Wednesday October 24, 2012.
I wake up in a strange place, the back of a van parked at a Walmart in Delaware. I have to pee really badly, but the store doesn’t open for another fifty minutes. Kim is still asleep, so I move to the front seat and play games on the iPad in an attempt to take my mind off of my bladder.
Seven o’clock rolls around. I feel too self-conscious to enter the store. Who goes to Walmart at 7:00? I look like I just woke up and I smell pretty bad. I’m afraid employees will notice if I go in and head straight for the bathroom. They’ll know I just slept in the parking lot and they’ll judge me for being a dirty hippie. I suppose that if I want to travel around the country, occasionally sleeping in parking lots, I’m going to have to accept that some people will label me as a dirty hippie. I enter the store. Much to my surprise, quite a few people go to Walmart at 7:00. I enter the bathroom relatively unnoticed.
We pull up to the toll booth at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in Delaware. I missed the sign saying how much the toll is.
“How much is it?”
My jaw drops as Steven starts scrounging for change. Holy cow. I give the money to the woman in the booth and drive through. There is a scenic outlook spot just after the toll and before the bridge.
“Do you want to stop?”
“Well we paid $12. We might as well stop and enjoy it.”
I park the car and step outside. It feels like summer. The smell of ocean fills my nose and I watch the seagulls swoop down to the shore in front of me. The sun is bright and warm and it immediately stops the jibber-jabber in my head, reminding me to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the present moment. Part of me is in disbelief. How did I get here? I think to myself, “Man, are we lucky or what?” Then I realize that what brought me to this moment was a combination of both luck and choice. I choose to use the resources that I am lucky enough to have to follow my dream. I choose to work hard and to not let the resources that I don’t have discourage me from following my dream. Not all of the consequences of those decisions are as glorious as a beautiful moment overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, but moments like these sure do make it worth the challenges we face to get here.
The last hour and a half of driving has been worrisome. The overdrive light started flashing, so I pulled over to consult the Ford manual. Flashing overdrive light means a transmission issue. The only thought in my mind now is, “Ugh, am I going to need a new transmission?” I mean, it’s probably not that big of a deal, but I am still concerned. This new complication is testing my patience.
We pull in to the parking lot of a free campsite just outside New Bern, North Carolina. I step out, walk around to the back of the van, and begin rearranging things to get the bed ready. From my right, Kim disconcertingly calls my name.
I know by Kim’s location and the tone of her voice that the rear passenger tire is flat. We just put new tires on five days ago. Now I listen as this one hisses and slowly deflates. There’s some chunk of metal protruding from the rubber. We must have just run over it in the last minute or two. A big part of me wants to be pissed off and feel like the victim of some tragic misfortune. How could this be happening?
But there’s nothing to be done just yet. The tire and transmission will have to wait until morning. For now, I just want to enjoy the evening. The sky is clear, revealing a multitude of stars, and the half-moon hangs high casting a magical glow over the campground. Nobody else is around. We lay out a blanket in the field and watch the night sky. Seconds later, a handful of shooting stars wizz by. This is perfect.
Thursday October 25th, 2012
The guy behind the counter at AAMCO (transmission place) asks me my address. I laugh uncomfortably, not knowing how to respond. The van doesn’t have an address, and I doubt “Right Here, Right Now” is an appropriate response.
We are at Trent River Coffee Company, downtown New Bern. This is a neat local coffee shop that hosts live music. We got to talking with the owner earlier, and it sounds like we might be able to play here if we’re ever passing through the area again. If we hadn’t run into trouble with the van, we never would have made this connection. And I certainly wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that delicious raspberry Italian cream soda. Funny how things work out. We’ll take the van in to get fixed tomorrow and then head to Charleston. I’m grateful for this extra day to experience New Bern.
Maybe we’ll hold off on Charleston. Apparently there’s a hurricane? We’re planning to camp down there. We don’t want to deal with that kind of weather. So where should we go now?
Friday October 26th, 2012
The overdrive light is flashing again as we pull in to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Not sure if the wrong part got replaced or if the problem was misdiagnosed. My worry level is up again. Nothing can be done until Monday because AAMCO is closed on the weekend. I’m trying not to think about it too much.
Saturday October 27, 2012.
So we decided to head inland to Chapel Hill, NC because Steven and I know some people here. It feels really good to take showers and be fed by a mom. I don’t care how old you are; it always feels good to be fed by a mom. Even if it’s not your biological mom. There’s some archetypal “mom” energy that just feels nurturing and warm.
Sunday October 28, 2012
I feel a little like we are lost and floating right now. I know that is just a part of the process though. We are learning as we go. Trying things out and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It’s a little unsettling at times. I had a dream the other night where a mentor of mine told me that I would relate to what Einstein said about the constant flux between tension and resolution. I don’t know if Einstein ever said anything about that, but I relate to it. Tension is a necessary part of resolution. Both are equally valuable. I try to keep that in mind when I am in the midst of discomfort.