Tag Archives: travel

Response to Weekend Assignment # 203: Road Trip!

This week, work grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and gave me a good, hard shake. Now that the week is over and the long, President’s Day weekend has finally arrived, I’ve got documents to crunch through this weekend on three different cases before Tuesday. I had intended to take a couple of days off from blogging to work on the novel. Instead, I’ve written a whopping 704 words since Sunday night. Yippee. I’d like to get 2500 words written by Monday night, to take my word count up to 35K, but I think that’s unlikely.

What I need, of course, is a ROAD TRIP. The kind where you get in the car with your significant other or your buds, throw a backpack in the trunk, and just drive. These days, our road trips are a little more planning-intensive, requiring car seats, DVDs, CDs, laptops, chargers, toys, books, markers, etc., etc. They’re still great, just slightly less spontaneous.

This week, Karen over at Outpost Mavarin has given us the freedom to go on any road trip we want, so long as it’s a driving trip. If we could take the time, where would I drag my Unfocused Family? I’m assuming that this is supposed to be a three-day weekend kind of trip, not a two-week, Brady Bunch-style, driving trip to the Grand Canyon. But that still leaves a lot of territory to potentially cover. Milwaukee? Great museums and public garden, I love the brewery tours, and it is home to my favorite bar in the entire world. Cleveland? I’ve never been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so that might be fun, and educational for the kids. St. Louis? I guess we could see the Gateway Arch, but I used to have a number of cases in and around St. Louis, and I never really warmed up to the town. Bad memories, I guess. Springfield? Detroit?

Any of those would be real possibilities, but if you handed me a three-day pass for the trip, I’d really like to take the Unfocused Family to Louisville, Kentucky. Shortly after we graduated from college, Mrs. Unfocused (then the Unfocused Girlfriend) and I took a trip to Louisville for a few days. We were going through a bit of a rough patch, as unemployed recent college grads can, and decided that a weekend away together was what we needed. Unfortunately, neither of us knew how to drive, so it had to be somewhere we could get to relatively quickly by train or bus (since we also did not have enough money for plane tickets).

We worked off of an old copy of Let’s Go America, and finally decided on Louisville. We took an overnight Greyhound bus (an experience in itself, which I would not care to repeat), and spent a wonderful few days seeing Louisville on foot and by bus.  If were to go back, this time with our own car and the kids, I’m not sure what we would do differently.  We would take them to Churchill Downs, and Colonel Sanders’s grave, and whatever else there is to see, like this, but best of all would be the chance for Mrs. Unfocused and me to revisit the place where, 17 years ago, we decided we had to make things work, and set the foundation our marriage four years later.  And to get another Churchill Downs Kentucky Derby mint julep glass to replace the one Unfocused Junior broke a couple of years ago.

That’s enough lollygagging for me.  I’ve got work to do, the Family Tae Kwon Do class (if no one’s sick this week) and then maybe a little time for Meet the Larssons. Have a good, long weekend, and if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to check out the February Blog Chain.

Sitting in the author chair after a long absence

Between 11:30pm on Wednesday night and this evening, the draft of Meet the Larssons grew by precisely zero words. I had day job obligations, and my mother came out for a long-awaited visit over the weekend, and then I had more work to do and packing for a business trip. This evening, though, I’m stuck in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere. I had dinner with a colleague, then I puttered around in the room for a while, but finally I couldn’t avoid it any more and sat down in front of my office (Windows, bleah) laptop, opened up the file containing Chapter 10 which I exported from Scrivener before I left, and started typing.

I typed a paragraph.

God, hotel rooms make me nuts. They’re so confining. There’s nowhere to pace. I can never sleep in hotel rooms. Apparently, I can’t concentrate worth a damn, either.

I needed music. My iPod is running low on juice, and I have no good music on my office computer, so I clicked on one of Yahoo! Music’s free Internet radio stations.

I checked my email. I got up to use the bathroom. I typed another paragraph. I went down to the lobby, got change, and bought a Diet Pepsi from the vending machine. I hate Diet Pepsi. I went back to my room.

I decided that I hated the music on the Internet radio station. I opened up iTunes. No good music.

I went to the iTunes store and bought an album I once listened to on permanent replay 18 hours a day for 10 days straight in my room while studying for Winter Quarter law school exams my second year, scaring the hell out of my roommates, so much so that they had a talk with Mrs. Unfocused (then known as the Unfocused Fiancee), which has to be a violation of the Code of Guys. She didn’t say anything until exams were over, for which I was profoundly grateful, but it was clear that I would be watched for signs of imminent psychotic breakdown until I got rid of the CD. Since I had actually borrowed it from a friend, I simply returned it after exams, and haven’t listened to it since.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I started playing the album. I felt less restless. I typed another three pages. Much better. I may have appeared a little deranged that exam period, but I was very, very productive.

All told, this evening I packed in another 1,037 words. For a few minutes there, though, I was a little concerned that coming back to the book after a few days off was going to be a problem. Apparently, a little familiar music — linked to a period when I sat in a small room for hours on end without leaving my chair — was all I needed.

If you’re in room 411 or room 415 and you can hear my music, though, I apologize. I’ll try to write without it tomorrow.