Nice Work If You Can Get It

Journey Begins

Linda Burton posting from Boise, Idaho – “That sounds like a lot of work.” I heard that phrase nearly every time I told someone about the plans for the Journey Across America. In fact, I heard it so often I threatened to get a bumper sticker! Well, I’ve visited 5 out of 50 Capital Cities now; the Journey is 1/10th of the way done, and before I begin my focus on Boise, I’m going to summarize, analyze, theorize and maybe even criticize. How are things going so far? What is working particularly well, and what is not so hot in the way I’ve set things up? Like the pioneers on the Oregon Trail, what am I throwing in the ditch, and what have I learned that I cannot live without? I think of the little girl in the ill-fated Donner Party; as adults around her moved into survival mode she was told to leave her dolly behind. But that dolly was her survival mode, she hid it in her skirt; survival is a very personal thing. And so is work. One person’s work can be another’s adventure, no matter what the stats reveal! Let’s see.

  • Miles traveled since I left Brother’s house – 4,368
  • Days on the road – 80 (yes, I know Phileas Fogg and his manservant Passe-portou went around the world in 80 days, but I have a different agenda)
  • Stat: Driving an average of 55 miles a day
  • Stat: Cost of gas averaging $0.16 a mile (California was highest priced @$4.59)

And to expand the numbers:

  • I’ve waded in the deepest and the shallowest lakes in the country, slept in 10 different cities, crossed the borders of 8 states, claimed as neighbors 2,967,224 people in the 5 capital cities.
  • Biggest capital city Phoenix 1,445,632 people. Smallest capital city Carson City 55,724 people.
  • Highest capital city Carson City 4,687 feet. Lowest capital city Sacramento 25 feet.
  • Southernmost capital city Austin 30.16N. Northernmost capital city Salt Lake City 40.45N
  • Easternmost capital city Austin 97.44W. Westernmost capital city Sacramento 121.29W
  • Best purchase I made before I began: The Scion, it is execllente´! It performs well, is comfortable, and holds what I want to transport. I also think it is kinda cute.
  • Worst purchase I made before I began: Sierra Air Card, it overheats, and motels have free wi-fi anyhow.
  • Most annoying thing: the variance in pet fees at the motels. Depending on the “whim” of the manager, they have ranged from $2 per day to $23.
  • Already ditched: my blender. I whipped up a protein shake once, decided I can live without it.
  • Really miss: my DVR. Now I’m a slave to when the networks air the evening news.
  • Should have more of: jeans.
  • Couldn’t live without: Alex Cat, Jack Cat, and my 36-year-old cactus plant. All travel well.

What have I loved about each city?

(Left) Austin: I loved the energy, the families doing everything, flying kites, riding bikes, pushing strollers, talking, laughing, enjoying life. The music, the food, those gorgeous curving live oak trees.

(Right) Phoenix: I loved the big wide palm-lined streets, the mountains jutting up all over town, the casual scene, the calm. Relax, enjoy the sun. The bougainvillea everywhere, even on the freeway walls.

(Left) Sacramento: I loved the gold-rush aura in the air, the California double-dare, the spirit of the pioneers, history, diversity, variety. The delta atmosphere, things growing, thick and green.

(Right) Carson City: I loved the easiness of being there, the mountains close enough to touch, the awesome beauty everywhere. The genuine, the friendliness, the small-town gentle way of life, the peace.

(Left) Salt Lake City: I loved the pride of place, the prettiness of everything, the hooked-on feeling for the arts and out of doors, the liveliness electric in the air, the mountains right outside the door.

Most of all, I have loved meeting the people all along the way, dispelling pre-conceived notions and seeing what is really there. And just think, I’m only one-tenth into the Journey.

I’m in Boise now, Capital City #6, place of a beautiful river lined with cottonwood trees and people parks; expect good posts from here. Then I head across the state of Oregon to Salem, across the Pacific Ocean to Honolulu, up the I-5 freeway to Olympia, over Canada’s mountains to Juneau. Grandchildren join me during summer months, watch for posts from a young’uns point of view.

Then forty cities more. If that’s work, then bring it on, I say.