Friday, December 10, 2010

Home Sweet Home

About a week ago, I flew up to New York to go pick up my dog Susie from the doggie camp where she was staying. I was planning to stay with her while she transitioned to living with my friend Tommy, whom she loves after spending most of my vacations with him. Sadly, as it turns out, personal circumstances in Tommy's life are such that it isn't ideal for Susie to stay with him just yet. So I canceled my return flight to Florida and rented a car for Susie and me. Three-day roadtrip!

I got online, plotted my nightly stops, reserved rooms at pet-friendly motels, and got ready to listen to lots of NPR. (Turns out that even NPR gets boring real fast. A small observation: the morning lady with the slow, twangy, wobbly voice is *obsessed* with Julian Assange and, I suspect, loves saying his last name.)

The first day was not so bad. The highlight was driving over the Verrazzano Bridge, seeing the great mouth of NY harbor and the ocean beyond and remembering Evan, Vanessa, and myself on the first day of our voyage! It was almost three months ago that we left Liberty Landing Marina and sailed under the bridge for the Jersey Shore. It felt like ages ago. I ended the night at the Sleep Inn at Stoney Creek, VA, which was a great place to stay with Susie. The check-in clerk was very friendly to both Susie and me, with treats for both human and canine. The hotel had a big grassy yard in the back where Susie ran out the kinks of lying still for 7 hours, on and off. The room was big and tidy, and the bathtub was clean. Free breakfast the next morning, too!

The second day was the pits. Covering the remainder of Virginia, all of North Carolina and South Carolina, and part of Georgia was exhausting. The drive was noteworthy only in that I got to reminisce a little every time I saw a name of a place we had sailed through: Chesapeake, Rappahannock, Cape Fear, Wilmington, Charleston, Beaufort. It was funny watching them zoom by, relatively speaking, after Evan and I had spent months passing through the very same places. They had seemed like such important and momentous arrivals, nothing like the whizz of a name on a green sign. On the ICW, we were also spared gun shop advertisements on the radio (not on NPR, obviously) and ubiquitous religious billboards. 

I slept my second night at the Travelodge in Richmond Hill, just outside Savannah, GA. This was a real motel...not a cheap or economical hotel. A motel. I loved it anyway, once I had the manager fix the curtain, the very end of which wouldn't latch onto the runner, exposing a sliver of my room to the general parking and highway public.

I watched part of Roadhouse, the hilarious part where Patrick Swayze does some sweaty tai chi in some redneck town. Shirtless, of course. And the part where Kelly Lynch, peroxide-blond hair starched out from her temples in true eighties style, watches him kick some goon ass before their first date.

I woke up in the morning to a bright sunny day behind my red curtain. I couldn't resist taking some pictures.

After taking pictures of the curtain and wall, I drove through the rest of Georgia and half of Florida. I was excited to get to Vero Beach. I realized that while the road trip had been fun in a retro kind of way--and convenient quick travel (three days to cover what Evan and I took months to do on the boat)--I had also had my fill of fast food and asshole drivers. When I arrived, I jumped out of the car, kissed Evan, and promptly introduced Susie to the dog community half a block away from the marina where we are moored. She was elated and made new friends in no time. The yellow life jacket I ordered for her had arrived. See?

Before today, Susie had only set foot on a boat once before, and that was a docked boat. But she has adjusted marvelously! I cut up a rubber mat into several pieces to put over the companionway stairs--she skitters down otherwise, banging head or hip first into the table--and, using dried chicken breast as incentive/reward, got her going up and down in perfect safety and style. I'm sure that the calm of boatlife, punctuated by regular visits to the dog field (and maybe swimming lessons in the creek?), will suit her.

I'm happy to be home, which feels that much more like home now that Susie is here.

1 comment:

  1. Your dog is so cute, I'm sure she'll get her sealegs in no time. :)