I stayed in a town where people leave their doors unlocked, but the Wi-Fi is password protected.
By Rachel James (Treasurer/Writer/FUNemployed)
My mind is a blur. Or a blank. I’m not quite sure. The two can get easily confused when you’ve spent two days driving 665 miles. The northwest is stupid beautiful. But eventually the trees all meld together and you feel like you’re swimming through a never ending green tunnel of pretty.
And then you remember that you are actually operating a metal box of death. And the speed limit says 65, but that just seems to be a suggestion, because the four trucks surrounding you are all going 80. And you don’t want to get off the road because you just want to get to your destination and be done with it. But eventually you have to stop for gas and you remember that Oregon won’t let you pump your own gas. And you get out of the car to pay and almost fall over because you are shaking so badly. And then realize you still have to get back in the car. And the green swirling, metal box of death, speed racer, can’t stop cycle begins all over again.
Stock photo of my transport for this journey.
Driving is not exactly something I do with much frequency. In fact, the last time I drove was almost a year ago. And I woke up feeling as if my body had been beaten by gripping the steering wheel so tight as I battled other cars on the FDR. When I tell people that I feel more comfortable crossing the Atlantic Ocean than the George Washington Bridge, driving is definitely a part of that.
But in an attempt to expand my horizons - and to get out of New York for a few weeks - I hopped a plane to the west coast and decided to drive down a large portion of it to visit friends and family, and see new places I’ve never been. I spent a week in Seattle, which was filled with lots of walking, drinking, and food. I got to watch Hearts Are Thugs play. I hung out on my friend’s boat and went canoeing in Lake Union. I celebrated with my nephew as he began first grade. And, because there was not much rain, I even got my first sunburn of the summer.
Hearts Are Thugs playing at the Comet Tavern.
Of course, as I made my way out of Seattle and down the coast, it began raining and I immediately had to learn how to work the wipers on my rental car. I didn’t discover how to use cruise control until day two, which meant my right leg was pretty achy after the initial 8 hour drive.
I spent the night in Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I had lemon ricotta stuffed French toast for breakfast at Morning Glory, and got on the road to California. My aunt and uncle brought me to the Sierra Nevada brewery for lunch, where I drank a flight of beers and promptly took flight at the thought of not having to drive again that day. Dinner was In-N-Out burger (and suddenly all my west coast friends who now live on the east coast are salivating).
I caught up on Broadchurch with my aunt, and I watched the football game with my cousin. I have vague plans to see people and hang out, but my mind is still a blur. At this rate, the car is part of it. But a lot of it is just the days melding together and vacation time becoming whatever it does. Emails get returned whenever. Books get read at leisure. What day is today again and what are we doing?
If you need me, I’ll be in the pool.
is a native New Yorker and theatre baby. Her plays have been produced by The 52nd Street Project and Starfish Theatreworks. When she's not on vacation, she makes a living as a Broadway treasurer.
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