I FOUND THIS ON THE VERY TOP SHELF OF MY CLOSET TODAY.
I made it when I was 18 or 19 years old.
It’s a cover for a road atlas.
I actually went to a leather store, purchased a piece of leather, cut it, and attempted to tool it with my own two hands to add these decorative touches.
My husband Kelly, loves to make fun of this road atlas. Whenever we’re on a vacation somewhere and we have even the slightest question as to our whereabouts, he’ll say (with a grin), “OH! If only we had ‘Live Free’ with us!”
He gets a little too much joy from saying that, I think.
When I made it, I was so very much into taking road trips.
MY FRIENDS AND I USED TO DO THE OLD CLOSE-YOUR-EYES-AND-POINT-AT-THE-MAP THING TO DECIDE ON OUR DESTINATION.
Sometimes we had a reason for the trip; like the Lollapalooza tour in Tempe, Arizona, or, the U2 concert in Denver. Man, I cried at that concert like some kind of crazed Beatles fan.
Many adventures in travel and sleeping in the back of my truck on the side of the road happened in those days. But today, I want to tell you a post-wedding traveling story.
We had been married for about a year, and we decided to go on a trip to Los Angeles. I insisted we have a theme for our trip, you know, to spice things up a bit. I considered the idea of us pretending we were Brittish, but eventually decided on a “just the essentials” trip; meaning that you could only take with you what you could fit in your school-size backpack.
WE WERE TO USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND SLEEP IN THE CHEAPEST OF MOTELS.
We flew there and soon after landing, we realized that L.A. is very spread out and that taxi cabs would be way too expensive and riding the bus would waste too much time. We adjusted our plans and decided to rent a car. The cheapest car, of course, which turned out to be a Geo Metro. We would sleep in the car since we couldn’t afford both a motel room and a rental car. (did I mention that Kelly is 6′ 4″…he couldn’t even drive that car without tilting his head sideways, let alone sleep in it!)
The first day there was probably fun, I don’t really remember. What I do remember was that first night. We parked our car somewhere near the beach. We used our towels as blankets and our backpacks as pillows reclined the Metro seats all the way back and said goodnight.
All through the night, I kept hearing strange sounds and I was really getting freaked out. I would pop my head up and look out the window just like a dog does, and then poke Kelly and say, “Did you hear that? What was that?!” I wasn’t getting any sleep. One of the times I sat up to see what was making a sound, I saw this homeless dude coming right toward us, and I don’t know why, but it scared the crap out of me. Maybe he is on drugs? Armed? Mentally ill?
I SHOOK MY HUSBAND TO WAKE HIM UP, “KELLY, KELLY THERE’S SOMEONE COMING! DRIVE! DRIVE! DRIVE!”
so he sits up in a hurry, flips his seat into driving position and starts to drive blindly across the parking lot, because his contacts are out and he can’t see anything without them, not to mention that it’s dark and he has been asleep. He kept asking me where to turn and if he was going to hit buildings or other cars. I was just so hysterical I kept yelling, “Shut up and drive!”
When we finally escaped the hobo and were a safe distance from the area, we stopped. Kelly put in his contacts and we drove around to find a better place to sleep.
We found a nice neighborhood where we felt sure there was no danger to find. We woke up early the next morning to the sound of voices. We both sat up to see a very respectable looking woman kissing her husband goodbye through the window of his car which was in the driveway of the house we were parked in front of. They were staring at us…probably wondering who we were and why we were asleep in a crappy rental car in front of their home.
Too tired to care, we both just laid back down and tried to get some sleep. We fully expected to be awakened by police, but luck was on our side that morning.
Needless to say, we coughed up some cash for a motel room the next night. Kelly was hesitant to go along with any more of my brilliant travel themes from that point on, but I’ll tell ya, we were laughing about that for a long time after the trip was over.