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Road trip ahead

Ready or not, my husband and I are about to undertake our first post-pandemic road trip.

It’s a four-day, three-night venture with long-held friends. In our 37 years of marriage, we’ve never traveled with another couple. I look forward to it as a later-in-life growth experience with lots of laughter and a few unexpected revelations.

That said, we have not left yet. As I compose this column, our bag (just one, as we are traveling four people in a single SUV, compact version) is open on our bed with piles of folded clothes next to it. Definitely more clothing items than will fit in that one bag. Uh-oh. We checked the projected weather again and found that it now requires sweaters and rain jackets instead of shorts and sandals.

In decades past, we went on weeks-long European excursions that I do not recall having this much exhaustive preparation. The first clue as to how this might play out was when my husband wanted to do a decision-making grid, ranking and rating possible Airbnb options in the eastern Oregon area we are visiting. That took several days to finalize, and the reservations were made only when our gracious travel companions bent to his preferences.

Another issue was Lucy. Travel preparations when you have an aging dog who is taking a lot of medications — a dog who has been in your lap much of the past year — are one of the biggest challenges. Taking Lucy with us was not an option. Think “car sick.” Think compact car with non-dog-owning fellow travelers.

Because we moved house and home mid-pandemic, Lucy’s beloved pet sitter is no longer available to us. I considered asking her (that would be the sitter) to drive three hours (one way) to stay with Lucy, but my husband vetoed that idea. This time there was no grid needed.

Our daughter and husband, who live nearby, agreed to add Lucy to their busy household, which already hosts a golden retriever who weights six times what Lucy does and has a tail that doubles as a weapon when wagging.

Yesterday, we piled all of Lucy’s paraphernalia into our car and transported the dog and her crate, bed, blankets, food, medications and favorite toys to her temporary home. Early reports are encouraging. Lucy’s snoring was not excessive last night — or so they said. Again, very gracious.

I am expecting there will be an exchange of value in that the retriever, whose name is Mochi (think Japanese ice cream treats), will stay with us at some future date and I am already considering which lamps I should remove from tail-wagging vicinity. But I digress.

We leave today. Ready or not.

A final word about this trip. All the “technology” that we are packing gives me pause. There’s our phones and their chargers and a car phone charger, my iPad, my husband’s Kindle, my hearing aid charger, his hearing aid batteries, my SMART watch, and its charger. I cannot envision going four days without most of those items … and, frankly, that thought and the dependency we have on them also gives me pause. Think power grid.

Sharon Johnson is a retired health educator. Reach her at sharjohn99@gmail.com.