So the point of this particular nomadic venture of mine, going to Oklahoma via a road trip with my father, was not a pleasure trip. It was practical.
We did not sight-see.
We did not dally.
Nonetheless, interesting things occurred, as they always do when traveling. Here we go…
We tumbled out of our snowbank in the mountains during the gray dawn and descended to wetter roads and clearer weather. The sun glared off the highway as we wound through the foothills to Denver and then we sprinted from one highway to the other.
Kansas was flat.
And we quickly found ourselves looking for evening sustenance outside Wichita.
I have a few dietary restrictions that I’m trying to obey, so spicy and ethnic are pretty squarely outside the realm of my heath. Burgers. I can make burgers work. While Dad and I were on the search for a Wendy’s or a Burger King, we stumbled across Spangles.
Firstly, the name. Who doesn’t want to say they had a night out at SPANGLES?
Secondly, the way every curve of the building seemed lit up in nostalgic neon. You might ask, “What makes neon nostalgic?” Well, the inside of Spangles will answer that in spades.
I don’t know if any of you watch the show “Timeless” on NBC, but it felt like we weary travelers had just been lost to a different decade. I felt self-conscious pulling out my smartphone to snap pictures. Elvis kept us company in one corner while we got approval from several framed John Waynes about our menu choices, and Maralyn looked glamorous from her wall of pictures and her iconic center-of-the-room statue.
We stumbled back onto the road and crashed in a hotel south of Oklahoma City, looking rather confusedly between watches and phones until we figured out that we had, in fact, made it to another time zone a few hundred miles back.
The next morning, Dad and I grabbed a touch of continental breakfast before breaking for the hills and our final destination. We dropped off the furniture and household goods at my brother’s new home, played with/held a niece or two, and I helped scrub out a refrigerator before jumping back into our journey… and our audio book.
Yes, my family members are all big believers in audiobooks-for-travel, and the pre-trip debate on which books to listen to are always an exciting element in the planning stage of any journey. You can’t start one that’s twice the length of the trip because who knows when that particular configuration of travelers is going to happen again. You can’t start one that is in the middle of a series when one or more of the travelers isn’t current in said series. It has to be exciting enough to keep the driver awake, but in a genre that everyone can agree is swell.
We listened to “A Natural History of Dragons,” by Marie Brennan. I loved it. Five stars on Goodreads.com. All of you should go out and buy it because it is awesome. Especially buy the audio book, because Kate Reading does an outstanding job with all the voices and accents and should be given some kind of award for being awesome.
We hopped on the highway headed north, then the other highway headed west. We finished our audio book somewhere in Kansas and I opened up my laptop to see what Dad thought of the first few chapters of my NaNo novel. Then this sunset happened
I finished reading the epilogue about twenty minutes outside of Denver. To be honest, I was shocked I still had a voice the next day, but it was so worth it.
First, instant feedback is an incredible thing for any author, and I highly recommend reading aloud to an alpha-reader for the feeling and flow of your story. Secondly, reading aloud is a fantastic way to find typos and awkward sentences, and you should at least read your writing aloud to yourself if not to another. Third, while it is rarely feasible to read your entire story in one sitting, it is very much worth it for continuity of detail, noting consistent tone, and observing whether or not the phrase ‘million questions’ comes up more than twice in the entire work. Fourth, to turn to your listener after you close the lid of your laptop, ask “Well, what did you think?”, and have the answer be, “It’s the kind of cliffhanger that is also a whole story.” is a compliment worth its weight in gold bullion.
Bill and I are very proud of this creation, even as we plot the next ones.
Day 3 of the travel adventure was initially going to be a quick jaunt from Denver to our mountain home, but I was handed over to a shopping expedition. They lost me to a book section at a thrift store where I purchased such gems as “Cross-Cultural Psychology” and two (!?) books on/relating to pirates.
Then we went on to buy such trifles as food and equipment for surviving the winter before diving back into our mountain snowbank.
Yep. Three days. 1,660 miles. One backpack per traveler. Two audio books. One doozy of a road trip.
I’m happy to be snuggled back in my cave, and I have no intention of leaving it again anytime soon. Then again, I rarely do… yet I so often end up traveling.
Nomadic Troglodyte, out!