by wjw on December 19, 2014

joadmobileI write from a motel near Dayton, Oh., after a long second day of our Cross-Country Odyssey.

The plan was to load the car of Kathy’s late Aunt Dolores with such of Dolores’ things as we wanted to bring west, then drive cross-country in the middle of winter in an underpowered, overloaded 1995 Ford Escort station wagon with 94,000 miles on it.  Surely I wasn’t the one who thought of this.

I can’t help but think I’ve been conscripted into the Joad family.  We’ll be strapping Granny to the roof any time now.

I’m trying to plot a course to avoid as much scary weather as possible, but so far it’s been scary at least once per day.

I’ve learned much about the geography of Pennsylvania, which took most of the day to cross.  The western part is all mountains, climbing up and up and up.  Ohio must be much higher than Pennsylvania, on average.

I’ve also learned the location of Pennsylvania towns I’d vaguely heard of, but hadn’t been able to place on a map.  Hop Bottom, Tunkhannock, Shinkshinny, Punxsatawney, and Clarion, the college town where the workshop originated.

And lots more with less memorable names.

The car is holding up remarkably well, and performed better today than yesterday, I suspect because the gunk (technical term) has been blown out of it.

Be home sometimes this weekend, weather permitting, which it may not.

Foxessa December 19, 2014 at 8:12 pm

O, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that drive in winter from New York to New Mexico. It can indeed be harrowing. I sincerely hope that you and Kathy don’t experience anything more harrowing than you’ve done already.

It’s too bad too, because, as I learned — long after those trips — Pennsylvania is one of the most beautiful states around. Too bad the power$ruling the $tate are hell bent on destroying as much of it as fast as possible. What mining and miserly rightwingery has wrecked already, as the public education system, they’re blithely finishing off with fracking.

Driving back and forth from NO and MD’s Eastern Shore, we finally got to know Pennsylvania pretty well.

Love, C.

TRX December 19, 2014 at 11:46 pm

It’s the Family Truckster!

Shash December 20, 2014 at 1:22 am

I hope you packed emergency junk food rations.

Seriously though, have a safe drive. Expect the Escort to struggle a bit in the thinner air of Santa Fe.

Dr Paisley December 22, 2014 at 4:07 am

Are there cats involved? Because you shouldn’t be doing this without Joadpurrs.

I’l see myself out.

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