He Went to Paris

He went to Paris…

Despite my better intentions, I realized that at this date and time, I cannot write 24/7 about self publishing while I am in the process of getting my feet wet.  Staying with the proverbial feet, I have finally reached the ocean, but I’m still working on getting my feet used to the feel of the surf.  Having said this, I’ve come up with a break down for what I can write about if not 24 hours, then at least 7 days a week and it goes something like this:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Self Publishing/writing (with a weekly challenge that if anyone should happen to answer correctly, I will give away a free copy of my book, Caitiff Academy: The Tigress to the first correct response)
Tuesday: Travel ideas/memoirs (and believe me, the traveling I’ve done is beyond eccentric)
Thursday: Throwback to my first true passion, horses (usually with pictures)
Saturdays: With a tip of my hat to Big Bang, it is anything goes Saturday.
All in all, this takes into account the title of my blog, Rambling, and it also keeps me occupied while I continue to pursue my career(s).

…looking for answers…

Having spent a great deal of this time explaining what I’ve come up with, I’ll have to make this particular travel episode short and hopefully sweet.

…to questions that bothered him so…

I have spent most of my traveling with my grandmother.  She is delightfully eccentric in her unwillingness to fly but her obsession to travel.  As an intro to just how she operates, I shall introduce the great wide world to Clarabelle.

…he was impressive…

To reiterate, my grandmother will not fly.  She and I went to Europe by way of car from home base in Washington State to Texas, cruise ship to Barcelona, train to Rome and then on to Munich, tour bus through four countries, train back to Hamburg, cruise ship back to the States.  Unfortunately, during our two month absence, the train tracks on our way home had been flooded.  This left us stranded on the East Coast with no quick fix available. If we stayed with the train, we could make it as far as Chicago before waiting three days for a patched route down to Texas, over to California, and finally up the coast to Washington.  It was over $3000 to go up through Canada and we still had to wait two days.  After an hour of conferencing, we hopped on a train and went to buy some time with my cousin in Washington DC.

…young and agressive..

While in Europe, my grandmother had developed a tendresse for a car, something of a rarity for her.  The car in question was a Smart Roadster.  After pricing the cost of a rental car, my grandmother decided, instead, to try and find that car.  My cousin, who lives and works in teh DC area, took us all around to the local car shops.  We finally found a Smart dealer, snuggled between a Aston dealer and a Mercedes, who just happened to have a used Smart car that had been driven onto the lot and exchanged for a newer model that very day.  The only downside?  Besides the fact that it was not a Roadster, of course.  It was orange.  The dealer insisted it was Rally Red, but I’ll post a picture and let you decide.  I consider it the smae color as a Cinderella Pumpkin.  After a single test ride, and a little bit of haggling on the price, my grandmother quite literally wrote a check for the entire price of the car.  It had to stay for a weekend of mandatory checks and inspections, but come Monday, it would be alright.

…saving the world on his own…

An orange Smart car is a conversation starter.  We left the DC area early on a Tuesday, thankfully going against traffic, which, around the beltway, is intense.  We drove on to Pittsburgh, a city I have always wanted to visit.  We checked off several boxes, my grandmother got her insurance printed off just outside of Pittsburgh, I took pictures of Consol Energy Center (home of the Pittsburgh Penguins), the soon to be demolished Mellon Arena, and i tracked down a house I had found online that had become the home of a series of characters I had written about a little bit before.  It was perfect, and as yet, we didn’t quite stand out.

…But warm summer breezes…

As we ventured into the MidWest, though, we started to stand out a little more.  At a McDonalds in Indiana, a group of ten teenagers stood outside in the parking lot arguing over just what the car was and just what color. Amazingly enough, a few people actually thought it was red.  We were incredibly lucky to skirt more than one storm as we crossed Indiana and Illinois.  After crossing up through Minnesota, we were really in uncharted territory in South Dakota.  Before, we had planned to travel by where the nearest Starbucks was.  For all of the expansion of my favorite coffee, it has not really breached the interior of South Dakota.  In fact, nothing in the way of fast food has.  Between Rapid City and Sioux Falls, there is only a testament to the way things used to be, mom and pop diners sitting right next to gas stations.  Bikers were fascinated by us, and truck drivers stopped to ask what our gas mileage was.  (To those who are curious, we managed around 40 mph, no it is not a hybrid)

…French wines and cheeses…

The best moment of our journey, though, was in Montana.  We had, miraculously, managed to avoid yet more bad weather in Bozeman.  We arrived, looking for Starbucks, to find shop owners putting up temporary plywood after a huge wind storm had whipped through. Making our way through the great state of Montana, on our way to meet up with my other cousin, who has my everlasting respect for teaching middle schoolers science, we had a Subaru drive by us, lean out their window with a camera (not the camera phone type) and take a picture.  Of us.

…Put his ambitions at bay…

To this day, people are completely astounded to learn that the first trip we took with the little Smart car, who my grandmother named Clarabelle, was cross country.  We literally drove over 3000 miles in 4.5 days in a car that weighs little more than one of my horses.  It fit the five bags of luggage we took to Europe with us in the back, along with the Pepsi my grandmother continued to pick up (more on that later. See next weeks In Pursuit of Pepsi)

…His summers and winters, scattered like splinters…

I still have Clarabelle.  She’s been all over the state of Washington, and down and back to Oregon a time or two.  She survived a harsh run in with a curb, and has nearly been blown off the road in our own Eastern Washington wind storms.  But still, she is a conversation starter.  She’s an orange car, she always will be.

…And four to five years slipped away…

(This is the best pic I have for now, will look for one of just the car later)

Published by L.E. Gibler

Writer, rider, and future crazy cat lady

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