Driving the USA on a Solo Cross Country Road Trip


Open Road to Where My Heart Desires
Open Road to Where My Heart Desires

Hello Road.  We haven’t been very close these past few years. I used to do California Road Trips – Giant Sequoia and Redwood trees, Big Bear, San Francisco, San Diego – but my tolerance for driving distances crashed and burned a few years ago.  With the exception of Las Vegas and Tucson, I haven’t driven much.  My 2014 car which had 12 miles when I purchased it in July 2014 has 6,650 miles 2 years later.  I know – why do I have a car?

I left my job of 7 years in February and one of my To Do before I started a new ‘real’ job was to drive cross-country. The last time I drove across country was in November 1991 when I moved from Orlando Florida to Los Angeles California.  It was 3 days – 2 of them in Texas (!), with stops to eat, use the bathroom and fill up.  It wasn’t a journey; it was a drive to reach a destination.

This time I want a journey – a solo Thelma and Louise, if you will, with a happy ending.  Hence my road trip adventure!  Me, my car – newly detailed and windows tinted for heat protection – and 3-4 weeks.

Road Trip across these good ole United States
Road Trip across these good ole United States

Starting Point: Los Angeles, California    Ending Point:  Bethesda Maryland

I’m not taking the same route on the both legs of the road trip but I’m not venturing too far north. It’s August, I know, but I’m not chancing freak severe fall/winter weather.   And, in full disclosure, I don’t want mountain driving.  I like looking at them, living close to them, even visiting them but I’m not keen on high elevations and winding roads. I guess I’d rather take my chances with tornadoes and heat.

Eastbound Trip:

Leaving LA heading to Washington DC
Leaving LA heading to Washington DC

My stops have a rhyme and reason that only I understand yet seem to fit into one of these categories.

  • Air and Space Museums
  • Caves, Caverns and Natural Wonders
  • Paranormal attractions
  • Civil Rights and American History sites

Granted, there is a side road trip to Ohio on the westbound trip to visit Amish country. Just because.  I also imagine I’ll be diverting to small towns along the way to check out vintage and/or antique stores.  Unlike airplane travel, my shopping is only limited by the empty space in my car!

Starting in Bethesday Maryland heading back to Los Angeles
Starting in Bethesda Maryland heading back to Los Angeles

(Source: https://roadtrippers.com)

There’s so much beauty to see, plenty of good food to eat and, most important, lots of people to meet.  This should be a well documented road trip.  I have multiple cameras and an iPhone!

I know I’ve over –planned and that’s ok.  If I decide I don’t want to see something, I won’t; if I decide to modify my route, I will and if I decide I’ve had enough, I’ll turn around and come home.  This is MY journey, after all.

Grief and Loss and Wine

My best friend’s mother is dying and it’s not a pretty death.  At 93 years old, her heart still beats strong and she has rallied from many other ER visits.  But not this one.  It’s a matter of time before she passes.   She has an infection and her body has become septic.  The infection has made her unstable, unable to tolerate the surgery needed to fix the cause of the infection.  My friend is overwhelmed by the situation — every cell in her body wants to do everything  possible to save her mother’s life but she knows there’s noting to b done.  Her feelings of loss almost render her paralyzed but she overcame them to focus on her mother and what’s best.

er mother has been difficult for the past few years and, quite frankly, was a most unpleasant woman for most of the 25 years I’ve known her.  Yet I feel a sense of loss  for the fiesty irritational woman she once was.    The essence of who she is no longer lives in this body.   We agree that the primary objective is comfort, a morphine drip to reduce her pain, nothing else.   I leave my friend alone to say good by to her mother’s body, to say whatever’s in her heart one last time.  How sad that her mother can neither hear her nor can she tell her daughter any final words.

It is our responsibility to ensure that her final days are dignified. Dying with dignity should be a basic right but humans are selfish in their moments of loss, aren’t we?

I’m in no mood for the Ugly Sweater Holiday party so I update the Man on the way home.  I’m sad, emotional, in no mood to party, I’m sorry.  What do you need, he asks.  It warms my heart that he asks.  Um, alcohol.  Wine or vodka? Yes — but not really. I’m too emotionally raw to drink that much.  I don’t want an alcohol-induced meltdown.  Sex.  Not a problem.  Depending on the alcohol I m not sure about sex but I like the thought.

I arrive home to a big glass of wine and a really ugly sweater!  and a bear hug.  The kind of warm strong hug that says “go ahead.  Feel the loss.”  We cuddle on the sofa, my ear pressed against his chest, listening to his heartbeat as we talk love, loss, death and grief.  We feel loss so deeply,  I wonder why we don’t feel love as deeply.  Maybe we do but we forget or take love for granted.

Grieving for my friend’s loss compels me to feel the human connections of love, of intimacy, of physical closeness more.  I think we want to fill the void caused by loss with the positives of human connection.  In this moment I’m comforted by his heartbeat even as mine is breaking.

Cherished? Sexually Desired? Loved?

As a woman, have you thought about what you need to see in your man’s eyes when he looks at you?  And depending on what you see, are you happy?  pissed off? sad?  puzzled?

I have a friend who is dating a great guy – on paper.  He’s smart, down-to-earth, eh, not so funny,  but really smart, hardworking and ambitious.  He has told her “I love you”,  has planned lovely romantic dates.  Yet, she doesn’t see devotion in his eyes.  She doesn’t feel she’s the most important person in/aspect of his life.

Is that worth ending a relationship over?  I think she has a great guy — deal with it.  Then I see the facebook post about 92 year old man singing to his 93 year old wife (who is in hospice) and I fiercely want this for her!

I want it for myself.

This man may have sexually desired his wife (Ihope) but, according to this video, his love is cherishing.  He is devoted to her and his actions are focused on letting her know 1) he is by her side and 2)  she is loved.  To be seen fully yet loved unconditionally.   Would you be able to do this?

To  feel so comforted and loved for no reason other than I am me.    To love someone because he’s him.  To think I can cherish someone for the rest of our lives.

verb: cherish; 3rd person present: cherishes; past tense: cherished; past participle: cherished; gerund or present participle: cherishing
  1. protect and care for (someone) lovingly.
    “he cared for me beyond measure and cherished me in his heart”
    synonyms: adore, hold dear, love, dote on, be devoted to, revere, esteem, admire; More

    think the world of, set great store by, hold in high esteem;
    care for, tend to, look after, protect, preserve, keep safe
    “a woman he could cherish”
    • hold (something) dear.
      “I cherish the letters she wrote”
      synonyms: treasure, prize, value highly, hold dear

      “I cherish her letters”

Which do you think you need in your life?  To be Desired? To be Cherished? What do you think you need or you

How does that equal love to you?  Or does it?




Dating and guns … oh my

I’m dating…..  I bought a gun.

I know, I know these statements should not be related.  Or if they are, I should seek counseling!    In my mind, in my world, they are very related — emotionally.

Dating is so different in my 50’s — there’s a lot ‘they’ don’t tell you about dating in  your 50’s.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Having a gun is so different, so foreign.  Both of these activities have me out of my comfort zone and both of them are borne out of accepting my age and where I am in my life.

Ok, dating.  I can’t put the gun under my pillow when I have overnight guests but I also don’t have a nightstand.  What to do?  Thankfully that chat hasn’t happened yet.  Matter-of-fact, at this point, I’m weeding out men based on their opinions on gun ownership.  There are A LOT of men online who are staunchly anti-gun and/or very restrictive gun control, especially in California.  Hard to wink at someone when he’s vehemently opposed to guns and I have one staring at me every night when I go to sleep.  Is this similar to a man who smokes weed every night and I’m not comfortable with that?

The gun — which is awesome! — was a decision that came upon me recently.    We live in a world of crazy, even more crazy in Los Angeles.  Heaven forbid, I’m in a ‘him or me’ situation.

One day, I realized that if that happens, I want ‘me’ to come out standing.  It wasn’t an easy decision to admit that I’d take a life if I had to but as I get older, I’m more vulnerable.  I’d like to pretend, since I’m a big woman,  that I can take care of myself in most situations.  Will that be true when I’m 65?

I was attacked at knifepoint when I was 25.   Not once did I think of getting a gun at that age.  Now I no longer have that youthful energy or anger. Could I fight off an attacker?  I don’t know and I’m not sure I want to find out.

I needed ‘self-defense viagra’.

I bought a beautiful gun (really?  who am I right now???), named her Mae West, and practice ALOT for muscle memory.  I don’t want that worst case scenario but if it happens, I want to be ready.

A long winded way of saying I’d like a partner in my life …. but I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself.  Hell, I might be the shooter of the family!!




Ah, HELLO BLOG You old friend

Life’s been crazy the past 8 months (longer!) and I’ve missed capturing the highlights of life in this blog.

Oh boy, a lot of travel, a lot of delicious food and A LOT of wine has been opened.  And my memory sucks — which may or may not be related to the wine or age.  Let’s see if I can revisit some of those memories over the next few weeks.

Just returned from a gorgeous weekend in Washington DC for Cherry Blossom Festival.  There are no words that capture the beauty of these trees.  More later.