Heading West again: we are escaping another Covid Winter in Massachusetts. James could not wait to get going.  His work is remote now, and with a secure Wi-Fi hook-up he is in business. He made sure our new “Revel” ™ Van was cocked and loaded, ready to take to the interstate. Since returning from our last trip he has upgraded all the van equipment, rethought the cooking, packing and water systems and made everything faster, simpler and better. It is his talent: I am lucky to have a survivalist husband!  The upkeep of house and garden in Newton falls largely to me, while the comparatively small van fully preoccupies him. My only contribution to the tricked-out man cave is weeding out the past due cans in the tiny pantry and buying quality linens for the bed.

The travel plan, roughly drawn, is Lawrence, Kansas (Ramsey, Erin and Baby Fiona) Utah (skiing with friends) Truckee, California (Stoddard/skiing/working), somewhere warm on the way to Baja Mexico for a week in March, and home again via Kansas. Along the way we will work remotely and visit friends and family cautiously, the same as last year. 

Exotic Van Life! We travel south from Boston: low traffic, seven states in eight hours.  By the time we  reach the snowy rest stop in West Virginia we are ready for dinner, chicken something over rice, reheated from last night.  We go to bed and, Surprise! wake up almost frozen.  Our van heater had shut down around 3 AM to preserve fuel.   Thanks to our smart van we had enough fuel to get to the gas station. Hmmmm….It’s all coming back to me, not-so-exotic Van Life.

The next day we fill up on diesel and get an early start through snowy West Virginia mountains, across Kentucky, Indiana and finally to Grayville, IL, on the banks of the Wabash river at the glamorous Skeeter Mountain rest stop (#164).  This time we made sure we had enough fuel for the heater.  At 9 degrees we needed it. I could hear the trucks parked nearby idling all night long, a sound both comforting and ominous.  I was beginning to feel like an astronaut in a space capsule.. no interest in exiting the pod without life support.

The next day, James’  morning meeting over, we get on our way to Kansas, anticipating family and a comfortable bed.  Everything feels better as we fly across the beautiful frozen flat farms of southern Illinois. Stopping for diesel at a truck stop I decide to risk an exit from the van, pushing the heavy door against the blowing wind, trying to zip up my coat with cold hands as I walk around enormous trucks to the front of the convenience store.  I have my mind set on Kettlecorn.  Entering the store I see we are back in gun country again.  Aggressive gun bumper stickers, kettle corn and windshield fluid are all available.. plus showers and a darkened game room (adults only).  I am glad to return to my space capsule.

So the journey begins…

1/25/22 Update from Lawrence, Kansas.  It is January; grey and cold.  The house is warm. Fiona is 15 months old and awesome.. her daycare drop off is Mimi and Grandpa Jim’s responsibility. We make dinner and do whatever we can to make Ramsey and Erin’s busy life easier.  We squeezed in a visit to the Nelson-Atkins museum in Kansas City yesterday: it was truly wonderful to be looking at art in a major museum again. We will be in Kansas through the week.

9 degrees

Back in Gun Country
9 degrees
Fiona 15 months