Ease on Down the Road (Day Five–the Home Stretch)

Got started at 5 a.m. Monday because I knew I had a medical procedure sometime that day in Iowa City and couldn’t remember what time I’d set the appointment. I also really wanted to avoid the morning rush hour in Indianapolis that, combined with all of the eternally ongoing road construction, was a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

Made excellent time through Indiana and Illinois. Reached Iowa City at 10:30 (got an hour back crossing into Illinois). Called the hospital and learned I had nearly three hours before my appointment, so I spent the time getting both me and the RB cleaned up and then had some lunch. At the appointment, the doctor told me that while the growth on my face appeared benign, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to remove it. So, after a shot of Novocaine, the doctor took less than 30 seconds to do the deed. Awaiting confirmation of his diagnosis from the pathologist next week.

Had a voice lesson right afterwards. If–at this point–you are still questioning my sanity, you should question it no further. I have, indeed, lost it!! I stood in my voice teacher’s studio and sang the Rachmaninoff Vocalise!!! Only my teacher can tell you how good–or bad–it was, and I will accede to his assessment.

The final 60-mile stretch of the drive home was pretty uneventful. It was an appropriate coincidence that the playlist I’d created for the trip had finally cycled through to the end. So, I was able to end as I’d began–with Chicago shaking the RB’s windows!!

Once I got into town, I was too hyper to go directly home, so I decided to take in the newly released Harry Potter movie, the final one in series. How I stayed awake through the whole thing is an unknown to me. In fact, I’m only more surprised that I managed to get up Tuesday morning and make it to work by 8:15!! (Note: I paid the price for it on Wednesday, though.)

This is the route: http://mapq.st/osrn1L.

day13map

When I pulled into my driveway at 8:55 p.m. Monday night, RB’s trip mileage read 5789.9 miles since I’d left on this thirteen-day adventure to Canada. A lot of highs, a few lows, but overall a trip I’m thankful to have made and filled with memories I want to keep always.


I realized that I neglected a couple of critical parts of my journey. First, I need to acknowledge the musicians and their songs that helped me focus on my driving throughout my journey. So, I’m going back and posting links to a song that I recall most strongly from each day’s playlist.

This day’s song is Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” I am a huge fan of The Bodyguard, so there was no question that there was an obsession session on this song.

Most importantly, of course, I thank the Lord for granting me the stamina to make the trip, the damn good reflexes to steer the RB as she needed to be guided, and the ability to enjoy His handiwork as it whizzed by my windshield.

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Ease on Down the Road (Day 4)

Nearly bit off more than I could chew today. I’d spent several hours in the gracious company of Eugene Simpson, with whom I discussed several research approaches to Hall Johnson’s compositional philosophy and ways I should prepare for a much more extended visit and study of the Johnson collection. I then visited and got a tour of the home of my host daughter, Tianhan. We went out for an enjoyable dinner of shrimp (me) and grilled octopus (Tianhan) at an uptown restaurant in Philadelphia. (BTW, if you know of a dignified way to eat corn-on-the-cob and take the head off of shrimp, please let me know.)

I am so proud of how well she is adapting to her new surroundings, which are so very different than Iowa. Since she’s now graduated from the college, I guess I’m not technically her host mother any more, but I hate giving up the status. So for now, she’s stuck with it. She knows, however, that she has a family here.

Then, I drove to my sister’s home in Maryland, arriving just after midnight Sunday morning. My brothers had tried to stay around until my arrival, but it was so late when I finally arrived. However, my mother stayed up because her baby was still on the road (hey, some things never change), so I got to talk with her and my sister a little before they, too, headed to bed. I passed out in my guest abode very shortly thereafter.

We had breakfast together after I indulged myself by not arising until around 10 a.m. I shared a lunch break with one of my brothers–he works on Sundays–and visited another brother and his family immediately afterwards. Since I’ve been living in Iowa for six years now, I found myself again amazed how much my nieces and nephews have grown. At least they are old enough this time not to need another introduction to their Aunt Randye, as used to be necessary when they were young and I was in school in Florida. So we mainly spent the time playing catch up.

I’d planned to meet a friend in Columbus, Ohio, so I finally got up to go just before 3 p.m. However, as I was leaving, I made the decision to have the RB’s oil changed. She’d already run over 4,000 miles since the oil change she’d gotten before the trip started. I didn’t want to chance another 1,000 miles without this necessary preventative maintenance.

It was 4 p.m. before she was ready and I could finally head out. Made a final stop by Bojangles and got a supply of ham biscuits–they freeze and defrost very nicely, and I get to have a taste of the South well after I return to Iowa. Fortunately, my side of the road was fairly clear. The other side was overwhelmed with people returning to the DC area. Wonder if some of them aren’t still sitting on 270.

As usual, I enjoyed the drive through the mountains between Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Both the sites and the curves. And this route avoids all the turnpikes.

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Made it to suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, in time for a very late (we barely beat the 11 p.m. kitchen closing) dinner at a local restaurant. My friend and I shared some of our mutual joys and agonies of trying to be musicians in a world where it’s so hard to make a living as one. After we closed the restaurant, I made it in the RB as far as the Ohio-Indiana state line before I had to call it a night.

This is the route: http://mapq.st/qYRvYP

day12map


I realized that I neglected a couple of critical parts of my journey. First, I need to acknowledge the musicians and their songs that helped me focus on my driving throughout my journey. So, I’m going back and posting links to a song that I recall most strongly from each day’s playlist.

This day’s song is Isaac Hayes’s “Walk on By.” Since this song is twelve minutes long, it only takes a couple of plays to make an obsession session.

Most importantly, of course, I thank the Lord for granting me the stamina to make the trip, the damn good reflexes to steer the RB as she needed to be guided, and the ability to enjoy His handiwork as it whizzed by my windshield.