Texas girl in the middle of Kiwiana

Amy Boatman

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Days Two and Three – Picking Up the Conversation

After my last post, I turned off my computer and climbed into bed. Let me preface this by saying I love true crime shows. My favorite is Cold Case Files. Just before I left Texas, I watched an episode about a man who killed women staying in the hotel in which he worked. Really not a good idea to watch something like that just before I left on a long trip. So, I woke up at least three times in the night and had to make sure the door was locked. Between that and Sparky meowing off and on for hours, I didn’t get much sleep.

In the morning, I loaded up the critters and headed off to Mesa. The trip was uneventful. I continue to be surprised at how well the pets are doing. The cats just hang out in their carriers. Shadow meows a bit but not much. Mostly, they just hang out and sleep.

I listened to 60 Minutes podcasts and got to Mesa around 5ish. I’ve been looking forward to this leg of the journey for a long time because I finally got to meet Elsieaustin. We’ve been emailing and IMing and talking on the phone for months. We’ve had these intense discussions about, well, everything. So we finally got to meet in person. She was just as wonderful as I thought she’d be. After spending a long time hauling my two very large cat carriers, complete with cats, my dog, and all my stuff into her apartment, we settled into a conversation that felt like we were just picking up where we left off from our last one. We talked about Xena, the XOC, writing, stories, and a bunch more stuff. Before I knew it, it was 11pm and time to get ready for bed.

I was pleasantly surprised that Sparky only meowed a little bit in the night and I slept really good. We sat and talked some more over coffee since she was going into work late. It was really nice just getting to visit. She suggested we carry the cats down in our arms this time instead of the carriers and that made it so much easier. The very last animal was R.J. the cat. We looked everywhere for him but just couldn’t find him. Finally, there he was under the bathroom sink all nestled in amongst the rolls of toilet paper and cotton balls. He’s so funny. Back at the car, me and Elsie said our goodbyes. It was a really awesome evening/morning and I’m really glad we got to spend some time together. Hmmm, the Carol Burnett song just burst into my head.

I’m so glad we had this time together
Just to have a laugh and sing a song
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say so long

I’m really, really sleepy. Can you tell? :D

After leaving Elsie’s house, I just drove and drove and then drove some more. I was on I10 for over a 1000 miles and the vast majority of it was a rollicking gallop through nothing, nothing, and more nothing. I think I was in that drive trance when I realized I was about to miss my exit for I5. I sped across three lanes of traffic but I made it. I was so glad I hadn’t missed it because I probably would have hit Malibu before I realized something wasn’t right.

I expected to get caught in LA traffic but surprisingly, I didn’t. In fact, there was very little traffic at all. Not once did I hit the bumper to bumper I was expecting. The landscape FINALLY started to change too! I was very excited about that. I had mountains to look at and a city to see. Well, I think it was mountains and a city. The haze that squatted over the entire region made it hard to tell. At some point along the way, I hit some major wind action and had to white knuckle the steering wheel. I’ve gotten too many speeding tickets and honestly my days of speeding are over so everybody and their grandma on her moped were whizzing by me at dizzying speeds. But they were all real friendly and gave me a little wave as they zipped around me. At least, that’s what I choose to believe they were doing.

I saw something today I’ve never seen before. Not in 39 years of living. Runaway truck ramps. These are ramps that go up so that if a truck loses its brakes while going down the hill, it can stop. I had no idea that trucks were that prone to running away. Makes you a little afraid to get in front of them. And there were lots of trucks. It seemed that they were limited to the right two lanes so I stayed in one of the left two lanes. Of course, since I wasn’t speeding, that gave everybody plenty of opportunities to wave at me as they blew by.

After what seemed like 20 years, I finally pulled into the La Quinta parking lot. Today was a nine hour day. Day one was also a nine hour day. It’s amazing how much longer nine hours can seem on day three of a six day trip as opposed to day one. My room’s on the second floor but luckily it’s right near the elevator so getting everyone up to my room was a piece of cake. The IHOP is conveniently located right next door so I had breakfast for dinner. It was fantastically good. It’s not easy eating on a road trip when you’re vegetarian. I can’t just pull into Dairy Queen and order a veggie burger. I am in California but even this granola state isn’t that granola yet. Although come to think of it, it may be. I didn’t actually stop anywhere to look. My friend Bri tells me between here and Sacramento is a great place to get fruit and nuts.

Tomorrow is a short day, only about five hours. I’m hooking up with a bunch of my recovery friends in Sacramento. We’re gonna meet for dinner and hang out. I haven’t seen them in at least nine months, some of them it’s been over a year, so I’m really excited. A couple are even driving three hours just to see me. I feel special. :D

I’m truly exhausted now but I still need to walk Pachelbel before I turn in. R.J. is eating the dog’s food, Sparky is sitting on the table looking terrified, and Shadow is eating and threatening to snot all over the wall. I was hoping her allergies would be better here but apparently they won’t be. Ah well, what’s a bit of snot amongst loved ones?