July 3, 2009

One Month Ago

Boy, have we got some catching up to do around here. Last time we talked I was musing about mustard, but didn't mention the fact that I moved to Seattle (!) . Today is my 1 month anniversary of being in the city. So much has happened that I nearly forgot about this little space. In the following weeks I will share more, but first things first: The Trip.

The trip started out seemingly innocent, but things sure got rocky. And I don't just mean the mountains. One month ago, I sputtered into Seattle in near 90 degree heat. Sweating bullets, while cars were honking, myself and all my belongings were on the verge of being stranded in downtown Seattle rush hour traffic. My car was overheating. We scooted along at 20 mph and its hiccups inched me closer to Green Lake. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I'll return to this scene later.

Sustained by dried plums and smoked almonds, I plowed through South Dakota effortlessly. I managed to squeeze out a 1 minute tear session after immediately getting on the interstate and hearing Kelly Clarkston's 'Breakaway', as it was my high school graduation class song. (It's okay, you can go ahead and gag.) This was right after I stopped at our local gas station to get the smoked almonds, where my kindergarden school bus driver rang me up. (I distinctly remember he turned onto that very interstate one morning, rather than the Beaver Creek road, but I didn't want to mention it.)

Not until a sweet old couple I followed for hours blew a tire, did I get nervous . After getting over the initial fear of the worst thing happening, I was able to experience some highlights. In Buffalo, Wyoming, I ate buffalo on a stick at The Virginian. The best part was seeing real cowboys that tipped their real cowboy hats to me.

Before leaving Wyoming, I wanted to stop at Sheridan, Wyoming, because a Google search led me to believe there was a Melinda's Restaurant on Main Street. Turned out this institution, whose cinnamon rolls were famous, is long gone, and is now replaced now by a yuppie fine-dining restaurant. I went to Java Moon Cafe instead, where I had this:

I learned a few things about roadtrips during this experience. First: Wear sunscreen on your left arm when driving west. Mine is finally no longer the color of my favorite lipstick. Second: Signs that say it's last gas stop for hours -they're liars. Don't believe it. You'll be fine.

Events continued to get more exciting despite the frustration of sunburns and false advertisements. These include: a power outage as I was in a convenience-store restroom in Livingston, Montana, and a great lunch (a sandwich of charred pulled pork, caramelized onions, and orange/ginger sauce on a pillow-soft dinner roll) served by a waiter in a Brazilian soccer jersey with Bob Marly playing in the background at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Not to mention, my car reached 111,111.1 miles:

Of course, driving through the Rockies was immensely emotional. It wasn't until the latter portion of Wyoming and first half of Montana where I really felt out on my own. It was both exhilarating and exhausting. But memories of my going away party (thank you all!) and a newly created iTunes playlist titled 'The Wild West' (thanks to a thoughtful friend's graduation gift) carried me through. And many phone conversations.

That brings us back to scene one of this post. I barely made it. But I did. (And my car is fine.) Furthermore, that very night I got lost walking around the lake. Not knowing that the streets continue as though the lake doesn't exist, creating two versions of the same streets, I ended up on the opposite side of the lake. But I meandered back eventually, knowing the neighborhood that much more after having to explore a bit.

Travelling west has historically been a venture for opportunity. I aim to keep the dream alive, even if I get a bit lost along the way. That's half the fun.

No comments: