Countdown to the Plan

The original idea was to leave for my big adventure in early November.  It’s tough to think about leaving Minnesota when the weather is so perfect and mild for bowhunting and pheasant hunting.  So we got out as often as we could in early season and did get a few birds in the freezer, but I was offered no shots at deer.  I also squeezed in a yard sale, fall chores, and time to get my business plan and website set up to launch.  I started packing for the big trip in early October.

Then on October 12th the phone rang…

“Hi, we need to discuss your trip.  Gramma is not doing well, and I may need to drive out to Minnesota if things get worse. Wondering if I can stay at your place with my two dogs?”

My good friend Lynn’s Gramma is an amazing 100 years old. Lynn and I were planning to spend a couple weeks together, do Thanksgiving and tour the upper East Coast, then I would continue on my journey south for the next 30 days or so with many stops and people set up to see.

“Um…..ok…..” I hesitated sadly.   “I’ll stay at your place in New Jersey, while you are at my place in Minnesota?  Perhaps we can rendezvous at a rest stop for hugs mid route?”

Yikes.  What else can a person really say?  Stuff happens.  Gramma could very well live another 100 years, easy.  She’s just that way.  Now things would be up in the air with limited updates on Gramma.  We were half packed and in limbo. Off came the cargo rack and camping gear. Everything was on hold.

But wait, there’s more….

It’s especially hard to picture visiting friends in New Jersey when they are evacuating New Jersey due to a hurricane.

It started out around October 15th with predictions and hyped up talk on the local news.  Talk of timelines and where Hurricane Sandy was, and when and where she was going to hit.  Denial is a powerful thing.  Lynn insisted they were fine and not going to be hit by the worst of it, and with Gramma hanging in there I should stick to the idea of coming out.  I tried to maintain faith and began packing again, but the news reports were increasingly dismal. When the hurricane did hit on October 29, it wasn’t fine, and for over a week I was unable to even know if Lynn and her family were ok.  Just 45 minutes from the shore, they were in the eye of the storm.  They had lost power, lost trees, lost transportation, were unable to communicate, and things looked very grim.  The graphic news reports were shocking.  The majority of places we’d planned to go together didn’t even exist anymore. They will need months to re-cooperate from the devastation.

I had serious doubts, and wondered more than once if I should even be thinking about doing the trip at all.  How about I reverse the trip and stop east on the way back in late December? Or go to Texas and New Mexico instead?  Is some higher power trying to tell me something here?  Everyone else I know was urging me to postpone until sometime in 2013.  We were half packed and in limbo. Again, I pulled the cargo rack off the truck, put the tent and tarps and gear back in the garage.

Then I got an email.  They are ok.  Lynn insisted I keep to the plan, that by the time I get to New Jersey I’ll be able to get on the roads, get gas, get to their place, and they will have power back, the trees out of the streets, and they will no longer be using generators.

Besides, her neighbors son is really hoping I’ll help him with his archery.

So the trip was back on.  Out came the gear.  On Wednesday November 14th the packing resumed.  Of course that was along with managing a couple days of running errands, bird hunting, cleaning birds, evening of Swing Dance, meeting with the electrician about finishing the master bathroom while I’m away and having company for the weekend that included us girls doing a grueling 3 hour hike in Hudson followed by a Wine Tasting tour of Alexis Bailly Winery that put us on our butts for the remainder of that day.

After helping organize my travel supplies, my weekend company pulled out of the driveway at about 2:00 pm on Sunday the 18th.  The adventure countdown began shortly after, with me packing the truck one more time, strapping up the back, last minute fussing around the house, then taking a much needed nap.



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