When I first said, "Hey, could I have some time off in September? I think I need to go for a drive," I had no idea what it would actually amount to.
What started as a chance to visit Shorty and maybe head on to Utah to do a little exploring quickly turned into a potentially massive road trip. And when the Bossman looked at the calendar and told me I could be gone a bit longer, there was no way I would turn him down. The Great Western Trek was reborn, this time both greater and more western than the previous two incarnations.
Almost immediately, though, a panicky feeling hit me. It was a familiar panic, the kind that occurs when an introverted engineer is facing chaos and strangers.
I needed a plan.
With the book, I had a gathering spot. A place for ideas, for an itinerary of sorts, for maps and plans. Slowly, the panic subsided.
You see, if there's one thing I've learned, it's that if I don't have any ideas before I get to a place, I will go full-on agoraphobic on myself and spend a good chunk of time hiding in my hotel room/borrowed bedroom/tent, afraid to strike out on my own and see the sights. It happened to me in London; it happened the last time I was in Denver. Eventually, I always work my way out of it, but then I have to deal with the lost time.
I don't want that happening on this trip.
This time I have the book, my security blanket for an all-out road trip where I want to do things like talk to strangers in coffee shops and catch a Packers game somewhere in Washington. I want to know what Katie's talking about when she suggests sights in Portland. I want to find breweries and random geocaches -- and when I get to the end, I want to enjoy my Denver friends without getting lost looking for them.
The book holds ... well, not all of it, but most of it. Enough information to be reassuring, plenty of things I don't even need to know at all, and my acknowledgment that I will likely completely ignore it most of the time.
Now, it's just a matter of the last few pieces falling into place. My car is nearly packed. I've got a pretty good idea of my route to my first stop. I just have to finish cleaning up here and I'll be all set.
On the road again.