Plague Journal 3: Road Trip

This will be decidedly less political than the previous entry, but since I’ll be talking about the Covid nightmare at some point, it’ll doubtless get opinionated, so consider this your trigger warning (if angry leftist thought triggers you).

We left town a couple weeks ago. I’m teaching a class this summer, as I try to every summer (downtime = depression), but this year, for obvious reasons, I’m teaching it online. Which can be done anywhere there’s an internet connection, right? Right. (This is the shortened version of a whole conversation we had.)

Annette’s brother lives on a farm in Northern Washington, with his wife and four boys, and they were kind enough to invite us to come hang out with them, so we said fuck it, made arrangements to have Rob look after the house (which, thank you Rob), and got out of town. When the opportunity to go live somewhere else for free for a few weeks arises, you say “yes” as loud as you can. This is the longest we’ve been away since our honeymoon…and actually, I think it’s the longest trip we’ve been on ever. It’s been really nice.

My brother-in-law and his family are incredibly laid back and easy to be around, and there’s a second house on the property, so Annette and I have had some privacy, and I’ve been able to grade essays and work on the next volume of the book a bit, and it’s just been really nice. This is where we’ve been living the last two weeks:

The bandwidth in our house is perfect. It’s enough to have a connection and grade essays, but not enough to stream any television, so it’s been quiet. And T-Mobile has zero fucking connectivity where we’re at, so the phone hasn’t been ringing at all, which makes me so happy I could cry. This is the slowest living I’ve done in forever, and I cannot tell you how good it’s been. These are some pictures from the walk we took the other night:

When we get home, it’s back to #1000mphclub. I’m teaching six classes, which, twice before, I’ve said I’m never doing again, but there was some miscommunication with one of my schools, and since I don’t have to actually drive anywhere, I’m willing to give it a shot. Last fall, I taught from 7am to 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and only 7 hours of that was actual classroom time, so hopefully this will be easier on me. And if it isn’t? I’M NEVER TEACHING SIX CLASSES AGAIN (that was mostly being said to myself).

So yeah, these last two weeks have been wonderful.

The trip up was brutal. We did the whole thing in two days and I am officially done with that kind of travel, forever. I cannot pack my 6’10” frame into a tiny little bullshit car and drive for 12 hours ever again. It just kicks my ass. And it was literally 12 hours the first day (counting bathroom stops for us and the dogs), and we still never left the state of California.

At one point, we stopped in Redding, CA to get gas and use the bathroom and the only people wearing masks were Annette and I. There was a husband and wife using the bathroom before me, and when the guy came out, he handed me the key, and I refused to take it. Like, do they not know there’s a plague on? Annette did a little research on her phone and Redding is one of the least affected areas in the state, but I’m still judging you a little bit, Redding. Put some fucking masks on before that stops being true. Anway…

Neither of us had ever been further north in California than San Francisco, and holy shit does our state get beautiful. We stayed in Montague, CA, which is right next door to Weed, CA, which I’d honestly never heard of. As we approached, I was wondering if the town was actually named after weed, and yeah, it is. Gorgeous country though, and this is the place we stayed in:

I honestly don’t think it was much bigger than my car, but all we needed was a bed and a fridge, and it was perfect. And as you can see from the picture on the left, our tiny house was protected by a skull avatar of Jerry, the Sacred Bull.

The second day was even more beautiful. Neither of us had ever been to Oregon before, and we’re both 100% ready to move there. As soon as we’re past this plague bullshit, we seriously want to go to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Just driving through was amazing, I so wanted to stop and spend time there. As we were driving through Portland you couldn’t even tell that President Trump had sent secret police to beat the shit out of, and abduct protesters. It’s a beautiful town; even in the daylight, you can’t see the fascism and martial law. What the fuck has happened to us? Anyway…

By the time we got up here to the farm, two days of sitting in a tiny Fisher Price car had destroyed my ass, lower back, upper back, shoulders, and neck. It was probably four days before I was no longer in pain. So we’re taking our time coming home. We’re leaving tomorrow and we’re gonna be driving down the coastline, spending a few days in Oregon, spending a few more along California’s central coast (which is required), and seeing an old friend on our way home. It’s going to be a good week.

Here, have a picture dump:

S’mores, campfires, and family. Not pictured: my nephew Schuba, because I’m a terrible uncle.
Me and the Roan.
Annette and the Roan.
The private driveway to a neighbor’s property. We decided not to trespass.
We got to have lunch with Jules twice. We went back to social distancing after we took the pic. Yes, I know the coronavirus doesn’t have a five second rule. Shut up.
Me, Schuba, and Titan, the 150-pound lapdog.
Annette and the Schuba.