Today marks the last day of our trip. We have been on the road for almost four weeks – today is the 27th post in this chapter. We will spend the morning with my dad. We take Caroline to work, drive to U.S. Egg, and then decide to eat at Wildflower Bread Co. instead (my choice). Once there, Caleb and I will split a sweet potato sandwich (with leftovers) and a short stack of lemon ricotta pancakes.
Back at the house, the guys get into discussion for an hour or two and then it’s my turn on the Oculus in videos of my dad’s choosing. I get to watch a song on stage, Beers, Steers, and Queers, by Revolting Cocks in a movie theater. It’s neat to be able to see the light projected on the screen, and to have to navigate around the chairs and down the stairs. It feels like being in two worlds at once; I can feel Sparky’s paws on my leg and my dad’s hand moving in front of my face, but I’m also in a dark theater with a show on stage.
Then it’s time for my dad’s lunch date with Grandma at Szechwan Palace. Of course we’re invited. We skip the Americanized lunch specials menu to eat something more authentic. Grandma ordered some dumplings and water-boiled meat for the three of them to enjoy. Then we got sautéed green beans, ‘lettuce-asparagus’ (resembling yu choy sin), and tea tree mushroom with bean sprouts, celery, and jalapeño in a hot pot for all of us. These foods were spicy and we sounded like a classroom of 3rd graders with runny noses.
There was plenty of food to go around, and just as much conversation and spills in this family, that we had leftovers. Back at the house my dad gives us an ultimatum: stay with them for another week or go home now so that Caleb has a day off before going back to work. I’d love to wait for Caroline to get off work, but then we wouldn’t be home until midnight. We pack up and are out the door at 2:30 pm.
We are able to bypass a haboob as we ride home with mixed feelings. We are leaving 116 degree weather for what should be 70 degrees in San Diego. The sky is beautiful and there is the call of the road, but also the need to go home so Caleb can earn more travel money. I like the freedom of the road. Home seems to offer such a set schedule, but that’s probably Caleb’s job, tending to dogs, cleaning house, cooking meals, and entertaining friends – just like being on the road with Caleb navigating, walking the dogs, cleaning the tent, cutting veggies and meeting strangers.
We get to watch the sunset and pull in the driveway at 8:15pm. I grab a few things out of the car and then head to Dan’s for some lemonade to let him know we are home and thank him for keeping an eye on the place. Caleb had made coffee and forgot to wash the filter. We forgot to bring my bottom woolies and marshmallow sticks among other things. Looking at our credit card statement we could’ve saved $40 in foreign transaction fees by using the ATM just one more time.
On this trip we covered 10, 334 miles averaging 383 a day. Parts of it will be forgotten, but others will remain in these posts, photos, and stories we tell over the years. I was able to cross three items off my Before Eternal Planking list. Caleb and I saw 20 national parks and monuments, six of Canada’s provinces and seven of their national parks. We met his Aunt Jamie for two minutes, saw four of the Great Lakes, and got attacked by a hundred mosquitoes.
We discovered new plant life, ran and lingered on trails, and got stuck in traffic while it rained. We shopped, we saw, we skipped, we swam, we smiled. Sometimes we were too early or too late and we tried to stick to activities that were free. We learned about the past and thought about the future. We got to watch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain and sit in the U.S. Center Chapel. We got to enjoy another meal at Swingin Steak and ride home into the sunset. A fairy tale ending to a real story.