As I alluded to in my last picture post, my adventure is over. Much sooner than I hoped for actually. It ended last Saturday at approximately two o’clock in the afternoon. I’m getting around to writing my final thoughts now – five days later – because I’ve been decompressing. By that I mean I’ve been cooking my own meals and sleeping past five am central time. That also includes sleeping in a bed without worrying about falling off. It was never a very large concern while traveling, but its still nice to have a body between myself and the floor – even if the floor is a mere foot away, not five.
Originally I had hoped to be on the road for two weeks or so. But these things rarely work out. The rest of my life did not want to coordinate itself with my wishes. After our trip to Long Island we waited around in Ohio for something coming home. The trip back out would be wrought with difficulties though. Possible loads bounced around in the ether between phone calls as dispatchers and Dad tried to coordinate everything and in the end he went straight back to Hicksville. From there everything got fuzzy but none of it would be back by Sunday – the day I had to resume life and go to work. So instead of denying my real job their other Sunday employee dad left on a solo mission.
From Hicksville it was unknown where he’d be off to next. It could have been straight back to Iowa, but considering the pathetic stream of freight coming out of New England that was unlikely. Without me along Dad can move up and down the coast with whatever it takes to get to the big money haul to bring him home. It was too much for me to ask him to give up part of his paycheck in order to get me home.
I love traveling and seeing new places but its still nice to be home. Warm blood flushed my face and heart when I saw that first sign for Des Moines, regardless if it was still in Illinois. Similarly the welcome sign into the Hawkeye state doesn’t seem so tacky when you haven’t been near the border in a while.
The home stretch from Iowa City to Des Moines is especially nostalgic for me. I used to live in Iowa City. For five months. The five most depressed months of my life. So that stretch from exit 244 Dubuque Street to exit 135 2nd Avenue was me running home. It was ticking off miles to crawl into my bed, envelope myself in my mom’s hugs, lay in the lawn with my pirate dog and a book. Its mostly the same now, but I’m not running away from anything. Simply towards something better.
Driving that stretch with my dad beside reminded me of what it must be like for him. Those signs from a state away. The mile markers falling away and towns becoming familiar. Its hard to hold the speed limit when you’re that close. Honestly thats why cruise control exists. There were far too many nights that he should have stopped in that stretch, having run out of hours and alertness. But its so close. There’s an edge of impatience to everything in that stretch. Once we parked the truck we still had to drive the pickup home – there is no where in Polk City to park a truck so it stays in Ankeny with a group of other trucks left by their owners as they go home to familiar faces.
When we got home I dropped my bags, cuddled by scraggly little mutt, and laid on the floor. for some reason this always seems to be how I relish a return. Dad has his ritual which includes dropping bags, getting on the floor to pet the dog, but then going one step further than me and sitting at the counter to check over the bills and mail that is always waiting.
Everything is settling down again. I haven’t gritted my teeth or bit my tongue in days. Nor have I been forced to listen to red radio. Funny how those two go hand in hand. I have started receiving my daily calls from my dad instead of chatting over the hum reverberating from below us. I make dinner, read books, ride my bike, do everything normal. My father is cruising along, swearing at drivers, cursing the poor parking choices of drop site employees, and I’m sure he is grumbling at healthcare reform and our president’s current actions. Everything is back to the way it was but with a sense of appreciation that had become a bit weak in the months since our last trip.