Road Warrior Women

There’s nothing quite like taking a road trip with a friend. I love to hit the road and explore. I guess all those trips that we made with three little boys between Ohio and Manitoba didn’t quite get me my fill of the open road. Those trips are entirely another story.

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Over the past few years, I have had a consistent road trip partner. Rhonda (pictured with the “What a Jackass” scarf in Silky Sass) and I have shared a number of wonderful road trips.

Our first real trip was not meant for sight-seeing or vacationing. My son, Eric, was coming back to the Fort Drum, New York after a year-long US Army deployment to Bagram AiB, Afghanistan. Rod and Eric had worked the phones and internet during his last few weeks of deployment, and the result was an Ford F250 diesel pick-up truck that he purchased and would be driving while at Fort Drum. That truck had to make it from Buford, Georgia to upstate New York. I had to be at Fort Drum when he arrived back on American soil. It made sense to me that if the truck and I both had to get to Watertown, NY, we might as well go together.

Ready to hit the road in the F-250

I needed someone to share the drive with me and Rhonda was willing for the adventure. An adventure it was. You can read all about it on the final few pages of The Charm.

There could be no other trip that would match the drama and excitement that we had on our way to Fort Drum, but we keep on trying! Our junkets have taken us to Savannah, Southern Pines, Blowing Rock and DC. Somehow, we are always able to find a little adventure each time.

Rhonda makes the perfect travel buddy. Last fall, we experimented and invited Cece and Karla to join us for an overnight trip to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. We needed to test them out to see if they could hang with us. So – a one night drive into the mountains, with a stay at a slightly creepy but wonderfully nostalgic motel, followed by a drive down a southern portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway was a perfect audition. They passed. Barely.

I’m in the process of planning a few more road trips – possibly one to Manitoba this summer and a return visit to Washington, DC. There’s just something wonderful about the open road and a friend or two that make for finding some adventure.

Four Road Warriors



Finishing Touches for The Charm

Another excerpt from the journal. This entry was two days before Eric’s deployment.

CamelbackSunday, October 2, 2011

I decided that The Charm needed a coat of clear sealant to protect the beautiful paint job that Jordyn had done. I’m quite sure that Eric would have been very, very late getting home from the casino, and certainly would sleep late, so I would use my time this morning to find a craft store and put a seal on The Charm. The craft store idea didn’t work out, but I did find a WalMart. I stocked up on bottled water and a few snacks, and I got a can of Krylon clear coat to spray on The Charm.

Andrew had delivered the three Charms to me that Jordyn had painted. He thought the reason for three was so that I could chose the one that was most like the original. He didn’t know that I had Jordyn paint three of them so that each of the boys could have one once again, and so while I had a can of the clear coat (that I wouldn’t be able to take back on the plane), I would spray them all.

I came back to my room, made it “well ventilated” by cracking open the window, flattened out an empty WalMart bag, and sprayed the bottom side of the three Charms. After a few minutes of drying, I flipped them over and put a quick spray on the tops. There were some black lines from the paint left on the bag, and I was afraid that I might have smudged the lines on the design, but a quick inspection left me pleased that all was well with The Charms. I left them to dry well, as per the instructions on the can. I will need one of them tomorrow.

Eric called me at about 10:00. Yes, they had been out late, and he was just getting up. He was going to be helping a couple of his friends who needed to pack up the small apartment that they had been sharing. Blevins is a friend that I met at the casino, and of whom I had heard often. He is a medic and is assigned to the Personnel Security Detachment (PSD), like Eric. Ryan, Blevins’ roommate is also a friend, and is being deployed in two weeks time.

Eric and Blevins

Eric and Blevins

I got directions, and went over to the apartment with the container of chocolate chip cookies that everyone fully enjoyed. Now, I’ve been in a few boys’ dorm rooms before, but this place was a wreck! I understand that they were in the midst of clearing out, but I don’t think I have seen such disorder since Eric left for basic training without having fully moved out of his shared dorm room at Kennesaw State University. I had the distinct disgust of going to Kennesaw and cleaning out that dorm room. Surely, the community trash bin was filled after I tossed out the well used and equally well ignored dollar dishes that I had bought for Eric when he moved in the previous August, several small kitchen appliances that were beyond the point of ever becoming clean again, and plenty of plain old general garbage.

Eric’s friends are lively, boisterous, bright and fun-loving folks. No wonder they all get along so well. I spent a couple of hours with them, then came back to the hotel to take a bit of a nap.

We all met at the Olive Garden for dinner at seven o’clock. Everyone was in good spirits. We shared pictures of our dogs. Dawson won the prize for both cutest and most destructive of the dogs compared, at least as far as I was concerned. We talked about plans for tomorrow, and I found out that on Tuesday morning, we are allowed onto the base from 5:30 – 7:30 to spend time with our soldiers before they board their busses at 8:00 and are then considered officially deployed.

Toward the end of the evening, I noticed Eric’s mood change. Once dinner had been eaten, he became more quiet than usual, answering questions with a few short words. I had seen this happen before. Each time that I had taken Eric to the airport at the end of a leave, he would sit quietly in the car, speaking little, and looking as though he was intently focused on something that he would not share. He has attempted to explain those moods to me by telling me that the getting there was always worse than the being there.

After a while, he said that he was thinking of the couple of hours of work left to do in the barracks that night. Such typical young adult behavior! He had, of course, left all kinds of tasks and other things to do for the last minute. Well, he was getting close to those last minutes, and he needed to get to work!

Eric’s group headed back to the base, and I to my hotel for a sound night’s sleep.