Ann McKenna Fromm
WRITER: Books, Essays, Ghostwriting
Did it Work to Caravan?
In two separate cars, Bill and I drove for six days from Pittsburgh to Dana Point, California.
Although I drove first, Bill and I followed the same directions from Apple Map. I felt protected, because in the rear view mirror, I could see Bill blocking for me if I wanted to change lanes. We always had plenty to talk about at dinner.
“I’ll have a Dewar’s on the rocks please,” I told the waitress at a restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“I don’t know what that is,” the waitress said. “I’ll ask my manager….”
“Wait,” Bill said. “Do you serve alcohol?”
“No, we don’t have none of that here. You can find some two blocks down at The Golden Saddle.”
So we stumbled into The Golden Saddle, a Persian restaurant with a live country & western band where we could buy Budweiser or Corona with 3.2 alcohol content.
“You won’t get any buzz from this beer,” the waitress said. Still, it tasted good. Bill ordered shish-ke-bob and I had a delicious Persian stew. After dinner, we even got up to dance to the country music.
The next day, the wind blew. Across Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, the wind blew. I had only seen real tumbleweed once before. I thought of John Steinbeck and Larry McMurtry, Carson McCullers and Cormac McCarthy. I had also read about wind in Little House on the Prairie. Bill said that these days, big trucks with their large surface area have been blown over by that prairie wind. My little Prius shook. I jiggled the steering wheel back and forth sometimes to make the car go straight. In his larger Ford, Bill did not notice the wind as much as I did. When we stopped for gas and got out of our cars, the wind blew my hair into tangles and burnt my face. I normally like wind, but I was glad to get inside and away from that wind.
Bill organized everything perfectly. I wanted to drive no more than eight hours a day, and I wanted to see the Grand Canyon. We reached the Grand Canyon’s south rim at about 4 p.m. on the fourth day. It was awe-inspiring and dramatic under the lowering clouds. The next morning was sunny and clear, but cold at 47 degrees. We unloaded our bicycles and rode for more than an hour along the trail overlooking the canyon. Even the gentle upgrades at 7,000 feet left me breathless. I felt euphoric, as if with a runner’s high.
I had never been to the “high desert” but only heard of it. In the Mojave Desert, we drove through thousands of acres of black rock, molten lava heaps, the mirage of grey lakes. It looked like a moonscape to me. On the fifth day, we reached Los Angeles. On the sixth, in our two separate cars, we reached Dana Point, California, our destination for the next two months.