After staying a night at the hotel, I recharged my batteries after “celebrating” my welcoming singlehood, I woke around at 6am in the morning and it was still dark, cold outside. It was kind of a quiet, sublime but also deadly cold, still in the minus 10 degrees. But at least, it raised the temperature a little, but still it wasn’t enough to at least feel the normalcy when I lived in the Northwest.
Immediately, I packed my things, took a quick shower to get a little bit warmer and as soon as I ignited the van, I got into a sort of panic attack when the car didn’t start. The lights in the car flickered by every turn of my key and I was sure I was in deep shit. I didn’t have that luxury of staying for another day. I felt alone since the only contact that I had was my sister in Michigan and she can’t even dare travel the rest of the miles to rescue my butt. So, I did what I should do, ask someone if they have a jumper cable. So there were an old couple eating in the dining room lobby by the complementary breakfast bar and I asked them politely if they have jumper cables. The old man replied: “Sure, let me get my stuff.”
Still, I was talking to my sister on my cellphone and slowly he just got the cables, while I was moving my car in neutral to get out of the parking lot a little. He connected the cables to the right connectors, and the van was alive again. It was such a relief that I felt that I wasn’t alone in all this. That there were forces who were protecting me, even though I had my conflicts and my disagreements with that supreme being. But he/she never left me in the dust. The traveling isn’t over yet, so I left Jamestown, North Dakota and continuing my driving to the east until my goal and I have a total of 8 hours left before reaching destination number one.
The never ending views of the medium sized mountains, houses a far and lands covered in snow seems a little bit boring but I was playing my music on the road and also being guided by my GPS. North Dakota was a little walk in the park in terms of the distance across. As soon as my GPS announced “Welcome to North Dakota” I just woot for joy like when a team wins after a tedious battle with their rivals. I arrived at my friends hometown of Minnesota, labeled the land of the Minnesota Vikings and with a reason. Every place, businesses begins with the word Viking. Like Viking Office, Viking Gym and even Viking Plaza. It was Viking on my mind. So I landed there just for a quick snack at a Fast Food Restaurant.
While eating a t BK, I caught a glimpse outside and it was a middle aged man running to cross the street, and I gasp in shock when he slipped and feel on his butt on the cold ground. The rest dining there, didn’t pay much attention to what happened outside or actually didn’t care because they were so focused on their food. I felt like I’m the only one who could see this spectacle and felt sympathy for this fella. But time was up and after a few calls to some of my friends I once again got back into the van and drove away towards the next rest stop. Since the sun was so bright, I wore my sunglasses since the snow was so unforgiving. Meanwhile, the roads were clean and didn’t have any other problems except the cold weather but at least Minnesota view has changed to buildings and concrete which was better than snow and nowhere to be look at. When I reached the next stop didn’t stop to wonder the great amount of aggressive drivers going to their destination. I figured and felt like I was going to Spokane, were these type of drivers were the norm. But my anxiety kicked in and tried to calm my nerves since it felt like Mad Max, and ignore their attitude.
After a half an hour, I headed into the Visitor’s Center to do some lady like business and checking up where I was. It was 12pm and I was at the beginning of the map and it felt like it was a long, exhausted and tedious road to get out of. I felt like I was in Montana again where didn’t know where I was going to get out. But I was determined to arrive at my destination, but with one catch, the longer you stay, the later you arrive and yes, there’s the time zone difference to make you a little bit screwed ten fold.
Also, besides being screwed still I have to battle against these nasty aggressive drivers. Minnesota has by far the most aggressive drivers, it was worst, 10 times worst than Spokane where even looking at the crappy not so well maintained roads non-stop, a driver, or a moron, could slam your lane to invade your space without common sense. Other times, they go from one lane into the third without using their signals. Between the commotion of the city and the lack of road maintenance on roads I was fearful tat my tires would give up from every bump and crack in the Highway and worst, the speed limit was lowered to 55. It wasn’t pleasant driving to say at least. It was more of a torture.
The next stop towards Minnesota, in the afternoon was Wisconsin! I landed at a gas station to as always fill up my gas go to the ladies room and head out, Wisconsin is very peaceful, kinda like CDA because of the lake, still it has a nice view of the boats being covered like it was protecting itself from the harsh weather. I was continuing driving, thinking about many things and many questions to where “How I ended up in here?” “How I’m going to survive after all this?” and the most common “Would I find love, afterwards?” I was becoming tired, weary but also careful of not causing an accident and as the sky were darkening, I was pretending to be in a car race to reach my goal. Even thought the speed limit varies, I wished that I could drive 70 or 80 miles instead of the 60 and the dreading 55 on the highway. And I didn’t play any radio station during my travel. It was always my phone to keep me company. During that time, I didn’t received no calls specially from my now ex-boyfriend so I was on my own. But the weirdest part of it all was that I didn’t feel lonely or sad. I was hopeful that my life was going to be a little better than what it used to. Didn’t see anymore scenery from Wisconsin except the small marina it has, followed by a billboards and trees that obstructed the rest of the view. The temperature is a little bit better, a mere 20 degrees and no snow. But the aggressive drivers were gone and finally got my peace of mind.
Driving alone is a very hard feat, where you have to push yourself in order to get a more pleasurable trip. You don’t have someone who could rest while your companion drives for you, either you get into a rest stop, or if you have money, you have to at least rent a freaking cheap motel to spend a night. In my case, it was just a plan that I had it for a few months before deciding on leaving this place for good. I didn’t have no regrets about it, because how can I feel someone that actually didn’t give a damn? But I was alone on this mess until an organization for fighting domestic violence, helped me gain my direction and telling me which choices I have to select. If they didn’t exist, my life wouldn’t be the same. And I’m very grateful for that.
The road seem very long and tedious, but I have to march on… I mean drive on. By the time of midnight I landed in Illinois and I screamed for joy again, tired but I was freaking glad that I’m going to be in the end of the road and the time zone resulted in my brain more confused than ever. Illinois was the place that President Barrack Obama worked. The views of the city lights were mostly impressive as well as frightening. The highway complicated and more when I have to pay the freaking toll. I never been in that direction to pay tolls before so this was the first time in my life to do so. The weirdest part was paying the toll, and since the lack of direction, I missed it. I never felt so guilty, it was like I stole something from the government. But I was going to compensate when I see the other toll booth. So I prepared my change and went to the next one, and asked the person at the booth if I could pay for the last one that I missed. He just explained me there’s no problem as long as I pay it online, which he gave me a piece of brochure to where I have to pay my toll. So I did pay it three more times. But the city of Chicago, was very beautiful even in the night time, where the tallest buildings collide with the bright lights on the highway, so bright I thought it was daylight. Still, the road was clean from all the snow and didn’t have any problems driving the speed limit though all the trip. I was surely exhausted, but grateful that I’m going to be finally on my destination. But didn’t want to stop in Chicago, not even for a minute. Don’t know why but I didn’t feel like going there, since I was afraid that something was going to happen. But the trip to Illinois was shorter than other states, since I just went directly south and then around towards the next state: Michigan.
Finally, I was home after 12 years away from it due to the fact of starting a new life that actually didn’t have the ending I wanted it to be and for certain situations against my control, I choose to leave and start a new life full of uncertainties, blindfolded about the future and trying to build a new foundation without knowing the right tools for the job. It’s about trial and a lot of errors, but hope that I finally find something that can be a positive aspect of my life after all the negative I experienced. But this is what I really don’t miss about Michigan, winter suck balls. As soon as I arrive to Michigan, I see a few drops of snow that were actually growing to the point that the roads were very dangerous, still covered with snow that didn’t have no other choice than driving at 40 and some occasions 30 because the roads weren’t clean at all. Tired, thirsty and with my eyes sore from all the driving, I was ecstatic that at least this chapter is closed and a new one opens with more uncertainties, sparks of wisdom with a little bit of screw ups, that it’s the definition of what it takes to be finally single.
By 5:30am, I landed in the unforgettable city of Grand Rapids, MI. It has changed a lot from what it was a decade ago. New buildings replacing the old ones, and some old buildings destroyed into the abyss. I felt this energy I never felt in so long, the busy life of the city even if it’s late night/early in the morning makes me feel like home since I have been a city girl all my life. Leaving the rural/country side of Idaho drew a bittersweet moment where it was a loving/hating relationship where the silence and the simplicity of country life didn’t got along with me.
Slowly but surely afraid that I was going to get lost in the road, my GPS finally said these words: “You Arrived” as I landed at Quigley St and see this house still with Christmas lights, I wasn’t unsure if that was the house, so I called my sister which she got out of the house and after moving her van to let me park first, We just hugged for a minute. You got to enjoy times like these where you’re in a rut, and all of the sudden your family will give you a hand to get out of that. I nearly cried, but after so long I finally can say I’m finally home.