Monday, April 30, 2012

The Magical Mystical Trip

When I lost my mother in May, 2011, I had already planned to fly to the west coast to promote my third book, Who More Than Wished You Were Dead?, in Ocean Shores and Bellevue, Washington, where it is set. Having moved to Michigan to be close when my mother needed me, I found myself now feeling rootless. I decided that what I needed was a road trip.

After a book presentation that I had scheduled earlier, I had only three days before the check in date at my time share in Ocean Shores. No problem. At worst, I might lose a day or so at the time share. I started out in beautiful weather at 1:30 p.m., taking the northern route up over the Macinac Bridge and through the upper peninsula. This was only the second time I drove across the bridge and it was spectacular, which turned out to be a foretaste of the whole trip.

Not being a spring chicken, I have a bit of trouble with my knees, so I when I drive I stop every hour and a half to two hours. Sitting in a restaurant would not help my knees, so I take a fifteen to twenty minute break, snack on the food I have stashed in the car, and stretch my legs.  I got in over 400 miles before calling it a day. A swim in the motel pool, a soak in the hot tub, a glass of wine, and an instant food dinner in my room while reading a book, a perfect ending for a glorious day.

Having done so well the first day, I decided to aim for 700 miles a day the next three, which would get me to Mariner Village, my time share, late on check in day or early the next morning. Seven hundred miles is not nearly as bad as it sounds when you take breaks and get fresh air so often, and when you are zipping through country that makes you look around and say "Oh, my goooodness," every time you blink. So, I did my 700 miles and stopped in Bismark, North Dakota. No rooms. No rooms in the whole town. I had stopped at a Best Western, and was told the next Best Western was 90 minutes away and probably didn't have any rooms, either. I kept driving, stopping at every small town that advertised a motel on the roadside signs. It seems all that wonderful scenery around the painted canyons and Yellowstone and the Black Hills and the rest of that glorious landscape drew a lot of people; I had plenty of company in my search. After completing a thousand miles I found a room in a small, old, downtown hotel.

A thousand miles.

Who knew that I could do that?

I am woman!

I was pumped for the rest of the trip and forgot to feel tired. My only peeve was that my car was covered with bugs and dirt, meaning I would have to hit a car wash before I ever got to the time share. Lo and behold, as I was nearing the Montana/Idaho border, the car wash hit me. Two ferocious downpours a few miles apart cleaned my car better than any car wash could do. Then it was back to perfect weather and more awsome grandeur through the Cascades. I wondered how much more I could take.

And lest you think it is only in the truly awe inspiring that I find joy, as I coming out of the mountains and approaching North Bend, Washington, I remembered there was a Corning store at the outlet mall there, and I needed to replace some lids for my Corningware that I had ruined in the microwave. Icing on the cake!

My stay at Ocean Shores and Bellevue continued to feel miraculous, but that's for another posting.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Where Does the Time Go?

I thought it had been a year since I had posted on my blog. Imagine my surprise when I finally took a look and discovered it's been a year and a half! Do I feel guilty? Yes. Can I make excuses? Probably. But first, I want to apologize to my few followers who have (I hope) been waiting to hear from me again.

I actually do have a few excuses. 2011 was a full year, including, on the sad side, the death of both my mother in May and my mother-in-law in August. I have found that emotional hits like that put a real damper on my ability to concentrate.

On a happier note, in addition to three weddings to cheer me up, I spent about six weeks on the west coast to introduce my third book, Who More Than Wished You Were Dead?, to the area where it is set.  I'll save details of the trip (I drove from Michigan) for my next blog. An upside to being alone is that I have the time to attend writer's conferences, and took in the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in Bellevue, Washington, a great place for me to do research on my newest book, Where Did You Go to Die? That one is now with the editor and should be out sometime this summer. I also went to Crime Bake in Boston, and was happy to spread my wings in a different direction. Then, this February I attended Love is Murder in Chicago, deciding I should probably spend my energy (and money) in my local area.

So 2011 turned out to be a year of travel. I expect to do more of that until I'm ready to settle down again, but right now I plan to get back down to writing and blogging and updating my web site and wallowing in good books. Next, I'll write a bit about my trip out west before putting the past behind and concentrating on what is going on right now.