Road trip

Sabitri and I will take off in a couple of hours to collect her twin sister from college. A mini road trip from my desert mountain hide-away through towns and valleys, to cities and ocean bays. We’ll have an ice chest for water and cheese, a dry box for Wheat Thins and chips and my coffee.

I love these runs. Something in me responds to the road, something I share with those I am closest with, even if it’s different now than it used to be: my cars are so much more reliable, and if they do break, there’s my cell phone Link to make a call for help. One has to make an effort now to get lost, with that same Link and its maps and GPS and evenly cadenced voice saying “in one quarter mile turn left at the fork…”

That said, there’s still freshness to moving through time and place as we speed past a woman with a wide-brim hat walking an absurdly tiny dog wearing fluorescent pink ribbons; by a man fighting to keep upright an overloaded yellow wheelbarrow with a single wobbly wheel; as we cross then recross the Santiam, swollen from a week’s worth of rain, crashing through rough canyons of grey rock to the Willamette in its lush wide valley, then along the Columbia that carves sweeping curves into a continent on its way, on our way, to the Pacific.

It’s never, “when will we get there?” with my girls. We go to go, to be going, to be seeing something we may have seen before, but with fresh eyes. Moments of Zen. I’ve given them this, and they give this back to me.

And now, it’s time to throw a few things in a bag and hit the road.


The wind started blowing hard at about 2:30 a.m. My sleep is off anyway but the wind makes the steel barn groan; mountain-facing windows flex and distort reflection like disappointment of the self-absorbed; juniper and pine lean and twist to resist what feels like a threatening.

Can’t write. Too little sleep, current project too dry for the energy I can bring to the task, wind breaks flow of thought. Pay bills, I suppose, get taxes in the mail before I motor over the hill. Stop halfway at Rosie’s to get an oatmeal raisin cookie and refill the coffee. Daughter Sabitri made me stop at Rosie’s for the lemon poppy seed scone, daughter K.C. likes their hot chocolate and the macandcheese.

Portland if I can get a deal on a hotel, it’s the end of razor clam season at the coast and I’ll find a meal of them someplace downtown, then meander down to Powell’s for a browse.

Port Townsend to hunker down for a few days, real popcorn and digital projection with great sound at the small movie theater, stay at the lovingly restored Palace Hotel, see if I can get a solid draft done on the new project.

Should check movie schedules and music venues before I go but I just want to go, I’ve denned up here for too long, growling at the door. The week after would work too but I want to go, wanted to for some time.

The proprietor of Phoenix Rising Book Store in Port Townsend, flashbacks from San Francisco of decades ago, is back from India. Her large poodle Sumadhur is recently gone and I could hear sadness tussle with acceptance in even her written words, something of each we can share.

She is New York direct, she owns a bookstore, had offered to read my manuscript and is about halfway through. She does not know me nor owe me so I want to sit there for a couple of hours and find out what she thinks about it.