The usual unusual stuff

I can’t believe I’m here again. I’m in Columbus, Ohio, AGAIN, visiting with family, having driven here from coastal North Carolina. We’re headed cross-country, to spend a month in Seattle before our fourth-annual week in the desert at Burning Man.

Our 1990 Ford Club Wagon van, the Squid Wagon, is parked in the driveway. It’s packed with the usual unusual stuff — quinoa and seaweed, glowsticks, LEDs, and calligraphy pens. There’s a whole set of electrical wiring tools and supplies and a large, innocuous-looking beige bin.

When you’re traveling the backroads, you just never know when you’ll need the stuff in the bin. Flashy-blinkie fur-trimmed pink bunny ears with sequins. Death-bunny pajama pants. Belly dance pants. A purple furry hat wired with Christmas lights. My infamous orange evening gown, which should have gotten me a free steak dinner in South Dakota. (There was a man who dared me to wear it into a honky-tonk bar, and I did. I posed for photos on the bar and the pool table, but he reneged on his part of the deal.)

With only nine days, this will be one of the quickest cross-country trips we’ve ever made. Still, I hope to stay off the interstates as much as possible. It’s on the two-lane roads that we find the magic moments. I’m always looking for that smile, conversation, or moment of connection with the people along the way. That’s what the two-lane life is all about.

And if I don’t find the magic moments, I’ll make ’em. That’s what the beige bin is all about.