I find myself giggling at what happened Thursday night because of a complete communication failure (FUBA) on my part with my friend Linda T. You can make up your own words for FUBA, because I guarantee that I have my own personal definition and it is not G rated. My friend Linda taught physical education in the Albuquerque, NM school district until her retirement two years ago. A few months ago when I began planning for this trip across the country, I started to think of all the amazing people that I have met and wanted to visit while traveling. Linda and I met in 2007 in Baltimore, MD, as we were both part of the NASPE Teacher of the Year program. We were instant friends and kept in touch for years however, as life usually goes we drifted apart and only kept up with each other via Facebook. I am laughing about this now, but at 8:30pm Thursday night while sitting on the curb at an Arby’s restaurant in Amarillo, TX I was not sharing the same humor or chuckle factor. As I was finishing up my high protein cheap travel dinner of 3 boiled eggs and a savory lemon dill tuna packet, I decided it was finally time to call Tipp. After evaluating how I was feeling I decided to drive a couple more hours and call it a night. A few weeks ago, I had asked Linda for her address and cell phone number and saved it in my phone log. I was planning to put it in Google map when needed, as I got a little closer to Albuquerque, NM. Earlier in the day I had sent Linda this IM on Facebook, ”Just want to give you an update. I am leaving OKC as I felt like writing this afternoon and took an easy morning with some yoga. I might drive a while and let you know how I feel. Might come all the way, but will call you in about 4 hours and check in. Deb.” Tipp’s reply “sounds good!” I finished my dinner and decided how far I wanted to drive Thursday night, punched in Linda’s address into the all so helpful Google map app and obtained an estimated drive time to Linda’s. I typed in the address 0000 NW Huserik Dr Portland 97229 as my destination, and the Arby’s address in Amarillo, TX as my starting point. I hit GO and the silly machine spit out a driving time of 28 hours and 1921 miles. What the hell? This calculation did not make any sense, so I figured Tipp sent me someone else’s address. Truthfully in that moment no red flags or alarms started ringing in my head that anything was abnormal or off course. I picked up my cell phone and dialed Linda’s number. Linda picked up her phone on the first ring and said, “hey girl where are you?” I said, “I am just chilling at an Arby’s in Amarillo, TX. I decided to take it easy and drive a few more hours tonight and I’ll see you around noon tomorrow.” There was a silent and long pause on the phone when Linda finally said, “Deb you do know that I live in Portland, OR right?” I said, “WTF…shit are you serious!” Several non-G rated things flew out of my mouth as I tried to wrap my mind around what had just happened. “OMG, Linda are you serious?” Linda said, “yes Deb I moved to Portland after I retired from teaching two years ago.” I mumbled, “I am so sorry Linda this is an epic FUBA communication failure on my part. I had NO idea you had moved from Albuquerque to Portland.” We both started laughing out loud and in an instant I embraced this unbelievable oversight of our Facebook communication lapse as just another lesson in my day. I can’t believe that I walked myself right into this problem, as it resonates daily in our culture. Linda said to me, “Deb, I was wondering what you were thinking when you said you would see me tomorrow, as OKC to Portland is at least a 3 day drive.” This is a perfect example of another crazy lesson that actually turned out to be a pretty funny story. Linda and I chatted for another 30 minutes and we now definitely have plans to meet in the future, just this time in Portland, OR.
As I drove into the night I watched a magnificent lightning storm brewing over the NM desert skyline. I found the lightning storm to be a perfect metaphor for a summer storm building strength in a hot summer night. Personally, as I reflected upon the events that had just transpired, I related the lightning storm to a number of problems we often face when we lack clear communication between friends, family, and loved ones. For me, this lesson absolutely caused no harm; nevertheless it serves as an important awareness checkpoint that I will keep in mind for the future. Lightning storms can be very dangerous and have the potential to harm or kill, as can miscommunication FUBA’s, electronic IM, Facebook, or other social media misunderstandings. I am confident that if I would have just picked up the phone 2 months ago and actually talked to Linda, I would have instantly known she lived in Portland, OR and no longer in Albuquerque, NM. I pulled off Interstate 40 in Tucumcari, NM Thursday night around 11pm and parked next to a cluster of RV travelers at a Loves Truck Stop. I arranged my little sleeping quarters in the back of the Subaru complete with all the comforts of home. I snagged my sweet little daypack that my friends at Lewis and Clark Outfitters generously donated to me for this trip and trekked myself into the Loves station bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I in no way felt uneasy or concerned about sleeping in the car Thursday night, as there were tons of other travelers also taking advantage of safe well illuminated parking and super clean facilities. I enjoyed several hours of the NM summer thunderstorm and was very glad not to be in a tent. I encountered a super cool guy parked next to me last night living an old Winnebago from South Carolina. He was pulling an older Honda Gold Wing motorcycle on a trailer and you could tell he had put many great miles on the old girl. I estimate he was in his early 70’s and seemed to be joyful in his little rig and travel experience out on the road. He greeted me in the morning with, “cool looking boat, where are you going today?” I told him about my general route and said how it might change by the end of the night, but I was heading to Lake Powell in Utah by Sunday. The gentleman smiled and said, “that sounds fun, be safe on the road, and nice meeting you,” as he tipped his hat to me and continued working on his motorcycle. Thus far I find that sleeping in the back of my Outback is actually pretty comfortable and easy on the pocketbook. I slept fairly well Thursday night and was grateful for the friendly folks who I encountered at the truck stop who were all doing the exact same thing as me.
I decided Friday morning that since I had the major FUBA with Linda that I would change plans and head north to spend a day or two in Santa Fe, NM. I have always wanted to visit this area, as it is only 60 miles off Interstate 40. Another fun observation for me is how many fascinating people I have met that hangout at a Starbucks during the day. I had a fabulous conversation with a man named Phil in the parking lot yesterday. Phil, a man in his mid 70’s had just purchased a 2017 Outback. I immediately struck up a conversation with Phil about the amazing shade tent he had in the front seat of his Outback for his beloved sweet poodle, Regions who was almost 15 years old. Phil and I spend 30 minutes in the parking lot having the most charming conversation about life, our country, pets, people, and some very light politics. I sensed right away that he probably hung out at this particular Starbucks during the day for conversation with people, as he was a recent widow. I also met a nice couple that sat across from me on the leather couches that come to Starbucks in the afternoon to read their books and drink coffee. I surmised this assumption based on the fact that the barista has come out twice to fill up their coffee cups and knew both of them by name. Around the corner I observed people on their laptops, studying, watching videos, and other folks having vibrant conversations with friends. A fond memory from my airline years flashed back to me about working at O’Hare airport when my mechanic buddies and I would go for what we called, terminal walks. After all our planes departed the gate we would have an hour or so to kill before the next round of planes came in. Some of the guys would play cards, dominos, read, watch TV, or nap. I preferred to cruise the terminals and people watch. I found this to be great entertainment and exercise between flights. Furthermore, my curious mind always enjoyed watching people running to gates, coming, going, and rushing through the airport. Now as I sit here at a Starbucks in Santa Fe, NM I surprisingly feel some of the same inquisitive emotions of wonder and enjoyment of watching people in their daily interactions. I have to admit the Free WIFI at Starbucks is an awesome bonus while traveling.
A portion of my trek across the country is to practice yoga everyday in a variety of interesting places. Yesterday I decided to do a random Internet search in the Santa Fe area for a Friday night yoga class. I found an interesting place called, “Santa Fe Community Yoga,” that is located right next to a National park in the mountains. On the website it mentioned that the Santa Fe Community Yoga center is a donation pay class. I am curious to see what the Yoga studio is raising money for? My friend Scott at NWA Hot Yoga has hosted several donation yoga events for great causes, so I wonder if I will find a trend of the generous heart of other yogis around the country?
I thought I would be sleeping in Albuquerque, NM last night at Linda’s house, yet plans changed and a yoga class in the mountains in Santa Fe is on the agenda. I look forward to experience what is on my next on my no expectations journey. I guarantee I will be a little more careful with my communication with other friends I am suppose to meet up with over the next 3 weeks. Beth W. I will be calling you at least 3 days prior to my planned arrival in Sacramento.
Let the journey begin within yourself.