor paper and just didn’t stand up to the small book being opened and closed.
How I’ve Coped with long term quarantine – Covid-19
I am not a pandemic expert or a physician or anything more than a sixty-five year old grandma. Okay. I’m an unusual sixty-five year old grandma. I travel extensively, play on-line games, write stories, take tons of photographs of my travels and even my everyday life, draw and paint like crazy, and keep several journals all at the same time. There’s more about me, but what would be the fun of thinking you’ve got me all figured out after reading just a few sentences, eh?
MMORPGs – Online Gaming Options
I’ve always wanted to fly and I’ve found a way to get as close as possible to it. I play online games…MMORPGs. MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online and RPG stands for Role Playing Game. They are games you play online with other real people and you play a role. \\
Guildwars 2 (made by Arenanet)
In the above photograph I am a Guardian in Guildwars 2. My name is Renemy (my nickname is Ren, so it is a play on that). This is me.
This is me from the back. In Guildwars 2 I love “dressing” my characters in interesting clothing. To finish the look, I like to add some wings. There are many outfits characters can wear and you can change the colors on each piece. You can change your hair with hair make-over kits. You can change your entire look, as a matter of fact. You chose your weapons and can change the way those look as well.
People from all over the world play Guildwars 2. The above screenshot is of Blaze, from Australia.
This image is of LiLi, from Brazil. Another friend, Lydia, is from Holland. While we play, we wear headphones and are in an app called Discord so that we can talk together. That makes it more fun and we can talk about what we’re doing in the game…a dungeon, a fractal, PvP (Player vs Player), a part of the story quest, or just running around the map chopping trees, harvesting vegetables, or mining minerals…all to use in recipes or to build things.
Guildwars 2 has been around for about seven years. I’ve been playing for over six. I love the game. I belong to guilds (you can be in up to five guilds). They’re easy to find and join. Guild leaders advertise in the chat/text area of the game, which you can see all the time in the lower left corner of your computer screen while in the game. People love to chat. They chat about all sorts of things. It can be entertaining to just sit and read what they are chatting about. Sometimes, however, you’ll see someone post a message in chat about how their guild is a friendly group of people who enjoy playing the game together and if you’d like to be a part of that, to send a message…and they list the person you should contact. A few years ago I started my own guild. We go on adventures together. We help one another. There are quests and achievements to do in the game, if you like. Some you can do alone, but some are best (and more fun) done with friends…or strangers, if no friends are around at the time. Some parts of the game auto-join you to a team or you can bring your own friends for part or all of the team.
There’s something about being part of a team, going on adventures, that is like nothing else. While you’re there, you’re caught up in it, feeling like you’re really there. You and your team. You protect one another, advise one another. You fail or succeed as a team…and then you do it again. We overcome formidable foes and slay monsters. We hunt down dragons. We have a common goal; a mission. We’re a team. To make it even better, there are apps you can download so that you can actually talk with your team mates. I like Discord (mentioned earlier). We can all be in Discord, wearing our headphones or earbuds, talking and guiding the team through a dungeon or getting an achievement. There are story quests to go on. People in the game are glad to help. They all have experiences that can make the mission fun and successful.
Games Made by Blizzard
I also play some games made by a company called Blizzard. I currently play World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm. They make several other games, but these are my favorites. All are games where I play with and/or against opponents that are real people.
World of Warcraft (WoW)
World of Warcraft has been around for nearly two decades and is hugely successful. It’s similar to Guildwars 2 in that you are playing a fantasy character that you pick and customize, using swords, shields, maces, axes, armor to wear, adventures to go on.
Hearthstone – an animated 3D card game
Hearthstone is a card game of sorts. You design your deck of cards and when you play a card, it has animations that occur. I haven’t played it in a while, but this is the opening screen.
You can play Hearthstone against the computer or against other people. You can make friends in the game and play against them. Its a 1 vs 1 game. The characters in the game are from other Blizzard games. You will get to know the names…Malfurion, Muradin, LiLi, LiMing and many more if you play any of the Blizzard games. Heroes of the Storm is the same, using characters from the other games.
Heroes of the Storm
This is Lucio, who is a character from the Blizzard game called Overwatch. I don’t play Overwatch, but I love this character. He is a healer and that is the type of character I play the most. Lucio roller skates through the matches and uses music to do his healing. He keeps his team alive and healthy.
Chromie is one of my favorites, but there are many characters you can choose from, as you can see. They are all types of characters. Some are the tanks (players that lead the match and lead the team, able to take a lot of damage, because they are always right up front), ranged (like Chromie, fighting from a distance), Healers, Support (help protect other team mates), and Bruisers (do the most damage during the fights).
My character name is Ren. In Heroes of the Storm, you can play alone, to practice, in Try Mode. You can play in AI mode where either you are on a team of five and the other four are computer generated characters or where you are on a team of five where the other four are real people who are mostly learning the game or trying new characters or new builds.
You can play in Quick Match, where you are randomly assigned a team and play against another team of five people on a randomly assigned map. There are ranked matches and unranked matches. In ranked matches you work together as a team to decide who should play what role. The game comes with a built-in voice chat so, while wearing headphones, you can talk to your team. Its optional. There is also typed chat down in the lower left corner. You can turn it on or off, as you like.
Minecraft (made by Mojang)
There are other games I’ve played a bit, but there is really one more I want to mention. I have been playing it a lot lately. Its very popular – Minecraft. I play on a server, owned by a friend and downloaded it via Twitch (click on the mods tab at the top, and then Minecraft from the icons), but to get the game, you can also go directly to the link I mentioned a moment ago.
I didn’t like Minecraft at first. Seemed like a game for kids, I thought. But I was wrong. My gaming friends from other games also play it and we are able to play together. We wear the headphones and talk while we play. I love playing in CREATIVE mode versus SURVIVAL mode. Survival mode is where, before you can build a house, make armor or weaspons, you have to chop down trees and mine ores or stone. You have to find your own food. I play that mode sometimes, but mostly I play in creative mode. In there you can build the house and the materials are just in a big inventory, by category, for you to use as you want and need. I love building and designing things. I’ve made a rocket…
A tropical island with a village. I added lights to nearly every tree on the island to make it look welcoming and to keep “mobs” of hostile game-supplied creatures away from me and my villagers.
I made a desert oasis, which I later put under a dome, to protect it from hostile creatures and mobs, since I had villagers to protect.
Everything you see in all of the images are things that I made.
My two latest creations are a huge sphere that my gaming friends have turned into a world of its own.
The circle (kind of in the middle of the sphere) is where I made a sort of painting, using stained glass. My area inside the sphere is a hobbit type dwelling for myself and a village full of vendors, such as armorsmiths, toolsmiths, farmers, shepherds, etc.
I have fallen in love with Minecraft. My latest creation is a treehouse. My fellow gamers do challenges together to create things. That’s where the rocket also came from. The treehouse is the newest challenge.
I used my nature’s compass to find a redwood forest. I then located a group of trees that had branches or ledges where I put attach beams to support the different levels of the treehouse.
I really enjoy online gaming with friends, all of whom I’ve met over the years and who have become very good friends…from all over the world. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting some of them during my travels. One of the most memorable times was my trip to Alberta, Canada, where I got to spend time with some guildies. We went go-cart racing, spent time at a virtual reality place, saw movies, went out to dinner, went to the county fair, and many more activities. Even though I’m sixty-five, I felt so alive. We laughed so much. It was really great fun watching “Aqua” and “George” race one another in the go-cart races. We were all in the race, but they were the most competetive. They would both go zooming by me (I was in last place, but enjoyed seeing the action in front of me) and they’d be looking over their shoulder at one another, looks of determination on their faces. Yeah, its a time of memories…and all because I started playing some online games.
Granny is in her 80’s and has become so well known that the game has incorporated her character as a part of the game itself. Gamers can go and meet her character and hear stories from her. Granny streams as she, herself, plays the game. Its fun to watch her. You can see her playing and down in the corner is her as she talks you through the event she’s participating in. I love it. I don’t stream, but I’ve purchased the things I’d need to do so. Just haven’t gotten around to it. More comfortable on the other side of the camera.
Online gaming like the type I play can be played by any age. While you’re in a game, you feel like you’re really there. I have felt like such games were perfect for me, because I’m SO visually oriented. As an artist and writer I’m in love with the amazing graphics in these games. So much attention to detail by their designers. In Heroes of the Storm (HoTS), even though you’re running all around trying to get objectives with your team mates or defending others, you don’t have time to notice all the amazing little details. In one spot there is a little town off to the side, with a stage near the playing field. On that stage are thrones for the king and queen, who sit there and watch us play. Somewhere else a villager is shopping down a tree. The detail below shows villagers sitting on the wall or selling their wares outside a tent.
The games I’ve mentioned here are games that you do NOT have to master from the first moment. They are games that let you grow from a beginner player. The best part is that there are thousands of other people playing them, at all levels of experience, who are really glad to lend you a hand or answer questions. I have had to ask for help with very basic, simple things and people came forward to guide me through it or even showed up to do the task along side me.
Take your time learning the game. Enjoy it. Make friends. Discover a brand new kind of fun. Then one day you’ll find that YOU are the one stepping forward to help someone else who is in trouble or new to the game. YES!
You might even come across a little skeleton with a bow, riding a spider…Minecraft.
I don’t play the games non-stop, day after day. I have lots of other activities I’m interested in. I just wanted to share this part, as it has been very helpful to me over the past few months of the Covid-19 pandemic. It helps me feel less isolated. I look forward to spending time with friends. When I log into a game, there is almost always someone there who I can chat with and play the game with.
I hope you find a game that is just right for you. Happy gaming!
I had a lot to accomplish before I could leave here. Corona Virus was in the forefront of the news more and more. The three days before I left were tense. I had places to go…the landfill, Samaritan thrift shop, post office, and the grocery store. I bought hand sanitizer and began training myself to use it a lot and to refrain from touching anything, anyone and even my own face. The harder I tried (don’t touch my face, don’t touch my face…Oh! I touched my face) the more mistakes I made. I left on Friday, the 13th. I went to Maryland. I had some things to put into the RV, a table in the cabin, and five boxes in the basement to keep there until the cabin sells.
The two nights here were slightly scary, because of the pandemic. My being there with friends and family was putting them and me into possible danger. It was becoming very real. We went to dinner at my favorite restaurant and the next day we hit up a couple of grocery stores. Toilet paper, milk, bread, hand sanitizer…where? Would there come a day soon when grocery stores were just not open anymore?
Next to visit Sherry!!!. Stayed inside except for one necessary trip. Watched a lot of news reports about the virus and I started to feel very afraid. The Corona Virus was now called the pandemic. It was beginning to spin up and to affect the whole world. I had worked so hard to make this trip happen and it seemed the entire universe (at least the planet) was going to tell me NO! Should I go? Should I stay in the empty cabin? Should I risk de-winterizing the RV and stay in there? It felt like that might be a solution for the short term, but it could postpone my move to Hawaii for months. I needed to try and get there. So I set out.
Change of Plans
While in Ohio, I called the place that would be shipping my Jeep from San Diego. Yes. I could bring it on that Friday (when I called it was Monday). Called the airlines. Yes, I could change my flight to Saturday. Ok. I felt better. Sooner was better.
Before hitting the road I went into the Airbnb app and looked for a room in a place that would be approximately 750 miles from where I was. I needed to make 750 miles a day and 150 the last day to make it to San Diego in time to ship the Jeep and make my flight. I found a room in Springfield.
The drive was long and stressful. I had so much to be afraid of. Would gas stations be open? Would I be able to find food? Would roads be closed? Would I get very far before being forced to turn around? I didn’t know what to expect. What I found was that many people were driving someplace. There were a LOT of truckers on the road. That told me that supplies were still being delivered. If there were shortages of things (like toilet paper) it was only because people were in a panic and buying enough for the rest of their lives instead of for the normal amount of time. When it was time to get gas, I pulled off the interstate and found a truck stop. It was open and there were as many vehicles there as ever. The main difference was that the eating establishments at the truck stop were open, but not for sitting and eating. I felt sad for the truckers, who are on the road for like 14 hours at a time and this is their time to rest and sit down and talk together and wash clothes and take showers. They now had no place to sit down, except inside their own trucks. That day I was able to get a sandwich from a truckstop Subway. I ate it while I drove and it was wonderful.
I drove all day, finally arriving at a few minutes after eight o’clock. The couple welcomed me and the room I had was absolutely wonderful. It was comfortable and decorated in such a pleasing way. It was a great experience. It was $36. I left the next morning before anyone was awake. I’m not normally a morning person, but I was motivated.
Now I was halfway across the country and it would be as difficult to turn back as to go forward. I couldn’t seem to put words to the possibility that I might reach San Diego, deliver the Jeep to the shipping company, get a ride to a hotel…and then find that my flight was indefinitely cancelled to Honolulu. I couldn’t make myself think it or what I would do if that happened. I just kept driving.
Driving through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico
Same mileage, but for some reason this day went faster. I got an earlier start. I still had to stop a lot. My little Jeep (2-door) has a small gas tank and I had to stop more often; probably about six times each day. I didn’t want to go below half tank in the event that I couldn’t find a gas station…especially out west. Gas prices ranged from $1.55 a gallon to $3.19 a gallon.
In New Mexico I stopped in Santa Rosa at a Hampton Inn. There were no Airbnb rooms available. When I checked into the hotel, they were fully booked. I was glad I’d made a reservation. Isn’t it odd that people were suppose to stay home and not travel…but the hotels were full? Were there others like me, who were desperate to get someplace. I know what desperate feels like now.
The little town had some restaurants and fast food places. I didn’t want to wait in a long line at a drive-through, so I picked Dairy Queen. Only three cars ahead of me. The employees were very friendly and I was very hungry. Took the food back to my hotel room and relaxed.
In New Mexico I also encountered the winds. I wasn’t really afraid I would get blown over. When I was in the RV, I sometimes worried about that. There were times when I could feel the RV shift to the side by the push of the wind. I’d heard of trucks and RVs getting lifted up and set down by the wind. I discovered it does happen. I encountered five tractor trailer rigs that were knocked over by wind. The fifth truck isn’t included in the photos. I came upon it suddenly over a small rise. It was on its side, having slid and scraped across the median about twenty or thirty feet, digging into the dirt.
This third day of travel was long again, even though it was only about 720 miles. I don’t know why. I thought it would never end. I hadn’t seen any snow the entire winter, but when I got to middle Arizona, there it was…
A few minutes later it was…
I’d been in touch with some RVing friends in Yuma, Arizona. Told them I’d love to stop and see them, but I needed a hotel or town that had an Airbnb. They offered up their couch. SOLD! They were right on the path to San Diego. I got there after dark. Stephanie drove the golf cart to a place where we would meet up and she lead me to their RV. It was good to see her and Jessie and the dogs, Brinley and Bailey. I can’t tell you what a welcome sight they all were. We talked. They fed me. In the morning Stephanie put the locking lugnuts on my Jeep’s spare tire and she helped me consolidate my stuff into one suitcase. I left there organized, comforted, and loaded with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a ziplock bag of sliced carrots and celery, and munchies. I felt optimistic. Maybe I would make it after all.
What a welcome sight! I had the name of someone who would chauffeur me around once I dropped off the Jeep. I got to the area about three hours early so I could get the Jeep washed and vacuumed, a requirement for shipping. All the car washes were closed. The shipping company said just bring the Jeep to them. In fact, they said I could bring it early. So I went straight there. It was another relief to have something done. A box (an important one) was checked off.
I felt, all this time…worrying about the virus and contagion and how the nations were so unprepared…how possible it looked that everything would change forever. We’d taken everything for granted and assumed it would be wonderful forever. Now we were faced with something that we might not survive.
As I drove, safe within my little Jeep, I felt at peace. The danger seemed farther away. Time seemed to be just a theory. I was doing something I’d done many times and loved. Driving. Thinking. Daydreaming. Only when the gas guage reminded me that I had to deal with the world again did I find the unease. It was a relief to be back on the road afterwards.
The driver came and picked me up and took me to a hotel near the airport. It wasn’t full, but it was quite expensive.
As you can see there were very few guests. And maybe those cars were employee cars. In the morning, there were two other couples in the lobby waiting for cabs to the airport. So perhaps it was just the five of us in the entire four-story hotel.
I woke at 4:00 am. I must be crazy, because I didn’t care. I wanted to GO!
Got to the airport about 5:15 am. I was the only one in line to check in with United. I was the only one in line to go through security. At the gate there were maybe fifty people. Our flight to LA was a commuter type flight with two rows of seats on each side. I’d upgraded my flight to allow me a seat just behind first class. There was more leg room and I hoped it exposed me to less humans. Less germs. The jet took off and climbed for about ten minutes and then immediately began to descend for perhaps ten minutes…and we landed at the airport. Short flight!
In LA I only had a couple minutes to make it the LONG distance to the other gate. I practically ran. Whew! Thought I’d die. Encountered three airport employees standing next to motorized carts. I asked if they could point me to the gate I needed. “Hop on” they said and drove me right to my gate. I was so relieved. When I walked up to the gate, the boarding had ended and the jet was prepping to take off. I found an employee sitting on a window ledge and asked if I’d missed my flight to Honolulu. She asked me my last name, went over typed something into a keypad and said, go on, pointing down the ramp. I did. I went! I made it. I was the last one to board the plane. It was one with three seats on each side of the aisle. I had the row of three seats all to myself.
I programmed one of the TV monitors to show the map of our progress and the middle one to movies. Around the middle of the flight, I got up to use the washroom in the very back of the jet and was surprised to find that the jet was nearly empty.
Now that’s putting distance between folks! The flight attendants stayed in the far back most of the time. However, they were very attentive, frequently offering us snacks and drinks. It was a great flight. I was deliriously happy to be on the plane and on my way. It took about six hours to get to Honolulu.
I left San Diego at 6:15 am and arrived in Honolulu at 11:57 am. Love the time change! The images above are the street where I now live and a tree that is very typical. I have no idea what it is, but they are massive. We went for a walk over to the water, between lunch and dinner. There were tropical fish in the water…like the ones people put in aquariums, only MUCH BIGGER. I saw several yellow and black angel fish. Each was maybe ten inches long. I saw my first sea cucumber.
The LONG wait
So here I am, in Honolulu, having arrived yesterday. I have jet lag today. I’m waiting. I’m on a fourteen day quarantine. I’m scared. If I was exposed to Covid-19, it could show up any time…up to fourteen days from now. Yes, I’m afraid. Every time my head feels congested or my chest feels congested or I get a tickle…I get scared. Before leaving New Jersey I’d had an upper respiratory infection that lasted maybe three weeks and was awful. Just as I started feeling better, I got my usual spring allergies. I had medicine for it, so no big deal. During the drive out west, the allergies went away and I felt great. Now here I am at last at my new home and I have allergies…or something again.
There’s a papa-san chair in my room and this is me sitting in it. I don’t mind waiting fourteen days, but I do mind waiting to see if I get sick and possibly die. If I get sick, I’ll wonder how many other people I exposed to the virus. I’m keenly aware of all the millions and millions of people who are nervous and scared…wondering. Waiting. I tried so very hard to be safe. I sanitized my hands so much they became red. I sanitized everything I touched in the Jeep. I wore latex gloves when I got gas (except when I lifted the pump and forgot the glove). I even washed off my key fob with sanitizer. I was careful to touch as little as possible while in the truck stop. It was just that no matter how hard I tried to do the right thing, I never felt like I did enough. What about my clothing? What about the seat in the Jeep? What about…so many things? Did I make a mistake? How many people were thinking these thoughts? Waiting. I’m waiting to find out if it was enough.