Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The sweetness of being in the middle of two beings I love beyond measure is what awakens me… in the old bed, in the old decrepit cabin, surrounded by mice… and the sun comes in the window and I wake. Breakfast is hippie oatmeal, served by the patchouli-wearing Jon, who, with lethargic, sloth-like resistance to the hippie label and unintentional dreds spilling down his back, hands me a bowl replete with thimble berries he gathered himself. Honey from my bees and lots of cinnamon complete the perfection. Spoon scrapes metal bowl soon, and Moona’s on round two before I’m even fully engaged with my first. Later, coffee is obtained at the wifi hot spot here in Arco, which doubles as a cafĂ© doubling as a RV park. And technology surrounds us as we take up three outlets and burn the hell out of their bandwidth. And my frustration at slow internet connection belies my new-found status as a Californian,

Nap time equals meltdown for Moona. Who then removes herself to sit in the hot car for an hour, giving us both a chance to come home to center. I get to hang with my friend, she gets to hang with Polly Pockets. And open the rest of the surprise car presents. So much for the surprise factor. She claims she only looked at the backs of the items, but I fear that’s not quite the truth.

Driving back through Craters of the Moon, and the visual of the eroding volcano that spewed all that lava reminds me that all returns to the Mother, eventually. And conversation revolves around faith in the Mother Earth, versus dismay and mistrust for humanity. If you know me well, you’ll know which point I was arguing. Favorite quote of the day is from Spider: “It’s all light, it’s all dark, all the time.” This drive leads us all to Karey Hot Springs, next to Highway 20, but very secluded and easeful on the eyes. Moona struggles with meeting her own needs like water and peeing, and the volcanic rock on flip flops is tough to take. Jon does it barefoot, of course. She does manage to return triumphant with her water bottle, after drinking all of mine and me refusing to wait on her further.

She’s not saying that she wants to go home anymore, and seems quite content with her new friends, especially the horse across from the cabin. Me too: it’s good to be with loved ones, in this breathsucking heartbreaking beauty. Dinner is falafel salad, cooked over the stove in the cabin with no electricity nor water. Clean up, what’s that? I find my standards of hygiene lower noticeable, when I’m wiping off things on my pants and thinking they’re clean. But I love this. It’s Roots.

As I write I’m sitting on a table outside, watching the sun slide down behind the mountains. So tired, after many nights of not sleeping too much, and yet enjoying the clarity from clear air and horizons, a diminished sense of ego, and kinship. And now the sun is gone, and the mosquitos not. Until tomorrow.

Monday, June 29, 2009


“You’ll be safer in a campground, especially with Moona,” says my mom before I leave. I promise to travel in the safest manner possible, not my normal style, but maybe things are different when traveling with a small child.

We pull in to the Rye Patch State Recreation Area in Nevada last night, and take the only camp site left. Surrounded by RV’s and those super intense camping operations some people have, I feel slightly rebellious with my nylon tent, and neglect to put on the rain fly. So tired, after yesterday’s emotions, and yet sleep is difficult in coming. And I remember to encircle the tent with protection, then finally drop off. To awaken maybe an hour later, to the swirl of police lights and the shocking screams of sirens. Next to my tent. I think perhaps that since I hadn’t paid my ten dolla camping fee, they are coming for me. Not so, but when six (SIX) squad cars show up, I have to wonder at the safety of the supposedly safer choice of campground. Hard to say what operation was developing in the RV two doors down from us, but suffice to say that the Nevada State Police were not pleased. We pull out as early as possible this morning, and I rethink decisions that are classified as “safer” and decide that my own intuition is probably the wiser guide. And what is this obsession with “safety” anyway? Krishnamurti said that we trade our freedom for security. Pondering if this is really such a good deal after all.

Thirty miles into the outback of the desert, we find Kyle Hot Springs deserted and much too hot for a soak, although pouring the near-boiling water on each other becomes a fun game. Moona is much obsessed with cleaning her flip-flops, which I scorn until getting back into the car, when she leaves no muddy trail, unlike her mamma. Any day that includes driving on a road called "Bloody Cyn" works for me. Quote of the day is “Mom, are we on the other side of the world? And indeed, it looks that way.

Onward, miles and miles. T. Rex and Simon and Garfunkel do right by us today. My p-style does as well… little gadget that lets a person with female parts pee standing up, without undressing. So convenient, and it also confuses gender signifiers. Stopping at Nah Soo Pah Hot Springs pool, and following the screams of kids to find it. Diversity surprises me. As does the “Able Plumbing” tattoo in four-inch block lettering across a burly dad’s back… with the six inch inked toilet below. Jon later tells me that there is a great pride in the blue collar work ethic here in Idaho.

More and more miles. 600 today in total, and most at high speed. Plunging through the Idaho hills and oh lord, so soothing to the eye. Moona sleeps, after our first squabble of the trip over the Polly Pockets doll. I feel a race with the sun, to find Arco and Jon before darkness hits. And just as we do, Moona awakes and is in final-phase meltdown. The itchy mosquito bites, low blood sugar, too much car time… all she wants is home. And I ask if she would prefer to drive another half mile to Jon’s, or nine hundred miles home, and she chooses home. I pushed her too hard today.

And I don’t know if I found God today, but I saw some things that make me think I’m on the right trail. Free hot water, flowing onto the Earth. The plains meeting the mountains. The word “Verdant” coming into my mind as the most apt descriptor. Candles and a sweetly made ancient huge four poster bed in the cabin we’re staying at. A new friend buying milk for my daughter. God in every step and star, the Milky Way.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


One of those epic days, with so many emotions, so many landscapes, so many people, songs, miles…

We finally left the city at around 2:30. Waved goodbye to San Francisco, took a picture of the Bay Bridge as we crossed. Something about the crossing of water marks the true beginning of a journey. Sufjan Stevens’ album “Illinoise” provided the perfect musical backdrop…the first of the new road music. Edgy and tender, which is how I felt. The discussion between Moona and I centered around missing our loved ones… and the conclusion that one of the consequences of loving truly and fully means missing those absent. And also realizing that the feeling of missing someone in and of itself creates connection. So we felt sad. And we felt excited.

Moona said, as we crossed the bridge, “This is going to be a good trip.” And I felt the same. Over the course of the past week I have been given tokens by several dear ones, and these are prominently displayed on the dashboard altar. So it feels like they come too. And so much love surrounds us… and we carry many blessings.

The pain of leaving was soothed by the miles of road. Heading east on I-80, through the Sierras, with a nod to Donner Pass and those travelers whose journey ended there. What is this need to move forward? To seek? Leaving California, with the familial tradition of honking horn at state lines, the Nevada high mountain desert swallowed up sorrow. Favorite quote of the day was from Moona, gazing out at what was once a salty sea, and now is flat desert, with occasional sagebrush: “It’s a big world, mom!”

The new Moby album suited us well on this leg, and after stopping in Reno for supplies and to make a decision on where the road ended for us tonight, I was surprised by looking at the speedometer, which was somehow reading 102 m.p.h. Could that really be so? Flat, straight, sunset… no traffic, full tank… yes, indeedy, it was true. Slowed down, but relished that particular moment. I was almost driving as fast as the high temperature of the day… 109 degrees in Sacramento.

And the day ends with us, sleeping in the tent surrounded by Nevadians, at Rye Patch State Recreation Area. RVs abound, as do mosquitos, much to Moona’s dismay. But she did say from the depths of the bug-free tent while I unpacked “I can see the silvery moon!” and the wonder in her voice in all three of her quotes today resonates somewhere deep within. Let her eyes make mine fresh again.

My practice of today, and perhaps this trip, is to say “yes” more. So, yes. Yes to mosquitos and RVs and too much technology and prisoners in the Nevada desert. Yes to sadness and excitement and hot springs. Tomorrow that is our goal. Wash clean and purify, before going to find God. Yes to God.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tomorrow. Afire.

TCBing all day today. That's "Taking Care of Business." With interludes of in-depth socialization, laughter, grief, clear thoughts, and lots of phone time. Oh yeah, and $700 spent on the credit card to fix the car. And now the window works again! I sat in the parking lot of the glass place for at least five minutes, just opening and closing it, after it's been wasted for years after the Mission Street break-in of 2005.

So the car is almost packed. Such joy to develop a system, to think in this particular way, to be pragmatic and sensible. Gaffers tape seems like it might have been a gaffe. No sticking power, but perhaps I'm spoiled by the x-treme and raw power of duct tape. I think Iggy Pop should sing a song about it. And yes, I know it's cliche. I still love its silvery goodness. I put it under the seat, just in case. What's a "gaffer" anyway, and why do they need tape?

Type A mom that I am (ha), I also visited Long's Drugs to purchase road toys for the girlchild. Lots of journaling materials, one of those tilty spinny metal rack things with the disc that moves up and down when you wave it, and at the advice of my dear friend Rose, a "Polly Pockets" kit. Rose is a preschool teacher and has the inside line on what's hip with the under-six crowd. We'll see if Moona digs it. Rose also advised to "ration" the new toys, and not just hand her the entire bag. I love having friends who are preschool teachers. They just think about things in a completely different way.

One of the afore-mentioned phone conversations was with Jonnie. Who gave me directions. I love directions that end with "and now get out of the car, crawl through the gate, and walk the last half mile." This happens after I cross the Big Lost River. Whose name I love. Really love. Big. Lost. River. Totally makes me wonder how a river gets lost. Or maybe someone loved it, and lost it. Which happened to me last night. Hence the grief. Maybe someone loves it still. Maybe I will love it.

Orione phoned this afternoon, having safely arrived in the land of the Bulgars. Home with his Baba, he told me that "actually, it was a quite long flight." So intense watching baby number one walk away from me and through security at the airport yesterday. Wowzers. And he grew up when? Same kid who took a shower, got dressed, ate icecream, and had to completely redress yesterday? Wow oh Wow oh Wow.

So what remains is to sleep, and pack those remaining few things like toothbrush, technology and refrigerated goodies in the morning. Then go dance. Then get Ms. Moona, and off we go. Next stop, Nevada. I hope Joro will pour water for us, washing the road clear. Jai Ganesha, the road-opener. I know this is a big deal. I sense that it will alter the course of all that follows. I'm about to engage with my country, in a way that I haven't for many years. This open heart is what and where I must be.

2 days only...

Two people I love very much are gone. Too sad to write.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Three days left, oh.

I don't know anyone who can be really efficient with kids running around. I like to be efficient. I like to be able to think about what comes next. I'm trying to be very thoughtful about the packing, space considerations and everything.

Today I cleaned out the car, which is the first step of any of my road trips. It is also a very time-consuming step, since typically my car is absolutely disgusting. Often that gets blamed on the children, but the truth is my car has always been pretty gross.

Also, the things that need to get fixed (window, brakes, transmission fluid, windshield wipers, etc.) are getting fixed in the next two days. It feels adult and responsible to be proactive here, and I'm wondering where this adult-like person came from.

We also paid a visit to Walmart, and bought a foam mattress for the trip. Now we can sleep in the car comfortably, without the bulk of the futon. While at Walmart, the customer in front of us had forgotten her wallet, and needed to return to the car. We stood waiting, and she returned and stood there beaming. Here's the conversation that ensued:

Walmart Male Clerk: "Don't you have the money?"
Customer: "I have plenty of money."
Walmart guy: "Are you gonna pay or what, then?"
Custy: "Oh, of course."
Walmart guy: "If you have so much money, why you shopping here?"
Customer: "Uhhh... I have enough money."

I love the conversations that happen around Walmart... I've collected several really strange ones over the years... maybe this is a good omen.

So, back to the deliberations.... Still deciding about taking the tent... Friday I'll make curtains from burlap (air permeable, privacy, bug-keepy-outty qualities) and we'll be set there. The roll of gaffer's tape I bought yesterday ($27 for a roll of effin tape!) should provide both the strength and the removable qualities needed, without the goo factor of duct tape.

Tomorrow I'll take some pictures of the process. Orione is leaving for Bulgaria tomorrow, and we both feel pretty sad about that. Kinda.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Only Four Days...

Four day count-down until Moona and I leave on our great adventure to find America. To find her girl-hood. To find our loved ones. To find what is real about this country we live in. To find how we are together, without Orione around. To define, to search, to wander.

So this trip, although it has a basic roadmap, has no itinerary. We are completely free to travel at our leisure, according to our whims, to spend as much or as little time as we like doing whatever we feel like doing. Maybe we’ll make it all the way to Ohio, and see Mom-lady. Or maybe not.

Right now, it’s a flurry of details. Is it the futon or the air mattress or the pad or the….? Do we sleep in the car, make screens for the windows, and what about security? Should we bring the tent, a cookstove, oh shit, I have to get one… and should we buy one of those cargo bags that middle-class American families attach to their minivans cuz we travel so heavy? It would make the sleeping in-car arrangements work better, but roll-out time and gas mileage would be impacted.

My clothes are laid out on the bed, and the to-do list isn’t overwhelming. Making the decision to NOT rent out the house has meant an easing of many responsibilities.

Got the technology aspect pretty worked out… downloaded movies onto the portable hard drive Thibaut lent me… that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Cool.