I am a woman of regular habits. I wake up pretty much the same time every morning, so I like to go to bed at the same time each night. I have my morning routines and my evening routines, and I usually find comfort in them. I’ve sometimes wondered if I have a slight case of OCD.
But after a while, I get tired of those routines and need a break. This may be a small part of why life in the military suited me. There, after two or three years on a job, they would send me to a different job somewhere else. And even the most boring jobs would be broken up by periods of travel or irregular times of alarm. On the only boring job I had that didn’t have a break, I was promoted out of it before my tour was up.
Now that I’m not working, I have to come up with other ways to break things up. Usually, that’s easy: Road trips!
Early in the pandemic, I planned out a long trip for when we could travel again. But it soon became clear that we wouldn’t be able travel again anytime soon, and I lost interest. The planning is only fun for me if there is a possibility that we might actually take the trip. But now that we can travel once again, I’ve planned another, less ambitious trip. We leave in a couple of weeks to visit friends and relatives spread across the country. If we manage to do it all, we’ll be gone a bit more than five weeks, which is about our limit.
I like to plan the trip and make motel reservations for each night. As we’ve gotten older, we’ve found that it is easier for us to stay in motels than in people’s guest rooms. And I like to know that we will have a place to stay each night. In the past, there have been a few times when every room within fifty miles is already taken because of some event we were ignorant of — college graduation or football game, NASCAR, local holiday, or, once, the duck decoy carvers convention. After driving all day, I don’t want to start searching for a room. Besides, I can get indecisive when I get tired, and that just makes it worse.
When I retired, I hopped on my motorcycle and headed out with no itinerary. Each evening I would look at the map and plan the next day’s ride. It was a wonderful trip that ended up lasting 90 days. But Andrea and I tried doing that one time. By the second night we realized it wasn’t working for us. I’ve planned out our trips since then.
Of course, just because a trip is planned, things can change. In the past we’ve had to change our plans because of blizzards or wildfires or, once, a case of food poisoning. Even with 2- and 3-day motel cancellation policies, they’re usually pretty good at adjusting when we call to let them know we can’t get there as scheduled. I think that in all my years of travel there’ve been only a couple of motels unwilling to accommodate us and adjust. Now, with COVID, the motels have shortened their cancellation times to 24 hours. (See: even a pandemic has an upside.)
This past year has been difficult, but we’ve been lucky. We didn’t get sick and don’t know anyone who was hospitalized or died of COVID. Many were not so lucky. Even as things are getting better, currently one American dies of COVID every two minutes. Not good.
We don’t know what we will find as we travel across the country, but we’re looking forward to reconnecting with our friends in person. Ride along with us as we go.