When last we left our intrepid travelers, they were in Evanston, Wyoming, preparing to fight off the rampaging hordes. Not really, but the events that prompted Eclipsed! Plan Crash had me feeling a bit that way.
During the airport phase of our trip’s rearrangement, there was also a significant amount of rescheduling and connecting with people going on. BA was talking and texting with her brother that no, we really weren’t going to make the wedding and our breakfast date for Friday morning was off. She was also communicating with our cat sitter around our changed schedule, making sure that she would be able to continue to look after Jules and Lucy. Living with Elder Cats. I was sending messages to clients rescheduling their upcoming appointments as well as emailing with our Oregon group coordinator that BA and I would not be joining the group shuttle at the airport. Once we were on the road, these processes went temporarily dormant.
But wait, there’s more!
Friday morning, while BA was deciphering the airline puzzle, I took another look at my schedule book, honing in on the days immediately following the eclipse, when we would be driving home. I noticed a set of initials belonging to a new client, coming for her second session on Wednesday. Another person to reschedule. Going through both my phone and computer, I couldn’t find any of her contact information. Shit. Not showing for an appointment is just not okay with me. BA suggests that perhaps I can fly home Tuesday as originally planned while she drives home.
I check the airline schedule, there is a seat available, but I don’t feel good about leaving BA driving the 1200 mile trip home on her own. She’s a good driver, and has done many long road trips both solo and companioned. Nonetheless, I feel as if I’ll be abandoning her if I fly home. On the other hand, I feel terrible if I abandon a client by not showing for an appointment. I try a few more things to find her contact information. BA and I talk some more, and its at this point I go out for my run.
Running, I am first amazed at how good it feels to run. I had imagined that it would be hard after so much stress and driving the day before. I was pleasantly surprised that I warmed up easily, and the cool morning and jogging through a new town was both invigorating and relaxing. I felt the effects of the higher altitude (6700 as opposed to my accustomed 5300 feet) and was happy that it seemed to minimal impact on my running. As I continue to run and enjoy the morning and activity, I come to the conclusion that if there is still a seat available to fly home Tuesday, I will take it. It’s important for me to honor my commitment to my clients whenever possible and its also important for me to trust BA and our communication. If she says she’s fine with driving home solo, I can trust that.
Returning to the motel, I again confirm with BA that she’s okay with driving home on her own. I check online, and a flight home remains, later than originally planned, but there. I use my credited miles from yesterday’s canceled flights and a little cash, and I now have a flight home on Tuesday. I send yet another email to our group coordinator, asking her to put me back on the airport shuttle. I experience relief in my body, with tension dropping. That’s a real truth teller for me, confirmation that I’ve made a good decision. I’m not totally happy about it, and it feels the best choice at the moment. Memo to self: Put new client contact information in your phone as soon as possible, you never know when you might need it!
And we are off on phase 2 of the road trip. Evanston to LaGrande, Oregon, 550 miles away. Longer than we would like, particularly starting later in the morning (all those phone calls, runs, etc). However, we are now driving through the areas of eclipse totality, and in this fairly rural part of the country, the limited lodging is largely sold out. We enter Utah on I-80 and soon head in a northwesterly direction as we join I-84, cutting through Utah and entering Idaho.
Whither the atlas; the Walmart default
During our hasty road trip packing, I had searched in vain for our road atlas. I knew we had one as we had used it in May when we went to Yellowstone. I didn’t find it, and as we knew our general route, we headed out sans atlas. Each time we stopped for gas, we looked for an atlas, and were surprised that no one had one. All manner of junk food and drink, but no atlases or road maps. Driving along, questions would arise, where does this road go, what are the relationships here, how far to, etc. Stopping for gas and lunch in Burley, Idaho, we again ask at the gas station. They don’t have an atlas, but the attendant tells BA that she saw them in the Walmart across town.
We eat our picnic lunch in a lovely park on the Snake River, enjoying the view and people boating. As we continue through town, we find a supermarket and stop in for a few items. Shopping, we notice a good book section, maybe we now can get an atlas. No joy. Again asking a clerk, she also tells us to go to Walmart, where she saw some just yesterday.
Walmart isn’t our favorite corporation, but we really would like to have an atlas, so we stop on our way to rejoin I-84. BA goes in and searches. No luck; she talks to a knowledgeable head clerk who tells her that they don’t carry atlases, all they have are a few basic maps, and she recommends a truck stop. Its curious that the default answers from other shop people around town was “Walmart has it” even as its does not appear to be the case. The truck stop advice was good, and at our next refueling stop, BA emerges triumphantly with our new atlas!
The End is Near
We drive on, traffic light to moderate, despite the coming event. We arrive in LaGrande around 7pm, find our lodgings and after humping our gear up the steep stairs to our room, go back downstairs to the little wine bar and bistro on the first floor. Delicious homemade soup, bruschetta and salad. Just the light meal to soothe after another day of travel. We share a half glass of wine between us, toasting the couple whose wedding we did not attend.
Arising early the next morning, we pack and head out. Our drive from LaGrande to Salem is blessedly uneventful, and we arrive around noon. Shortly after lunch, we locate the Willamette University campus, check-in and are issued our dorm room keys and temporary campus ID/access cards. Entering our dorm, we are greeted by our friend Joel Weisberg, the Carleton faculty member leading the trip. We made it; we will be present for Monday’s big event, the total solar eclipse!