This trip is unlike any other I've taken. I love the road -- and I love traveling alone, especially on the bike. I don't feel lonely when I travel alone. But I don't think I've ever felt more alone and lonely than on this trip. I think that it's because whenever I've traveled there's always been a place to go to and a place to come back to. This time there isn't either of those. It's not a ramble on the bike where I'm out for a few weeks and head back home, nor is it my winter in the desert -- going to a specific place that is familiar and somewhat home and knowing I'll be going back "home" in a few months. The Hummer is loaded to the gills and even the passenger seat is filled so I couldn't have anyone along even if I wanted to. I'm not going "home", I have no home. Quite literally I have no home. Nothing in Seattle, nothing in the desert. Nor do I have a place to go "to". Yes, I'm headed to a friends home in the desert where I'll stay while I'm looking for my own house, but it's not "home". I need to find a house and make it "home" and that will take some time.
This slower drive allows me plenty of time to think things like that. It seems that's all I'm doing. Staring down the road, thinking, wondering, worrying. I know I should feel excited about the prospects of building something in a new place, but I'm not. The hard reason for this change is solely financial. Living off savings, unable to draw my retirement for a few more years, and paying $35,000 a year (and going up with insane property taxes) for a home I'm in 6 months a year just doesn't make financial sense. Selling it at a peak time and buying in the desert with the profits and thus having no mortgage is the wise thing to do -- the adult thing to do. But it doesn't feel good.
The act of leaving behind a place I loved, a "home", and 27 years of friends is hard -- very hard. So as I crawl along I-5 I remember, I tear up, I cry some more and then I move on. I pass a place that brings back memories and they hurt. I drive on.
Two more days and I'll be in the desert. Two more days of drifting down California. It's a long long state. The mile marker at the border starts at 783 and ends at 0 on the Mexican border. But it's "home", or will be. I guess I'm now a Californian.