First Leg: Newport to Nevada

“I don’t care what you think. Get to scrubbin’ that driveway mister, we don’t want to give the renters an excuse to park some pos machine there.”

I don’t think it matters much. And I also think scrubbing oil stains is just about the most futile and plain stupid endeavor I’ve ever heard of, a frustrating and dirty experience I will soon have the displeasure of experiencing for myself. From saw dust to kitty litter and lacquer thinner, I’ve tried it all. But Christina doesn’t really care about what I think.  She wants me to get down on my benders with a metal-bristle scrubber, a pint of thinner and all the salty curse words I can mutter through my pasted-on happy-smiley face.

What a way to spend Thanksgiving Day!
On the signature day of the year for giving thanks and being with family, on the one Thanksgiving that means the most to us, she’s got me outside getting high on fumes and bitterness. I suppose it’s appropriate, given the time and place – and especially when you consider that it’s beginning to feel as though we will never leave. It’s two o’clock on Thanksgiving Day, we haven’t loaded the trailer, still have to clean the carpets and my sister is calling, wondering — what the heck?
What the heck is right. Oh, we’ll get there and have dinner, say goodbye to family and spend the night at her house. Then we’ll get up, go out to Corona and – oh boy – get started again, attempting to do the equivalent of squeezing ten pounds of crap into an eight pound bag.

It’s amazing how well crap condenses.
Finally, our 6 x 12 trailer is filled, top to bottom, with the stuff with which we need to live for the next three months. At that point, the movers will deliver the rest of our crap to a house somewhere in Virginia, and voila – we’ll have another house full of crap, this time on the east coast. Until then, however, we’re on our own with a little box of poop following our bright blue 2002 Nissan Xterra, itself loaded down with two kids, two birds, two adults and all the electronic toys they can think to want. Call us the Chee version of Noah’s ark. Or the Corona Hillbillies. I’m just glad Christina and Meredith decided to leave the dog in SoCal until Christmas. The thought of a dog and two birds sharing the cargo space of a Nissan Xterra, why – either that’s fodder for reality television or a serious report of abuse to the Humane Society.

We’re not alone, however. Other folks love piling crap inside cars and going on long journeys. People in Barstow, for example. They understand. They do things like travel cross-country with a dog and two birds inside a small SUV, towing a rusted UHaul trailer weighed down with beds and baby furniture. I know this because I know people in Barstow, and some of them would think nothing of tossing a ferret or two into the mix.  Indeed, our first stop is here, at the one and only Barstow, to say goodbye yet again. I didn’t know this many people actually cared about where we lived or what we did. It’s touching.

None of them were around when we had to make an ice cream stop at the local Needles Shell/Dairy Queen, one that apparently was robbed just moments after Christina walked out triumphant – with three chocolate-dipped vanilla cones, perfect for a break in the action while Abigail has a, uh, snack and Meredith and I stare at the ceiling.

Ayeah – this trip is going to take a long time!
We get to Laughlin at around 8 pm, check into the lovely Harrahs Hotel and hike over two parking structures, through the lobby, the casino, up an elevator and down a hall with two birds, two kids, three suitcases, a stroller and a nasty attitude, dodging smoke, zooming rascals and oxygen tanks.

And I thought scrubbing oil stains were stupid.

–BC

Chart our progress…

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