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In the rearview mirror

March 2, 2007

Wow. Two years have passed since I piled all of my crap into a U-haul that was too small and my little Honda Civic, along with my friend Julia, my dad, and thankfully, enough “pep talk” for the car and headed from Seattle to Denver to start my new life. Just getting here was adventure enough.

Having made the decision to move almost overnight (well, the desire had been there for five or six years, but driving into a Jack-in-the-Box parking lot one day at lunch to be witness to my ex kissing the chick he left me for (which even then, he denied that they were seeing each other), caused my motivation level to peak and I pretty much moved as fast as I could), I didn’t have a whole lot of money, so I went for the smallest truck possible. It seemed the logical choice at the time, seeing as I had half as much stuff to move as I did six months prior. Well, I had a lot of stuff. My dad literally packed the thing with a tape measure. We had enough clearance to close the door and that was it. It was packed full, as was my car.

The intent was to load up the car and tow it behind the truck. However, the rental place did not have a tow dolly available, and the truck didn’t have a ball hitch anyway. So my little car, with 179,000 miles on it and leaking like a sieve got its first pep talk and then an oil change.

That night, after enjoying a minor league hockey game at Key Arena and a final post-game snack at Dick’s, I locked up my condo for the last time and cried as I drove out of the neighborhood. The next morning, we piled into our vehicles and headed east on I-90 (I wanted to go the somewhat shorter route through Idaho and Utah, but my dad, having never been to Montana, insisted that we do the I-90 to I-25 route, which was fine by me, since the directions were pretty easy). The highlights of our trip:

Losing my dad when stopping for lunch in Spokane. Take note: Just because you can see the sign from the freeway does not necessarily mean that it’s right off the freeway. We saw a Carl’s Jr. sign and decided to stop there. With all the funky one-way streets and all, we had to take the round-about way of getting there, losing my dad in the process. Also note: those stupid little walkie-talkies that you buy at the store don’t have a four-block radius like they say they do.

Julia discovering, after having known me for 5 years, that my car did not have 5 speeds. Julia, while accelerating onto I-90 and jamming gearshift, “why. won’t. it. go. into. 5th!” “There is no 5th.” “No 5th? how can there be no 5th?!” “I don’t know, but after driving this car for seven years, I still tend to forget that I don’t have a 5th gear.”

Elmer’s Fountain. It’s in Montana somewhere. I’ve seen it, have you?

Hitting on the beer delivery guys in Billings, getting invited to *the* party of the year and scoring a free 6 pack of beer in the process. The down side to that was, it was Miller Lite.

85.5 Octane. Apparently in Wyoming, that 1/2 of an octane makes all the difference.

“Hey did you see those antelope?” “What antelope, dad?” “How can you miss them? There are more antelope than people out here!” “Yeah, yeah, we’re talking up here, do you mind?”

Julia starving to death and me failing to offer some of my Twizzlers. As we drove into Denver, my eagerness to get here turned me into Mario Andretti on the I-25 corridor — through the T-Rex construction, narrow lanes, and Denver’s notoriously heavy traffic. Not a good idea for someone who had spent the past two days driving for 14 hours straight and could barely keep her eyes open. I think she was sure her life would end that night.

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