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Oh lord, stuck in Lodi again

Have I mentioned that I dislike travel?

Yes, I do believe I’ve said that I dislike all forms of travel. Or at least all forms available to people who don’t flit around in private jets and have mechanics on call for their fleet of vintage Bentleys.

I may have even used words like “hate” and “loathe,” even though, properly, terms like those should be reserved for politicians, puppy-torturers, and people who dump truckloads of litter in the woods.

To wit: Here I am, a whole, whopping 150 miles from my departure point. The last last 40 of it my truck traveled on a flatbed and the U-Haul trailer brought up the rear while I enjoyed the company of a young driver who felt he was having a worse day than mine.

Before I made his acquaintance, I had already waited two hours in the sun for a tow, not only because I was 40 miles from nowhere but because the first tow truck driver assigned to the case had a diabetic episode (now there’s a man who probably really is having a worse day) and the second got the wrong directions.

BUT … all is not lost. Young Mr. Charm brought me to a friendly auto shop that’s open seven days a week, where the people have been super-accommodating and there’s a dog-friendly motel within walking distance.

So … one new radiator and $900 later (including the tow and motel room), I’ll have a good shot at being on the road again tomorrow morning.


I also see that my sweet friend Joel blogged about my departure and before he knew I was in trouble requested help from any willing readers along my route — even as he stated that, thanks to my damnable secrecy, nobody knows what that route is. (He knows more than he was saying, but then, he’s very discreet.)

And some of you kind friends-I’ve-never-met already responded.

Well, I’ll tell you, since things seem not to be going so auspiciously. If you live somewhere near US. 89 in northern Arizona or southern Utah or US 93 in Nevada or southern Idaho and you’d be willing to be on call in case a certain damsel gets in distress again while in your area, I’ll gladly take you up on your offer.

Since I’ll have limited communications on the road, just let Joel know how to reach you, if you’re comfortable with that. Or leave me a comment tonight or early tomorrow with your real email address (not published, of course) and I’ll email you so we can swap contact info.

Been a tough day. But it’s also been a (much appreciated) exercise in patience. And another especially warm time for friendship.


  1. Pat
    Pat August 13, 2010 4:12 pm

    Sorry you’re having trouble.

    Pump up your tires (you do have a full-size spare, right?), and carry some extra oil, as well as water, when you hit the road again.

    Hope the dogs tolerated the heat OK.

  2. John
    John August 13, 2010 4:28 pm

    I’ve already contacted Joel.

    I am near Gold Beach / Coos Bay and will do all that I can ifever you get this far.

    E-mail me off list and I will send along the phone numbers.

  3. Karen
    Karen August 13, 2010 5:08 pm

    I’m so sorry about your adventures and wish your route was closer to central Colorado! I think we need to take up a collection to contribute toward your travel expenses. At least you’re not freezing your a$$ off on the floor of the Miami airport for the night, with no dogs to commiserate with you and keep you warm.

  4. Claire
    Claire August 13, 2010 5:46 pm

    Thank you all for the commiserations and offers of help.

    John, I’ve contacted you via email.

    Karen, thank you for the thought of a collection! I’m really fine for now. If I have another “Friday the 13th” on this trip, I may accept your offer. But this minute … all is good. I just got the truck back from the shop and drove it half a block to the motel. No green slime blowing out of the radiator — yet. πŸ˜‰

    And you know, Karen, I was going to link to that post about freezing my arse off all night in Miami. I hesitated to overblow my drama queening. But I’m so touched that you remembered.

    Pat, yep, I’ve got all that stuff — including extra antifreeze, power steering fluid, jumper cables, a 2-ton jack, emergency food, gallons of drinking water, and heaven knows what else. But wouldn’t you know it, silly old me — I hit the road without a spare radiator. πŸ™‚

    Good question about the dogs, thank you. They tolerated the heat remarkably well. I took them out of the vehicle several times and found them a small bit of shade. I also ran the air conditioner occasionally while we waited for the tow truck. And I offered them lots of water. I was seriously worried about them at first because we were so exposed, the sun so hot, and the wait was so long, but other than seeming subdued and concerned (they obviously understood something was wrong), they were good. The truck has heavily tinted windows, which helped keep them from roasting. But it definitely got uncomfortable & they were remarkably patient about that.

  5. Sam
    Sam August 13, 2010 6:06 pm

    Ditto John’s comment. We have your back from Eugene to Portland to Bend in case you mosey this way. Time of day doesn’t matter for us.

    We’ve used a spray bottle of water to cool our pooch, works pretty well. Tools, mechanical usefulness and great cooking (my wife) are here for the asking. Working with your diet is no problem. Chocolate is also always on call here!

  6. Claire
    Claire August 13, 2010 7:13 pm


    Chocolate is good! πŸ™‚ Mechanical aptitude even better. And the spray bottle for cooling the pups is a great idea.

    Will drop you a private email.


  7. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 13, 2010 11:22 pm

    How ironic after so many comments about dragging around so much stuff, your truck complained…and your load looks rather light….

    This isn’t an omen, you’re headed in the right direction, it’s just the area’s way of saying bye/sending you off one last time……one last blast of heat farewell….

    Hopefully the rest of the trip will go smoothly, and the future adventures are more fun….Sounds like you have a huge web of people along the way to help, that’s a good thing….remember what you end up clearing out, makes way for more to come your way (food included) πŸ™‚

  8. Claire
    Claire August 14, 2010 6:06 am

    Thanks, naturegirl — especially for the part about “this isn’t an omen.”

    I’m at the motel near the auto shop where I ended up yesterday and I admit I’m feeling paranoid about venturing out into several days worth of vast, empty spaces. Elderly vehicle. Heavy trailer. Hundreds of miles of nothing. Bad start. I’m trying to feel encouraged that nothing else major will go wrong, but I’m feeling anything but encouraged right now.

    So all the good words and offers of help are my fuel right now, even though so far none of the willing helpers seem actually to be along the next two days of my route.

    Time to shut the computer and start the day …

  9. John
    John August 14, 2010 6:22 am

    In the late 80’s I was a man with more time than brains. I took a trek across the US. Yes, these toes have danced in both oceans and I have watched the sun come up and set over the surf. The VW camper was the method and US40 was the main means.

    Well, as I went along the roadway I would occasionally go off the main highway and visit a place. There were numerous ones that I really enjoyed and many more that I passed by intending to visit later.

    I had the plans to return the next year and do some of these others. Well, 20 years have passed and the next year, or, simply β€˜later’ has not arrived, yet. I still hold onto those plans, just not the method or the means.

    I’ll bet that now many of the places that I visited on that trip and wandered about freely are restricted, closed, paved pathways and many fences kinds of places today. I would be restricted from enjoying the place because someone else would take pleasure from destroying it. I doubt that many of today’s fences will be taken down. There is no better time to take any side trip than now.

    My troubles came along in Henderson, TN. My sweet little 20 y.o. VW had some motor problems. The VW and I got through it and shared no troubles for the rest of the trip. You have already lost your time table and had your plans for the trip blown. Bad truck, bad.

    I would encourage you to take some of the side trips you will see and make the actual drive to your new home a pleasant trip instead of a teeth clenching endurance run.

    You may not pass this way again and adventure awaits.

    Best wishes!!!!

  10. Ted Dunlap
    Ted Dunlap August 14, 2010 7:47 am

    I just tripped over your trek and first want to congratulate you on your return to green. My tinted glasses have never convinced some part of my brain that irrigated high desert is as pretty as where I grew up. Knowing I can’t go back (cuz the lightly-populated place doesn’t exist any more) helps bury the memory, but cannot erase it. I know it will be lovely to get back into your native habitat.

    Please, this is not to disparage desert rats. I most certainly admire and respect that subspecies of humans every bit as much, perhaps more than those who live where I find the living easier.

    Second, if I can be of any help at all from the lower left-hand corner of Idaho, please let me know. Meeting you in person and an autograph on a book would be ample pay for some time in our spare room and/or some fuel for you body.

  11. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty August 14, 2010 9:00 am

    I’m sending you good wishes! You’d sure be welcome any time in my home, and I’d be happy to help, but my house in Wyoming is just a tad out of your way! πŸ™‚

  12. Jake MacGregor
    Jake MacGregor August 14, 2010 1:53 pm

    let us start that collection Claire! … we all probably need to do so for Jackie too what with her broken sternum

    you’ll need those $900 for something in your new home and $5, $10 here and there adds up …

    just let us know if we can send it to the BWH offices or wherever

    and if you need funds along the way where we can wire it through Western Union

    we’d launch from N’West MT but by the time we got there you’ll already be to your new home

    but do not hesitate to call on us for help! email us if needed


  13. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 14, 2010 5:33 pm

    …there’s quite the band of gypsies around here….I feel right at home, LOL…..

    You’re welcome, Claire πŸ™‚ keep going, regardless of any bumps along the way, you’re on a mission (LOL)

    Things always happen that aren’t part of the plan…..just means one more challenge to conquer and learn more about yourself…

  14. Phil
    Phil August 14, 2010 6:35 pm

    Glad to hear you’re back on the road, Claire. Doesn’t sound like you’re coming via the interstates but if you need anything near south central MT give a holler. Be glad to help in any way I can. Hopefully that hick-up is it and the rest of your trip is enjoyable!

  15. Joel
    Joel August 14, 2010 7:45 pm

    I got a message from Claire. This day went well. Behind schedule, of course, but she’s safe and well.

  16. Winston
    Winston August 15, 2010 3:33 pm

    Hope all goes well for the rest of your journey!

    My undisclosed location is about 2000 miles east of your partially disclosed location, so I can’t exactly offer any actual in-person assistance. FWIW though you have my email address so don’t hesitate to pester me through that medium if you ever feel like it.

  17. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 15, 2010 3:39 pm

    Thanks for the update, Joel…….being behind on the schedule when you are semi-leisurely moving is an ok thing……

    The blessings at the end of the trip will be: curly hair and smoother skin again…..LOL

  18. Joel
    Joel August 15, 2010 7:56 pm

    Just got off the phone with Claire. Her third day on the road was uneventful but very long. She expects to reach her new home tomorrow, and then the adventure begins.

  19. Pat
    Pat August 16, 2010 3:08 am

    Am looking forward to hearing about the “adventure.”

    I imagine Claire has started seeing some greenery by now, and that must be exciting for her.

  20. naturegirl
    naturegirl August 16, 2010 3:23 am

    ….it may be a bigger house, but I betcha the dogs will (all) still sit by/on top of her, follow her everywhere, and all of em will still have to be careful not to trip over/bump into each other……it’ll take a while before they learn to spread out a little…..


  21. Ellendra
    Ellendra August 16, 2010 7:38 pm

    Claire, when I saw this title I was about ready to rush over to meet you. Then I realized you probably don’t mean Lodi, Wi. Darn.

    I hope the rest of your trip goes more smoothly, and that you and the pups enjoy your new home!

  22. Joel
    Joel August 17, 2010 8:32 am

    I spoke with Claire last night. Sorry – I updated on my blog but not here.

    She has arrived safely at her destination, done the closing ritual, and slept in her own house. All’s well. She did say it might be a couple of days before she’s connected and blogging again.

  23. Judy
    Judy August 17, 2010 3:11 pm

    Thanks, Joel for keeping us updated! I am glad to read that Claire is safe and sound in her new home.

  24. Ellendra
    Ellendra August 17, 2010 7:12 pm

    Thank you Joel! That’s good news.

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