Sunday, January 18, 2009


Recently I have been told (by more than one person) that it is a shame I haven't named my car. Apparently, regardless of road trip, I need to name my car. Since I have had it for a year and a half without a name, I guess now is as good a time as any. Since it is going to be a pretty important fixture in my life for the next two months, it will be my friend. Someone (something) I seek solace in when I am bored and feel the urge to start discussing important topics with, like the weather. Something I seek refuge in when I am stuck in a blizzard or can’t make it to my next warm couch.

Instead of working on something that I needed to do for this trip, like say; packing, or laundry for instance, I spent an hour looking on “Best-of-Craigslist” while simultaneously tossing some names and best-of’s back and forth with my friend Desi. Just as a side note, you will be hearing a lot about her, she is my international secret keeper, writing inspiration guru and BB4L (ironically, I can’t explain this to people who don’t understand). We like to have our “chatting” time pretty much every day and we recently both decided to take adventures at the same time. She has been living in Ibiza for the last 2.5 years and will be in NYC for a few months while I travel the vast expanses of the country. I plan to get in a lot of quality time with her after my trip. I also plan on helping her land the “Best Job Ever” because I want her to be where I can call her.

So, we were tossing around ideas of car names and a few sounded good, but were some earthy hippy names. I have decided that “it” is a she. I will henceforth be referring to my car as “she” or “her” regularly. Because I drive a Subaru Wagon, I have been teased in the past about my choices in vehicles being lesbian cars, but that I have graduated to a professional, grown-up lesbian car. I am not a lesbian, nor do I condone the sort of stereotyping about ones sexual preference or choice in car. I don’t really think there is a direct correlation.

We also decided that you will need a good description of her, so that I can refer to things that have broken along the way, fallen off and are now since lost to the road, or so I can explain to you why she is starting to get a certain odor due to my lack of bathing and laundering. She is white and tan, has a few skylights for night-time stargazing. She has tan leather seats; that have seen a little wear and tear from me throwing skis and bikes in her trunk. She’s pretty high tech, thankfully she graces me with a CD player and pretty good speakers. She is also big enough in the back that I can put the backseats down and fully lay down comfortably. Before I got her, I had the pleasure of camping in the back of her cousin once at the base lodge parking area at Mt. Hood in Oregon with my friend Mike. It was only bad because it was 4° and we had to listen to the sound of snowplows almost driving into the car throughout the night. I will give you more detail of this story some other day; it is one that shouldn’t be forgotten and is actually one of the reasons I decided to buy her.

These were all important factors in deciding the logistics of her name. I had been retelling a story from a family trip to Arizona when I was in high school over the weekend and I started to think about it a lot while driving back to Boston. I was remembering how obsessed I was with Fleetwood Mac’s “The Dance” album. I’m pretty sure I listened to it non-stop for about 3 weeks and I think that I wore through the first layer of plastic on the CD.

As I was driving along Route 2 scanning through stations when Rheannon came on the. Instantly, and probably mostly to keep myself awake, I started to belt out the tune. I was pretty attached to that song during that trip, and since we were in a rental mini van, I didn't really name that car either. I can confidently say that that track on the disc still skips from overuse. I decided then, while holding an imaginary microphone to my mouth, that Rheannon was a very appropriate name for my little while Subee.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Before I even kick off the Epic All-American Road Trip, there are a few people I need to give some credit to, who have given me the courage to make it even possible. There will be another set of thank-yous at the end for everyone who put up with me, let me sleep on their couch, take a shower when I roll in smelling of road and dirt, and giving me food and good laughs. Without them, I probably wouldn't be doing this and getting to see the rest of you.

My mom. She’s pretty cool when she agrees with my wild harebrained ideas of adventure. Maybe it is because most of the time I am too busy being responsible, but also because in her day of mid twenties she was a pretty strong and spontaneous woman. I may have only been an egg then, but when I hear her stories about road trips with my dad, and the places they saw on their myriad trips across the country, I have a certain level of respect and desire to have done some of the stuff she has. I can only imagine that when she had only known my dad for 4 months before deciding to move to Colorado with him she must have been a little scared. But luckily for me it all worked out because they stayed together through some interesting vehicle stories, practically living in a school bus, driving a VW van across the country with a cracked engine block, and having two crazy kids along the ride, otherwise I wouldn’t have had such cool parents to make me realize that these things are what make you who you are, even if you are a little crazy.

Uncle Ben. For someone who isn’t actually a blood relative, he does a pretty good job as an uncle. He was along for a majority of my parents’ crazy adventures, and probably a main reason for some of them. A significant majority of my memories of family include him because he has always been “Uncle Ben.” Last week I was feeling a little blue about not having my Dad around to call for advice, or an ear to listen while I was freaking out about taking this trip. Luckily, I still live close enough to him that when I need someone to “stand in” for my Dad when I’m feeling the void that is his non-human presence, I can call on him to tell me a great story about motorcycles, bars and adventure. It reassured me that this trip is going to be a blast, that there is no need to be afraid, and that my dad will be along for the ride. Plus I got a lot of great suggestions where to eat and drink in New Orleans.

The Bank St. Crew. If I didn’t have them in my life the last two months, I don’t know where I’d be, and probably wouldn’t be taking this trip. Even though I should probably buy their winters worth of oil in repayment for letting me sleep there for a few weeks, they still think I should do this.

Luis. Because he said “Do what you think you should, but don’t make your decision based what other people want you to do.” The ‘anyone else’ category included him, because literally irregardless of the situation, he is my roommate and he still thinks I should go for it. In addition, he is going to take care of my belongings while I am away. Team DooDoo Butter will reconvene for Trivial Pursuit up on my return.

Kristine & Geoff. Letting me use the GPS so I don't or do get wildly lost and might possibly be able to find my way back to civilization. And for holding my beer making stuff while I am gone, and I am sure putting it to good use and keeping it well oiled. Sork.

Melissa, Desiree and Brenna. My friends who impart invaluable wisdom and advice when I call them and need help making decisions. Or in Desi’s case, keep her awake on AOL instant messenger because she lives in Spain and phone calls are pricey… but not for long (I’m keeping her here).

Brian Smeltz (my dad) of course. I am constantly consulting him in thought for major decisions in my life. I’m 87% sure that the decision I make would be the one he would support. And on that note I will leave you with these last two words to live by…

Forever Onward