Or does it?
If you read between the lines. If you’ve read all of the comments and our replies. If you’ve glanced at a map or noticed a change in our pace. If we bothered to tell you anything at all. Put these pieces together and take note. A circle is completed as we write from our Towson home. Travel decisions each day were affected by so many things. We left in hopes of “6 months to a year on the road”. A chance to bike, hike, ski and live wherever the day took us. One hundred and ninety days later we felt the calls homeward. Each day on the road we asked, “where should we go tomorrow?”
As we drove down from the Rockies toward Denver, my answer was “maybe we should head home?” This thought was cemented as we spoke of finances. A warm day of mountain biking was enough to detain us in Kansas, but not to change our direction. A few grey days on the road, and storms that kept threatening from the North nudged us Eastward. A final clear day, snow on the Ohio and Pennsylvania grass led us to see I-70 as a good way home, despite previous months of avoiding Interstates.
With a quick picture over my shoulder we knew this Baltimore sign depicted the long road we drove from Denver, and Utah near Zion and Moab
Locals had led us to unexpected jewels! Serendipity showed us safety and regular smiles! I got to ski a whole lot! We hiked peaks, canyons and caverns! Jane saw warmth and wildflowers! In fact, today we see the old tricks of March; wet snow, heavy branches and refrigerated blossoms. No worry, it melts fast this time of year.
The pressures that led us home were many. We ran out of paper towels. The Tramper account has seen only withdrawals for months now. Both of us need to find jobs and pay some bills. Marfa kept raising concerns about that big Continental Divide. If needed, I’d imagined a plan to rent a truck in Utah, towing the heavy Tramper over the mountain passes to Denver if necessary. With Jane driving the 4Runner sans trailer, it would do fine. The concerns continued, passes provided 25 mph crawls, but the transmission temperature never went out of control again.
Ahh, but the concern for this and other bits went on. The 5 Day weather reports gave us windows to travel in. (I won’t tow in snow and have even avoided rain as much as practical) Safety is always a lens of concern for me. My focus on joy and adventure is tempered by wanting to get home safe. My responsibility to “keep Jane safe” is not just a funny topic. Many nights were lightly slept in anticipation of noises or vehicles arriving nearby.
Yes, we crested one of the highest points in our journey, skied a few more times, and headed East. I poked fun at our nation; “they’ll be nothing to do between here (Summit County, CO) and the Appalachian Mountains.” “My cousin used to drive from Colorado to Baltimore in 36 hours. We’ll be home in 3 or 4 days”. Fortunately Kansas threw a surprise at me. The world is full of surprises. You’d think I would have remembered that lesson from earlier in the “Voyage”.
We have many thoughts to share. We have over 11,000 pictures to peruse and condense to a more sharable 100 or so. We have memories of our longest “vacation” ever. We have lists of new friends. We have blog and Facebook followers. And we have lots more to say. We will be looking back at the trip and looking at its impact on us. One visitor we met in Colorado asked, “How has your perspective changed”. I shied from an answer, telling him I will know more a few months after our return. If I don’t change actions or lifestyle, how can I say my perspective has changed?
We wonder if there are other questions out there. We are likely to post retrospective thoughts. Maybe a bit of logistics, maybe we’ll post what we’d do differently, perhaps a few suggestions for future travelers. I want to post a piece with all of the barns we saw. I see a whole post of cool things seen on trucks. Trains became our favorite night time neighbors. Wind energy prompted inquiry all across the country. We hope to add more thoughts and questions. Our life now has the vision of the Tramper.
Over all it was such a treat! Jane and I lived in a 70 square foot space, awoke and stayed together 24/7 and not once broke into fisticuffs as Jimmy Cotton, our new friend in North Carolina had feared. We truly hope that as we traveled, you enjoyed. As we posted pictures, you felt a fraction of the awe we shared. Surely if we can do The Voyage of the Tramper, whatever you are dreaming of is possible too!