The Particular Particulars

Soon we will touch Lake Superior. Soon we will see North Dakota and the desert and geysers. Soon we will see people we love dearly who've lived far too far away for far too long.

In the second week of August we will leave our dogs and our home to the loving hands of our friend Flo. In case you don't know Flo, I will describe her to you: Flo is made of blue skies and bing cherries. Flo is sweetness and light. We trust her without reservation. We hope her stay in our home is to her liking. We've never had anyone house-sit in this capacity before and it's tripping me out. Do you know all those little ways in which you live that are completely normal to you but are probably outside of the realm of someone else's experience, simply by virtue of living elsewhere? The way the latch on the storm door works (or doesn't, really). Which toilet runs, which toilet seat breaks too easily. How to stack the food in the refrigerator so that if the dogs do manage to circumvent the childproof latch, they won't get a brick of parmesan, a dozen eggs and four sticks of butter. The constant awareness that any food left unattended will be swallowed whole within seconds. You think I'm exaggerating, I know.

In any case, along with preparing for the trip (Planning! Saving! Researching! Mapping!), I'm investigating my house for these particular persnickety specifics. This is challenging in that these are aspects of our home that I'm totally accustomed to and have been for more than a decade. It's kind of like trying to describe to someone how to drive to my grandmother's farm in central Indiana. I can't tell you the names of county roads, I prolly can't even give you landmarks, I just feel my way through.

The other particulars for the trip are as follows:

  • From Kalamazoo we will drive to Marquette, where Manfriend's band will play a show.

  • From Marquette we head to Grand Forks, ND, with a layover likely in Duluth. Manfriend will play another show in Grand Forks, the homeland of our dear friend and bandmate.

  • From Grand Forks as far as we want to tolerate in one day, either Billings or Bozeman, MT, where we'll camp.

  • Arise early from camping to continue to West Yellowstone, MT, home of dear friends with gorgeous baby. Also home of YELLOWSTONE, perhaps you've heard of it?

  • A mere day in the park and then on to (if all goes well) Unionville, NV, and a 150-year-old inn near Mark Twain's home and Thunder Mountain Monument. It should be noted here that upon seeing pictures of said inn, Manfriend declared that we would all be murdered.

  • After a morning at local nerdy desert sites, we head to Grass Valley, CA, to deposit our friend Lila, who's hitching a ride both ways in order to visit her dad. We will pass her off, hug her, take a pee and get ourselves right quick to San Francisco where we will spend a week with beautiful friends and beautiful San Francisco.

That's the trip out. The return is less set in stone, but will hopefully take us through Salt Lake City, as I just bought Under the Banner of Heaven. Another probable leg of the return is the Nebraska Sandhills. Do you know about this? 20,000 square miles of grasslands, dunes, meadows, lakes and wetlands. Apparently it's quite lovely, green, the anti-interstate, and everybody who passes you on the road waves to you. Which is cool, I guess, if you're, like, into that sort of thing.

Anyway, there's a rough outline, still in development. We'll wind our way home somehow. Do you know what we won't be seeing? Our house, our jobs, our regular grocery store and farmers' market, the same things we drive past every day.