posted March 29, 2004 05:13 PM
The fine folks at the public library have informed me that the PCs will no longer be available after today.
As a result, I will be trying to cram as much as I can into one day's worth of PC usage WITHOUT being a complete PC hawg.
I promised to relate the stories of our trek across the country, and so let's dispense with that here:
We left with approximately $2000 in our pockets...a $1000 van and a few boxes of our belongings. (Left the PC and most of the other "non-essentials" back in Tijuana, Mexico.
We had no house waiting for us, no jobs waiting for us, no relatives out here, no friends, just a point on the map where my finger had landed some two weeks prior.
The only deciding factor...as strange and irresponsible as it may sound, were the words of an old woman that I had met at the San Ysidro international border some 3 years ago.
She was a Pisces person, I remember that, and had been studying astrology for some 45 years. She overheard me mentioning to a certain gentleman about the effect that the Moon's cycles can have on human beings, when she couldn't resist any longer and asked what I knew about the Moon's cycles.
(see also: Moon sign with a calculator)
In the course of our long and interesting conversation, one of the things she mentioned which stuck out was this: Whenever one lives at the same latitude as or north of one's place of birth, one seems to encounter much more opportunities and, in general, better luck. (So far, she couldn't have been more right.)
As ridiculous as it may sound, THAT is why we're where we are now.
So we headed out on the 9th, a Monday (according to Professor Seward, the perfect day for starting a trip across water. see also: The Awakener.)
Our trip seemed fairly uneventful, except for the amazing phenomenon of lower gas prices and the incredible custom some folks have of paying for their gas AFTER they've pumped it..then the missus got the hankering for some coffee. (An ICE coffee to be specific.)
Well we were headed through Nevada at the time and I saw the sign too, so we got off at the next exit and pulled into the casino-resort's huge parking lot, preparing ourselves for a brief rest in the van and ice cream and coffees for the kids and adults respectively.
After bringing the treats back to the van, the missus told me that she'd never gambled before. I let her know that I had, in the Phillipines, but never in Nevada, whereupon she suggested that we each take $5 and hit the slot machines. After securing a mutual promise that we'd leave after the $10 was gone, we told the kids to wait in the van, locked up, and off we went.
We bought one roll of quarters and she walked right up to the slot machine that she said would be her "lucky machine." (I, on the other hand, walked up to the machine that I was sure would "eat my money.")
After my $5 had been sucked down and burped up by Hoover, the amazing one-armed bandit, I turned to watch the missus. She had about $2.50 left and had been winning 3 coins here, and 9 coinds there. That's when it happened. She hit the triple 7's...500 quarters. Most of the seasoned gamblers around us, hearing that it was her first time gambling, nodded their heads knowingly...beginner's luck.
The cash out was around $130. (By the way, the name of the town in Nevada was Mesquite. Look it up and you'll see why it was so very fortunate that we stopped there. For the atlas challeneged...it's the last town in Nevada when you're heading east on that particular highway. If we hadn't stopped there, there would have been no gambling. Since we didn't have a map at the time, I didn't realize that fact and stopped simply to get the coffee. Needless to say, there is no gambling in Mormon-run Utah.)
That fortunate stop paid our hotel stay and food expenditures during the NEXT incident during our otherwise "uneventful" trip, the dropping off of our right rear axle 70 miles from the nearest town.
It happened 70 miles west of a little town called Green River, in Utah. The van had been having trouble the entire time making it up the hills. She was a big van with a small engine (302 c.i.d.) and the altitude was depleting her of oxygen. Little wonder and thank goodness that we were only doing 30 mph when it happened. There was a screeching, grinding sound as the right rear brake drum hit the pavement. The family and I watched in horror as our tire bounced approximately 2 and a half stories into the air and landed on the other side of the van, bouncing three more times before hitting the ditch in the median between the west and eastbound lanes.
I barely had enough momentum to pull her off the road, and in fact, we ended up right on the white line at the side of the highway.
Now, being stranded 70 miles from nowhere (or from everywhere as it were) with less than $2000 to your name, 3 kids and no family to call is not an enviable situation for anyone. Lord knows I wasn't expecting anything like that Still, the months of learning to leave the past behind, of not anticipating the future had prepared me for this. Besides, adventure seems to be my middle name, as much as I may insist that it's Mud.
I flagged down the next big rig that came by, and as luck would have it, we met Bill. (Thank you Bill, wherever you are. You've got a whole family of friends that you can count on with us.)
Bill helped mark off the van (I had no reflective triangles), then drove us to the next town...Green River.
It was in Green River that we ended up spending our casino winnings on a hotel stay. Thanks also to the Bookcliff Lodge in Green River. I HIGHLY recommend this little town for anyone passing through. There is a lot more to do than one might think at first glance, the people are friendly and the prices are MORE than reasonable. They put us up for $20 dollars a day and the rooms were ENORMOUS. The bedlinens were clean and the service was prompt and courteous and there was TONS of hot water.
Granted, there was no continental breakfast, but the Red Roof Inn down the street was charging an extra $29.95 for that amentity (a danish, a mini-box of kellog's cereal, some juice and a cup of coffee. Talk about getting your $29.95's worth.)
The guys at the garage had me scared, of course. We were out in the middle of everywhere, and were at their mercy. They were having trouble locating the parts, and our funds were dwindling. They could EASILY have jacked up the charges and taken our van from us, but they didn't. In fact, they replaced our entire rear end with a lower-geared one that was much more suited for mountain driving. It took them 3 days to locate one, but once they did, it was on in a matter of hours. Total bill: $978.31
We left Green River with about $800 left to our names and arrived here with about $700.
When we hit Denver, it was obvious that this was not for us...(plus it was NOT north of my place of birth)it was too crowded and we were done with big city living. It's a nice place to visit...but I really didn't want to...well you know.
So we headed north..
When we arrived in town, I explained the only stipulations I had for getting a place:
It could be any place she liked, but the address needed to add up to 7,9 or 11 and we couldn't move in until Sunday. (Oh.. I know, it prolly sounds like ol' Daf has flipped his lid...and he probably has)
She agreed, and the first place we saw that she liked added up to a 9. We signed the lease on Saturday and spent the night at a truck stop...with the keys in our pocket.
The next morning at sunrise, we moved into our new home. Things have been going great ever since. I'll tell the story of the Rock when I get back online.
Love from the outer limits of sanity,