Joy in the Journey

Sometimes, it is good to take the long way. In a rental car. After a blizzard.

This is a joy for the journey type of story. The flight situation is not worth going into here, but I think our 2011 travel plans will not include any Delta operated flights. Good thing I'm not platinum skymiles - because that would be a lot to give up on principle.

At 12.00 yesterday, in a fairly empty terminal at Reagan, watching "CANCELLED" flash up on the board next to our previously on-time flight, we had to make a "let's do it" decision. Our Monday flight had already been cancelled and flights were few and far between. It would be a few days until we could get another one - and our reservations weren't linked together. No train tickets to be had and rail was looking like a shaky option given stories out of NYC. So at 1pm, thanks to some lovely people at National Car Rental, we had this hot ride and were ready to roll up the coast:

Want to see her from the back?

P.S. I'm not sure what type of vehicle this actually is, but it's a great ride (and I'm really partial to my own car). Big blue here is some sort of Chevy: part PT Cruiser, Part Limo, and wouldn't look out of place leading a funeral procession - BUT - fun to drive (and apparently, able to use ethanol fuel).

Not being prepared for this long drive, I figured we should set an intention for the trip (yes, an intention). I am the only one able to drive, and I can get a little testy when tired and hungry. The odds were a little against us at 1pm with no lunch and some potentially interesting driving conditions up North. Tim rolled his eyes, but played along.

Okay - I said aloud. Let's be grateful for what we have - money for this car and gas and food - we didn't have to think twice about it. We had tons of other options at home for staying with folks. We weren't going to be sitting in an airport sleeping on each other. Next year - driving home would be 3,000 miles! We will treat this like a great adventure. Let's be nice to each other. Let's be happy. And for heaven's sake, let's eat fast food. And we were. And we did.

Aside from some unbelievable traffic in Delaware that ended up being related to toll construction, it was one of the best drives we have ever made up the coast.

As we journeyed past the Delaware mess, it suddenly felt right. One last trip back "home" when home is Massachusetts. One last "I can't believe my parents live in Northern Virginia and deal with the beltway every day" utterance as we traveled up to Baltimore.

One last reminder of that first trip up to Massachusetts that literally changed the trajectory of our lives forever when we moved to Boston. The trip where we embarked on the first great Dutterer adventure and learned that change can bring the greatest opportunities in life.

Sometimes, the long way is the best way. Sometimes, controlling your destiny is a powerful, amazing thing. I couldn't fly us up (that would be something), but I could drive us there.

It was a beautiful, clear day. We saw seven states in 11 hours. We breezed up the NJ Turnpike. We took the Tappen Zee and went up the less crowded 684 to I-84 route where there were less trucks. It might have been scenic if it wasn't dark. We could tell that the storm was an Eastern one - just by how much snow was packed into the guardrails as we moved further East. We were impressed with the public works.

Tim DJ'd a combination of radio and ipad. We listened to 1010 WINS and the crazy talk radio hosts railing against the plows. We saluted those plow drivers. We crossed our fingers as we hit NY and then as we entered MA - areas that had been hit the hardest.

We briefly discussed a trip to Mohegan Sun, but that seemed excessive. No need to push our luck.

And there were other little joys, er, snacks: Combos, Mentos, Skittles, Veggie Flat Bread and Dunkin Donuts.

And finally - home - riding the rental van back to get my car at the airport. It doesn't normally happen like this, but life is surprising.

We were blessed with safe travels and a sure road. And as I've said here many times - you don't get hours back. So we enjoyed them.

I'm so thankful to be home  - and for the best co-pilot I could ever ask for. When we're together, it certainly feels like home. Even if home is temporarily a pretty rockin' Chevy.

Here is to hoping that you are home - wherever that is for you, and whatever that means to you.

-Grateful Yogi