Road Trip!

When one thinks of a road trip, the usual vision is of male buddies or girlfriends driving down open highways in a convertible, wind blowing through their hair, and having a grand old time. This was a different type of road trip, borne of necessity, a tiring but still interesting experience.

My mother was interred in Arlington National Cemetery, next to my father, on the morning of August 5th. My son was one of the relatives who attended, having flown in from Colorado. Since I will no longer need my car, I sold it to him and we drove it back to Colorado together for our mother/son road trip.  I took lots of pictures, but unfortunately did not keep written notes, thinking that I could look back on my many Facebook posts to recall events, but, alas, Facebook would only go back so far, and not to the beginning of the trip. So – With what I could remember from the dates on my photos and a few other things, I have pieced this trip back together to the best of my sometimes-faulty memory.

My son Michael and I left Maryland early on the morning of August 6th, and throughout the day traveled through Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky. It was a very long day, and what with construction and lots of traffic in parts, I would only drive when there was a straight road, no exits to worry about, but still had to deal some of the time with heavy traffic.

It was 5pm when Michael saw a sign for a distillery, and decided that we should pay a visit. After going down a long and winding road, we got to the gate, only to find out that it closed at 5pm! While we weren’t going to get real Kentucky bourbon from the source, he decided that we would have to buy it from a store instead – though we would have like to see how it was made.

We spent the night at the Hawthorne Suites in Louisville, Kentucky.  Noticed that the parking lot was full of sparkling clean very old cars. Turns out there had been a car show, and Michael had a very long conversation with one of the owners who had a Hudson, which I had never heard of.

Had dinner at a road house, way too much food for me to eat, so brought a doggie bag back to the room and into the refrigerator.  Breakfast buffet the next morning included biscuits and gravy – just had to turn my head away from that. So sorry, but gravy is not a breakfast food in my world…

On Sunday, the 7th, we drove through Kentucky to Indiana to Illinois and into Independence, Missouri, home of President Harry Truman, as many signs let us know. Saw the St. Louis Arch from a distance, which I was able to get a clear photograph of, thanks to a telephoto lens aspect of my smartphone.  Stayed at the Fairfield Inn which, unfortunately, didn’t have a refrigerator in the room, so my leftovers went to waste.  However, we did have a very nice dinner at the Jack Stack BBQ restaurant.

Somewhere during those two days and nights, I had fried pickles, I DID try mashed potatoes and white gravy (not bad when served later in the day) and some really good barbecue.

The next day, we traveled through the state of Kansas – miles upon miles of flat corn fields and quite a few amazingly large wind farms, which I had no idea existed out there. The sky was overcast in Salina (pronounced Sal-EYE-na), and fortunately we did not run into any tornadoes, though Michael was hoping that he would see one. Reached Denver in the evening, met his girlfriend and her family, had dinner at Wendy’s and then Michael drove home in his car and his girlfriend drove me to his house in my car. I’m purposely not saying anything about  his personal life right now, because I have not seen him post anything on his page.

So Tuesday morning our road trip was over, and it was time to register the car in his name. What followed was two days of grief and errors  and jumping through so many hoops, I felt like I was back in Mexico. We went to motor vehicles, were told that we needed a special form filled out to verify the VIN number. We drove to several places, who either didn’t do it, wanted to charge us for it or only did it at certain hours.  Drove to the Subaru dealer to get that done, drove back to motor vehicles and sat until we were called – around 4pm – only to be told that the dealer had written 0810 for the year of the car instead of 2010, and since no corrections were allowed to be made, a new one needed to be filled out and signed with no errors. So no vehicle transfer took place that day.

The next day, I had breakfast at a local deli, with a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. Every time I go out onto the road, the view of the mountains is just incredible, and I can’t think of how people might just get used to the view and not notice it if they live there.

After breakfast, I went to the police station, had the form filled out, Michael came home from work and we finally had the car transferred into his name, then put on the new Colorado license plates!  Yaaaaay!

So now that the road trip and transfer were taken care of, I could be out on my own while Michael was at work, and decided to have coffee at a place called  Third Space Coffee. As a nurse, I found the name amusing, as “third spacing ” to us medical people means fluid shifting from where it’s supposed to be, such as in your blood vessels, to where it shouldn’t be, such as in your abdomen causing ascites.  Anyway, went there, and the sign was up, but the inside of the store wasn’t even built yet – it looked dirty with no furniture or anything inside. So I settled for an Indian buffet at the Indian restaurant a few doors down.

Friday, the 12th, I flew back to Maryland, and thanks to the wonders of electronic media, I saw in time that Delta had rescheduled the first leg of my flight, so that I would still be in the air when my second flight was taking off. Looking at the flight schedules, I was able to book an earlier initial flight and still make it home to the Baltimore-Washington Airport at my originally scheduled time of 6pm.  I did notice at the Denver Airport signs not only directing you to the gates, but also to the tornado shelters, so I guess Tornado Alley extended farther west than I had realized.

So, that’s about it for now. Enjoy the pictures and see you next time!

 

Maryland Crabs and Meeting New Friends in Rotary

Until I return to Mexico on September 6th, I will be writing about personal stories as well as general stories about life in the United States. Since my U.S. address is now Maryland, I just have to mention our famous Maryland crabs.

After I arrived, my sister and I had dinner with her son Andy, his wife Nathalie and dinner was two dozen crabs from the local crab house. Two dozen might seem like a lot, but there is actually very little meat in them.

They were cooked with Old Bay seasoning, a very popular spice here, and eaten on spread-out newspapers, since it is very messy. We did not have lobster forks to pull the meat out of the small legs, but we did have wooden mallets to smash the shell of the legs and claws. For the main body, you can just pull the shell apart.

Whenever I travel, I like to attend local Rotary meetings, if possible, both in order to meet new people and to see what kind of projects they are involved in. If I am lucky, there will also be an interesting guest speaker, and luckily all of these things happened yesterday.

I attended a meeting of the Towsontowne Rotary Club, just 5 minutes from where I am now living. They said I was the first guest from an e-club and had me get up and describe what our meetings are like. They also said they are a “hugging club” and after the initial pledge and 4-way test, each member hugged every other member.

The members were friendly and interesting and had a wonderful guest speaker, Steven B. Goldberg, MD – a psychiatrist who started Veterans Health Services, Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit to help veterans with mental health issues. VHS is the provider with no middleman or additional overhead. It is separate from the military, because many servicemen are hesitant to go for help because they are afraid it will negatively affect their military career or other aspects of their life outside of the military.

Staff will have 80 hours of specialized clinical training before they ever see a patient. Care is based on need and staffing levels will be sufficient to prevent the wait times normally seen with the VA.

VHS owns the building in which they will be located and leases out 100,000 square feet of it to help with the cost of providing services. It will also have nice decor and furniture, so that the veterans will not be sitting around in a depressing, poorly maintained space. The project will be starting up in 6 cities.

You can find out more about it at Give5Drive.org  – the name comes from their request that whomever we tell about it is requested to donate 5 dollars to the project. Other links to this project are:

SGoldberg@VeteranHealthServices.org

and

VeteranHealthServices.org

     I was very happy to hear of someone doing something for our veterans and service members in distress, and the fact that he is a psychiatrist means that he truly understands their needs. I encourage all my readers to check out the sites that I have listed and consider donating, spreading the word, or contact people in your area who might be able themselves or know someone who might be able  to start developing a similar program, since I believe this VHS is local to the Maryland/D.C. area.

So that is all for now. Tomorrow morning is my mother’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, and then Saturday will be the first day of a 3-day road trip with my son to his home in Colorado Springs…..

Have a nice remainder of your week and an even better weekend….