Saturday, June 21, 2014

It Lives!: Chronicling the Trip to Maine

Christopher Rains (AKA The Kid) here. A few weeks ago, my parents reached the end of their sentence--I mean, um... exciting job opportunity in Chinle, AZ. I hope I can convince one of them to give you a detailed account of the Chinle experience, as from what they told me it was a truly--er--unique experience. They returned to Southern California, specifically their home base RV park in Aguanga, and spent Memorial Day weekend at my grandmother's house, where I met them. As I am wont to do, I commented on how unfair it is that they get to travel the country on a permanent vacation and how jealous I am of them. My parents, of course, will tell anyone who will listen, "this isn't a vacation, it's a lifestyle choice," but unfortunately, nobody my parents know is dumb enough to buy it. They travel for long periods of time, not working, sightseeing, eating local food, and stopping at any micro-brewery they find along the way. Call it what you will.

World's Best Hood Ornament
Anyway, as punishment for my insolence, they are now dragging me along with them as they head eastward, with the eventual destination of Maine. Also along for the ride is my dog, a half-labrador, half-ridgeback named Julian. This is much to the chagrin of my parents' two schnoodles, Abby and Ziva, who attempt to defend the RV from him every time he tries to get back inside. In my personal, entirely unbiased opinion, they feel inadequate seeing such a perfect example of exemplary dogginess, and are trying to compensate by bullying a dog four times their size and weight. Julian takes it in his stride, however, and tends to give them an equal amount of grief, since he is now trapped in a vehicle that is just big enough for either him or his energy, but not both. I do my best to burn off the excess energy by taking him for walks and finding open areas where he can run around at top speed for a while. This is very much like emptying a bathtub with a thimble.

The Kid and his Dog (Kid not pictured)
We pulled out of Aguanga on Monday, June 16, and made it as far as Yermo, CA. We arrived too late to visit the Calico ghost town, so Mom and I took the dogs to the designated dog area (dirt with a fence around it) and watched dust-devils coast by until the heat, wind, and dryness turned us to jerky. Then the humans drove over to Peggy Sue's Diner for dinner, while the dogs ate dry dog food and presumably plotted their revenge. The diner was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, which means it passed my parents' test for a good diner. They made a good patty melt, which means it mostly passed my test as well. I would have liked to go back the next morning for an omelette to finish the test, but my mother had exhausted the menu's supply of 50's trivia, which meant we'd actually have to make conversation if we went back. My dad made eggs in a basket (an egg fried in the middle of a piece of bread with a hole cut in it), which more than satisfied my AM egg craving.

The Bridal Veil Falls continue to get less impressive.
The next day, we headed across Nevada, bound for Utah. I indicated what a delightful family activity it would be to stop in Las Vegas and see some showgirls, but my parents reminded me that this was supposed to be a punishment to show me how boring and unvacationy their life was, so we breezed right through Nevada and reached St. George, UT where we bedded up for the night, after a short drive through Snow Canyon and a hearty dinner at the Black Bear Diner (another Triple D special). On Wednesday, we reached Nephi, about an hour's drive from Salt Lake City, and parked the RV. We drove into Salt Lake City to visit the offices of CompHealth, the company that arranges my parents' locum tenens work. Andy and Omai, their contacts at CompHealth, took us up the mountain pass for dinner, along with their wives, Nikki and Nikki. I'm terrible at remembering names, so I appreciated the handicap. We ate at the Silver Fork Lodge, which serves delicious dishes and tasty beer at prices that make you glad the company is paying.

"Whaddaya mean, 'we have to get to the other side of that'?"
We spent yesterday and today crossing Wyoming, staying in Rock Springs and Casper, respectively. The driving through both Utah and Wyoming was scenic, with lakes, rivers, snow-capped mountains, and prairies along the way. As a So-Cal resident, it is really awe inspiring to see so much beautiful, viable land that doesn't have McMansions built on it. The prospect of getting over the Rocky Mountains in an RV really gave me an appreciation for the early settlers, since every time I looked at those craggy peaks, I thought, "hm, I guess we're going to die today." Instead, we took a pass that lead us through, rather than over, which led me to the conclusion that in reality, the early settlers were probably idiots.

The sun is beginning to set over Casper, WY now, and as part of my punishment, I believe I am expected to go for a tranquil walk or bike ride along the pond and river banks, in order to keep the mosquito population well fed and healthy. When I return, I will inflate the air mattress that passes for my bed and attempt to get a measly 8 or 9 hours of sleep before my merciless captors wake me to continue the journey. We will soon reach their house in South Dakota.

I'll attempt to contact the outside world again during our week there.


  1. The more the merrier :) Sounds like fun!

  2. Great post - very funny. But definitely not a vacation - this is our life.