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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Driving television...

No, this isn't really about television or the TV show called Driving Television. It's really about my two day drive - alone - last weekend from Sacramento to Vancouver.

Our car broke down in Woodland - a small town just outside Sacramento where our friends Lisa and Greg and Kieran and Brendan live. We had to leave to go to Tucson and Seattle and then New York and back to home for work so we left the car there. I was nominated to fly down and drive the car back to Vancouver.

I didn't complain because I love to drive and because I've spent the last six months busy as a one-handed paperhanger. Or as busy as ... well, whatever. So I knew I'd enjoy all that time alone to do nothing. I couldn't be worried about the book I was working on or the job I had to go to on Monday or the dinner I had to cook or the gym or the haircut I needed. I could just drive.

And that's what I did - from 7:02 AM on Saturday morning until 7:00 PM on Saturday night and from 7:16 AM on Sunday morning until 1:30 PM on Sunday afternoon. I drove.

I watched the world roll by. Out of those many hours driving, there were only 2 or 3 of them that were busy. The rest of the time on the road there were just enough cars to be entertained, and never enough to worry about.

It rained - oddly enough mostly in California's Central Valley where I understand it almost never rains - and a little bit into the mountains in southern Oregon. The sun shone rays through the clouds and I watched the clouds as they were chased away by the sun.

There was morning mist just north of Portland. It took me a while to recognize the mist, I guess I was expecting smoke as we've lived with one of the worst forest fire seasons on record in the Pacific Northwest. But it was 7:30 and I watched the mist as it caressed the fields and tickled the trees.

But mostly, almost entirely, the weather was good. Cool enough in the morning that I had the heat on in the car and warm enough in the afternoon that I switched to air conditioning.

I listened to Bach, to Dwight Yoakum, to Hollybank and to Aaron Neville. I listened to a medley of my favourite country ballads - and sang along at full blast. I listened to one of my favourite CDs - Blues for a Rotten Afternoon - though once the sun came out, I switched to Kris Kristofferson. And Leonard Cohen. And Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris. I sang along with all of them.

I stopped at rest areas and petted dogs - mostly puppies. I met a lovely brindled miniature daschund (though that's not what they call daschunds when they have those markings). The man who was walking her had given a filly to some neighbours last spring and six weeks ago, they'd wandered over to his farm and given him the puppy as a gift. He hadn't had puppies for a long time, but he was enjoying this one.

I stopped on Saturday night in Woodland, WA - seemed appropriate as I'd left from Woodland, CA - and lucked into one of the prettiest motels I've ever seen. It is called the Lewis River Inn and it sits, surprise, right on the Lewis River. I had a room on the second floor facing the river and it was gorgeous. I'd definitely stay there again.

I did a little shopping in those two days of driving because I needed a reason to get out of the car. I didn't buy a lot but if I'd had more time I certainly would have.

Mostly, I have to admit, I enjoyed the solitude.

I crossed the US/Canada border just as the odometer on the car turned to 196,000 kilometers. Seemed appropriate.

Did you take epic car trips when you were young? Where to?


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