Travails of Travel

You would think after 40 years, I’d know better. What can I say? My usual sunny self always tends to romanticize these sorts of things. Besides I was rather distracted on Tuesday by a baby thinking she might make a rather grand but unexpected arrival.

Baby M isn’t due for another four weeks but when I dropped by her mama’s workplace I could tell something was up.

What’s going on? I asked.

Contractions, she answered.

How close?

Every 15 mins.

By the time she got ahold of her doctor and made it to the birthing center per doctor’s orders, contractions were 3-5 mins apart. Thankfully there are drugs for that, and after a few more hours, they kicked in. Which meant she got to go home and Bean told his sister she had to stay put until “you are like a mini-watermelon.”

In reality, Baby M is probably a full grown Walchli by now.

 All that excitement derailed my plans for packing, however. The reason Baby M’s mama didn’t want to tell us about the contractions was because she knew we were supposed to head off on a jaunt to Wyoming to visit her brother.

Granted, Wyoming isn’t my idea of must sees before I die. Besides, I’ve seen it plenty. I’ve made a concerted effort to avoid it since Dick Cheney took us to war.

But the number one son moved there. So there’s that.

Given the impending birth, I wasn’t sure whether I should make this trip or not. But daughters encouraged me to because they didn’t want their dad on the road alone.

He said we were staying the first night in Twin Falls, Idaho. (Baby M’s mama calls it “Udaho”). But when we got to Twin Falls he said he had it wrong – he meant Idaho Falls.

I should have known better.

His idea of travel is a sleeping bag and trail mix. By 8 pm I’d eaten chocolate peanuts and a handful of corn chips. Idaho Falls was a few hours away.

And there were no hotels with rooms left north of Twin Falls. With the exception of Motel Six – which I don’t do. I’d rather sleep in my car.

And the Black Swan Theme Inn in Pocatello. They had two rooms left.

Would you like the Egyptian room or the Garden room? The PhD candidate answering the phone asked.

Such a difficult choice.

How do you choose between Pharaohs or fountains? Between Brittany Lions and palace cats?

It was almost 10 pm. I was nearly hangry. And definitely tired.

The garden room, please, I said.

Perhaps our finest room, the desk clerk said when he handed my man the key.

We have kinfolk who decorate in a very similar fashion, so the garden rooms – there were actually four rooms – felt familiar. Not like home, mind you, but not at all like a Motel Six either. (Long story on my aversion for another day).

The Black Swan included many unexpected things: hanging plastic grapes, a round bed, stars, wrought iron breakfast nook, sauna with mood lighting, and a toilet hidden behind a door that was covered in the most intricate mural.

My man ran out to the grocers at 10:30 pm and brought back dinner – family sized frozen Mac and cheese that took 35 mins in the microwave to heat up.

My morning Starbucks taste like it was brewed with pesticides.

If you ever find yourself in Pocatello – and honestly, why would you? – I recommend you skip eating altogether. But do check out that Egyptian suite at the Black Swan Inn. It beats the heck out of sleeping in the Jeep.

We are off to Yellowstone today. Keep us in your prayers, would you? Another day like yesterday and I may just leave my man.

In Wyoming.

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

1 Comment

Only Son

about 4 years ago

Wow! :D


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