90,000 Miles to Me
new mexico sunset

4,574 Miles • Setting Out on My Grand Adventure

This is a backdated post from August 31st, 2017

The van is packed and I’m getting ready to leave this city that has been my home for more than a decade. I never thought I would be sad to leave the desert, or that I could grow to like the Southwest at all (I’m a big-tree-forest-kinda-girl), but I have been here so long that I am used to the place. As Data says,

As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The input is eventually anticipated and even missed when absent.”

For an android incapable of emotions, he sure taught me a great deal about feelings. As an autistic child, I was often confused by irrational humans. Data’s rational explanations helped me to make sense of both other people and myself.

Amidst my preparations for leaving, I got the van weighed again, with all my stuff in it this time. (The local recycling and dump station makes vehicles weigh in and out to charge you for the difference, so I just drove up to the booth, looked at the scale weight, explained to the confused attendant that I don’t have any waste, I just wanted to weigh the van, and pulled out. Free. Twice.)

Empty weight: 5,300 lbs. (+/- 20 lbs.) including me and 7/8 tank of gas.

Ready housing weight: 6,900 lbs. (+/- 20 lbs.) including me and 7/8 tank of gas.

So all the conversion stuff and my things come up to 1,600 lbs, and 6,900 is still well under the 9,000 lb limit. Yay.

Other errands included saying last goodbyes, getting the tires rotated and oil changed, stocking up on groceries and road trip snacks, filling the water tanks, returning library books, vespers, a last sunset (the one above), and a good night’s sleep.

As I lie here, on the eve of embarking my grand adventure, I am struck again by a question someone asked me recently. What do you value most in life? It was surprisingly easy to answer her: I just swiveled my head around, looking at what I put in my van. Downsizing to this extent revealed a lot about my priorities; when there is so little space, everything I choose to bring must have a very specific purpose to justify the space it is taking up. And anything that isn’t a practical necessity has to have a darn good justification. So, what did I take that wasn’t a practical necessity? In other words, what do I value most?

My icons and prayer book to connect with the Saints and God. Lots of books for reading pleasure, knowledge and to broaden my horizons. Art and craft supplies for making beauty in this world. My computer for keeping in touch and learning new things. My stuffed animals for comfort and a reminder of home. A journal and my dip pens and inks to record my adventure and connect with people I love by writing paper letters and postcards to friends and family. Cookbooks to challenge my comfort zone by trying new recipes. Three juggling balls to try, for the umpteenth time, to learn this complex skill and prove to myself that I can do it, thank you very much. My small amount of basic rock climbing gear to inspire myself to train my body towards being able to do this for real. Tools and materials needed to continue working on several van projects to add beauty and functionality to my living space, and because I enjoy the physical labor and because I am a woman and can do it. Rosie would be proud.

So, yeah. That’s what I am bringing besides the essentials, and what they mean to me.


References: quote from Data in Star Trek TNG, Legacy


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This is a backdated post from September 1st, 2017

The adventure officially begins! I am on the road, leaving New Mexico and heading into the unknown. Sort of; I’m heading to Denver, but still. Metaphorically speaking, I’m heading out into the unknown.

Signs I saw today:

  • On an RV: “The Mobile Traveler” – Really? What other kind is there?
  • On a glam RV: “The Hitchhiker” – Um, no.
  • At a highway rest stop: “No Loitering” – What am I supposed to do there?
  • At another rest stop: “No potable water” – They weren’t kidding. There weren’t even sinks in the restroom—although it is plumbed for flush toilets—just a dispenser for hand sanitizer. By the way, sanitizing hands isn’t all that you want to do at a sink, especially in the women’s rest room. I had to use my own drinking water to clean blood off my hands. What about travelers who don’t have those reserves? Serious oversight there.

Arrived safe and sound in Denver to spend a few days with a friend.