I think I might have come up with a Maxine replacement. Something much less exciting but easier for me to manage. I am going to write a continuing story with only a couple of characters and all the stories will run from them and each story will be more or less complete so that it doesn’t continue. I think I can juggle that much. So let the story begin…
“It’s Wednesday for God’s sake. Who starts a trip like this on a Wednesday,” my husband asked. Before my road trip ended Jeff would be my ex-husband. the papers were filed and only one of us needed to go to court. He wanted the divorce, so let him be the one. That was my thinking. Since our kids were more or less grown, there was nothing holding me in town.
I had read two or three books about road trips and I wanted to do it before I died. So what if I was 46 years old. People much older had done the easy rider thing. Okay, they usually were on big ass Harley or Triumph choppers, and I was leaving town on a Tomos Sprint 50cc moped. I would even be dragging a trailer, made by a man who smoked weed all day, to add to my stupid looking quotient. Yes he smoked weed as he made his bicycle trailers, they were supposed to be the best though. I had paid two hundred bucks for the stars and stripes decals which covered the little bike. I looked like a wanna be hippy nerd but I was still looking forward to the trip.
The trip was to be financed by my half of the house. Jeff was forced to buy it from me at market value. It would have been two hundred thousand before the housing bubble burst, but the hundred and twenty five grand would work. I was in fact doing it on a debit card with twenty thousand dollars in the account. I had purchased a tiny one bedroom downtown condo with the other hundred thousand. I planned a fold out sofa just in case one of the kids visited. That seemed most unlikely since their dad had had all the goodies.
I made the road trip decision after a lot of soul searching, but what the hell? I knew that it was my last chance. Once I returned I was going to be forced to settle down and earn a living. Not an impossible task for the former junior partner of my ex-husband’s sleazy criminal law practice. It was a true family business since his dad had started it.
My share of the law practice would pay for the start up of my own business, whatever I decided that it would be. I had to leave the BMW in the parking lot of the Jeff’s practice since it was a lease. Leasing in the company name made a lot of sense, when I was married to the senior partner. It made much less sense at that moment.
Jeff cringed as I worked the moped from the trunk of the car, where it had hung over the edge of the trunk It had probably scratched the paint as I drove from my new condo to the practice’s parking lot to deliver the BMW. From the back seat I removed the Weed smokers’s trailer.
Since the chances of damaging the car were greater with the trailer, Jeff rushed to help me unload it. “Are you sure this is safe?” he asked.
“No, but it’s a blast to ride. I figure with a tail wind I can do a hundred and fifty miles a day. The coast to coast road mileage is 4500 so it would seem that I am going to be gone pretty close to two months give or take. That is one way of course. I might just decide to turn around and come back the same way.”
“At least you are leaving with lots of good weather in the forecast, “ practical Jeff stated.
“Fair skies right up till it rains on me,” I said laughing. I hooked the trailer up to the non chain side of the Sprint. I was ready to go by 10AM.
“Do the kids know you are doing this crazy road trip?” he asked.
“They have my Phone number and yes they know I’m going on the road. Charlie thinks I’m nuts, but his friends on face book think it is just the coolest thing they ever heard of a mom doing. I think I could get a date with one of them when I get back. As for Cindy, she asked if I would buy her a Tomas, so that she could come along. Of course, I would have to wait till school was out and take her boy friend as well. So the short answer is yes they know.” I said.
“Please be careful. I will feel terrible if anything happens to you,” Jeff said.
“Not terrible enough to put our life back the way it was,” I suggested.
“No, we have gone too far now,” he said.
“No Jeff, you have gone too far,” I said I was ready so I slipped on the lightweight bicycle helmet, that at a glance looked like a motorcycle helmet. I kicked the easy to turn kick start and the 49cc engine caught immediately. I revved it up, smiled and waved goodbye to Jeff, then off I went, roaring along at about twenty miles an hour.
I got out of town in about ten minutes. The GPS thingie directed me to a county road, which in turn connected to a state highway. That state highway was one of those which was also the main street of half a dozen small town. Probably more, but there were only three of any interest to me. I made it through all three before I was tired enough to stop for the evening. The GPS thingie listed restaurants and motels, but they were only ones that were new enough or large enough to be of interest to most travelers. The ones I wanted were not in the GPS.
It turned out not to be a problem. Those small towns along the highway had at least one hometown cafe. I had my very late lunch in one that was so old the grease on the wall had changed the color of the paint significantly.
“So sweetie, what you gonna have,” the chubby blond waitress asked.
“What’s good?” I asked.
“Most anything, if you want a dinner the beef stew is good. If you want a burger, I’d go with the beer joint cheese burger,” she said.
“Then make it sweetened iced tea and the beer joint burger. I haven’t had sweetened ice tead in years, or a beer joint style burger since I was a kid traveling with my dad,” I said.
“You got it,” she said with a smile. then after noticing my bike helmet. “You on a motorcycle?”
“No a moped,” I said.
“Ah my boyfriend rides a Harley,” she said smugly.
“Cool,” I replied. I wanted to ask her about a place to stay, so I didn’t let the small bit of condescension bother me.
The burger was exactly what it was billed to be. A quarter pound of beef cooked fresh and served in it’s own grease. It was topped with cheese, coleslaw and chilli. It even came with home made potato chips. It was better than any burger I had since I left for college.
“So how was it honey,” the chubby blond asked.
“Best I have had in years.” I replied honestly. She almost had the table cleared when I asked. “Do you have any idea where a girl can lay her head?”
“You looking for a cheap motel, a campground, or a man to take you in?” she asked smiling. She didn’t appear to be kidding.
“Motel or campground, which ever is closer,” I replied. I hated that she seemed to miss the reference to the old hippie song.
“The town has a park that allows camping. Mostly it RVs though. I think they will let you flop there,” she said.
“Cool could I get directions?” I asked. She gave them to me in detail. The GPS verified the directions once I got the name of the road where the campground was located.
It took me only ten minutes to manage the trip on the slow Sprint. Mostly it was because of the trailer following along behind. When I arrived I went to the very small office which obviously doubled as a storage shed. The note on the door said to pick a space the ranger would be around later to collect the fee.
I was very apprehensive, since it was my first night camping. I had no idea how it would all work out. I felt remarkably safe thanks to my dad, who had taught me to shoot as a little girl. I had bought myself a lightweight .357 magnum revolver made by Taurus of Brazil. Since I had no desire to shoot anyone who wasn’t standing right in front of me, I had it loaded with .38 special ammunition.
I wore cut off jeans, but not short ones. Mine would never make it to TV. They were real jeans I had worn out then chopped off. Under the jeans I wore bikini style cotton panties. Over the shorts I wore a large slightly heavy tee shirt. Under the tee I wore a bra and the .357 in an inside the waist band of my jeans holster. In other words I was dressed utilitarian and not at all sexy.
Considering my age, the extra thirty pounds, and the small boobs under a baggy shirt, I didn’t feel that I was going to have a problem with sexual predators. Also as a last resort there was the .357. Okay as the very, very last resort there was the ‘If you can’t avoid it, lay back and enjoy it,’ school of thought. With all that going for me, I wasn’t at all worried when I began my search for a space to crash.
As the blond waitress chick had suggested there were mostly trailers parked in the spaces. I found a sign which read primitive spaces only. Even I, who had never camped, knew that they had to be the ones with the least amount of services provided. Just right for a old chick with a camo plastic tarp for her only camping gear.
I was thrilled to see that the bathhouse sat on the improved side of the campground, but at the edge of the primitive area. It would be possible for me to take a shower the next day. Even better, I could get water for coffee.
I had given lots of thought to what I would take on the trip. The space in the tiny trailer was at a premium. One of the items was a small electric teapot. All campground had electricity, so I wasn’t worried. I might have to steal power, but I would be able to boil water. I also had a bag of loose coffee grounds.
I had experimented with coffee, while I was deciding to go on the trip. A teaspoon of the coffee grinds poured into the kettle of boiling water and left boiling another three minutes made great coffee. Yes it had to be strained through a piece of an old white cotton shirt, but it did work great. After two cups of coffee I would be ready to ride the Sprite to a cafe for real coffee and food. I never said I planned to rough it.
I parked the Tomos In the middle of five empty spaces in the primitive site. It seemed that the trailers spaces were filled but not the old school area. From the trailer I removed the 8‘x10‘ camo tarp. Actually it was two 5‘ x 8‘ tarps by the time it made its was into my trailer.There was also a small baby blanket which folded very small but held in body heat. I had tested the two tarps and blanket at 40 degrees and it wasn’t toasty but it was bearable. The whole thing would fit in a large shoe box with room left over. Not really but it was very small.
I laid it all out and checked the weather on my smart phone. I had a message from my son. It read, “Good luck mom and have a great time. All my friends on Face book are demanding updates, so let me know how it is going.
The weather was supposed to be clear and down to fifty degrees that night. I felt that it was a good sign to start out with a little luck. There was a man and his son who came into the primitive side of the park after 9pm. It had been dark for half an hour when they showed up. It was obvious that they had hiked into the park. I spoke to them while they worked on setting up there tent. Each of them carried half of the pup tent. I watched them and realized that I could do the same with my two tarps. Even so it was my plan was to stay in a motel if it rained.
I was tired but not exhausted. I did some web surfing but in the end I turned in early. I knew that I would be up and moving early the next day, so it was an easy decision.
It was sometime later, how much later I didn’t know, I heard loud voices from the trailer section of the park.