Since my last column I have travelled by airplane to California and back and driven more than 3,000 miles to my current location in Crozet, Virginia where I have only just arrived at deadline time.
I am visiting my dear friend “Blossom” Karen Hester-Dawes and her awesome family, husband Hawker, daughter Aurora and son Hudson. And yes they all live up to their names. I met Blossom in Aspen in when she auditioned for my rock opera, “Umbrella Man,” which was presented at the Wheeler Opera House on September 6 and 7, 1996. She played the role of “Blossom” in the play and the name has stuck.
Last fall I bought a small RV that I call the Escape Pod and I’ve kind of been gearing up for this adventure for several months. Brakes, tires, air conditioner, filters, flaps and fuel filters. After spending thousands I was really enjoying not having the “check engine” light on.
After a frenzied short trip to Half Moon Bay in California to memorialize my mom, me and my small shelter mutt “Chooch” hit the road, heading south for a beach, any beach. Before we even cleared Idaho Springs, the check engine light came on, of course. I decided to ignore it and so far so good.
Briefly I can report that Colorado has the worst roads, Mississippi has the best rest stops and Texas has the nicest beach. McDonalds has a firm grip on our nation with golden arches appearing on average once per seven miles, be they urban or rural miles.
The South is mostly a radio wasteland with vast swatches of Texas territory are void of NPR, community radio or decent country. There is no shortage of booming voices talking up Jesus on big chunks of the Southern FM dial. I heard nothing like our local station, KFFR 88.3 FM. The most compelling thing I may have heard over the air was a deadpan announcer droning and drawling endlessly, describing prices and details on an upcoming cattle auction. For the longest time I thought he was a preacher speaking in tongues.
I also caught a live broadcast of an NFL game between the Titans and the Chiefs and I was glued to the description of the spectacular finish. I don’t follow football but desperate times call for desperate measures. The Fraser Valley is awash in solid media. We are spoiled.
I made it this far. Even though I did drive around in tight circles looking for a flat, safe spot to park for the night, I’m not scared to be so far from my home in the snowy, Rocky Mountains. I have to admit that after the snowiest October on record I was not ready to hunker down for the winter.
If you are still with me, I will end with a few of my social media posts from the last week. Like me on Facebook for updates from the Escape Pod.
November 4, 8:15 p.m.
Boondocking in a secret, undisclosed location. Escape Pod was wheels up just before noon after undocking from The Tower dwelling in wintery Fraser, Colorado. Ignoring “check engine” light and lurking down muddy track in proximity to cancer-causing windmills. Sun falling fast in glorious display. #escapepod, #vanlife
November 6, 8:25 p.m.
Gone over 1200 miles. Boondocking in unknown location 50 miles from Corpus Cristi. Ocean or bust tomorrow.
November 7, 12:47 p.m.
Beach at last.
November 7, 4:03 p.m.
Mustang Island Texas. Being swarmed by sunshine and surf. Escape Pod on beach perched on obvious tide line. Chooch is exposed as surf dog by plunging into gulf waters. Rare albino water sloth cited by locals wearing protective eyewear. Naked. Caressed. By salt. And sea. #escapepod, #vanlife
November 8, 6:32 p.m.
Not a glamorous day. But it did start on Mustang Island after a night of stormy battering. Got foamed at by a white supremicist while trying to make Escape Pod maneuvers. Tense driving conditions but just pulled over and parked the Pod behind an abandoned bank … two days to get to Crozet, VA.
November 9, 8:25 p.m.
Chooch is officially sick of road tripping. Crossed three states today and landed at Oak Mountain State Park in Alabama. Will probably slow down tomorrow and do some exploring. I’m 2300 miles in … in the official middle of nowhere. #escapepod, #vanlife, #airchooch
November 10, 4:45
You’ve heard of the edge of 17 … I’m on the edge of Tennessee. Panther Creek State Park to be precise. Chooch spooned like a super dog and travelled like a real sport today. The road is straight and 2700 miles long so far. Just over four hours to Crozet, VA.
Steve Skinner is glad to land for a few days, even if temps are well below freezing. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.