Roadtrip Report Number 1

We’re off! After weeks of planning, January and I hit the road yesterday on our big California adventure. Getting to that point, however, wasn’t without its excitement. Murphy’s Law almost dealt us a deathblow on Saturday when the “check engine” light reared its ugly head. We took the car into the shop, hoping for a report that it was just low wiper fluid or something equally trivial. What we got was the other end of that spectrum: a $1200 estimate that would take two days to complete. After changing into sackloth and ashes, January and I discussed our options: put the trip off for a few days so we could get the car fixed, or put off the repair and take our second car — our 21 mpg Lincoln Continental. Around this time, the mechanic called back with word that it may not be what he expected and that a $300 repair job may be all that it needed. We authorized the repair and later that evening, we were back on track.

Sunday evening, we packed up the Buick with our clothes, technology and puppy and started out. We weren’t quite sure how Gus would respond to a cross country road trip, but so far he has been surprisingly great. For the most part, he just sits in the back seat looking longingly out the window; In Indiana it was the vast, empty fields that captivated him and by the time we hit Missouri he was equally entranced with the lights of the passing cars. Neither of these, however, remotely compared to the intensity with which he gazed longingly at the cows in Oklahoma. We could see the years of repressed instinct begin to kick in as he thought about all the different ways he would love to herd all that cattle, all while whimpering every so slightly.

After 17 total hours of driving to this point, there’s not much else to report; I’m a little tired of listening to January’s top-40, I’m sure she’d be happy if she never had to listen to a Mountain Goats song again, and Gus just wants to know what in the world is going on. By nightfall, we should find ourselves in Albuquerque where we are staying with a friend of January’s. Then, tomorrow morning, we’ll start again on the last leg of our trip. Check out the main Team Soell page at for some pictures we’ve taken along the way.