Thursday, July 25, 2013

Coast to Coast across the United States

When I wrote my third book, Double Time on the Oregon Trail, it actually was the first book that I had started but the research and a strange reluctance to stop researching and write, kept me working on it slowly while finishing the other two.

you can find all 3 books on my Amazon author page

I was immersed in the details of how difficult it had been to travel across this continent when you had to go on foot with only a few water passages and a few animals to help with the burdens like when Lewis and Clark did it, and how 50 years later, with big wagon trains and a series of maps and guides to follow, and a system for getting some news back and forth between the two edges of the continent, it still wasn't much easier.

Because Double Time is a book with two characters in two different times, even the modern girl in 2002 had it differently than I did this summer when my aging Mom, and my 38 year old brother with Down's Syndrome, moved across the country from me and I travelled from the Pacific redwood coast to Washington DC to visit them.

I had a lot of issues and delays, but the knowledge of the 6 months journey involved mot all that long ago, kept my problems in perspective

I thought how old fashioned these looked now that everyone has cell phones, but at the end of my trip I wished I was prepared and could find one

At first I had a very small drive (90 miles) to get to the "local" airport. And then the fog delayed the arrival of the plane I needed to catch to get to my one hour layover in San Francisco.  So before I even got in te air, I knew my connecting flight had already been missed, but the next one would take off an hour after my predicted new arrival

The first plane I rode
 Once I got to San Francisco, on the opposite side of the terminal from the gate I was leaving from, I caught a tram, and several moving walkways and tried to make the 45 minutes work.  I shouldn't have worried, that planes departure was seriously delayed as were all of San Fran, due to the closure of one runway because of the wreckage from the korean jet just days earlier. In fact we landed almost on top of that wreckage it felt like.

 So I spent a lot of time watching the children's playland area.  It was filled with hands on science things like at the exploratorium and I wished my kids were still young enough to give me an excuse to be in there swirling the steam and making the electrical lightning flash upon the wall.

 the Asiana plane crash was another reminder that the delayed flights were minor details in the grand scheme of travel and life.

 And the plane finally was loaded and ready to depart, when thunderheads between Lake Eerie and Florida meant planes were being diverted to DC and we were being delayed on the tarmac for 2 1/2 hours so we were told to go back in the airport.  Then pulled up across from the wreckage and parked instead.
 Finally in the air, and due to arrive at midnight instead of 540 PM - I sent a text to my brother and my phone died.  He didn't get it, and I landed in a nearly deserted Dulles airport with no idea of where to meet him, and with no idea of his cell phone number or how to reach him.

The kindness of strangers came into play many times on this trip and people helped me find a place to charge my phone enough to get a text to my brother. He had just given up and gone home so by the time he came back for me it was 2 AM when we got to his house.

Then things got pretty good. I got ten days of family time, seeing my brothers, and my Mom and a niece and a nephew and visiting the Smithsonian and seeing an old Wyoming High School classmate there.

Lance, after 18 years at Walmart has a new job driving and feeding animals around a farm in Virginia

Mom, can't always remember our names, but can still enjoy many things with her family

 ll too soon it was time for me to leave, and th return home was even more complicated.  In DC the thunderheads returned, so there was another 2 1/2 hour wait in a plane parked on the tarmac, and I missed the flight I was connecting with in Sacramento, but this time that 9:30 flight didn't have another until 6:30 the next morning, so I ended up sleeping in the Sacramento Airport's quiet room. Again the kindness of strangers was wonderful, and I got to visit and talk to many people, but whrn I went to the quiet room to sleep, there was only one other person there, a young woman who now lives 1500 miles from me, but was in my son's first grade class.
 we watched the sunrise together
 and then there were only 3 passengers on the plane I caught that finally brought me home.

 DC had been 40 degrees hotter than the redwoods every day I was there, and frankly, the fog and coolness and relief from the sticky humidity was a wonderful welcome home.

To see a great review of Double Time by a book reviewer in India

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