MyHusbandTheEngineer is great fun to travel with, and so considerate. He planned this trip to Rendezvous, in Madras, Oregon, to coincide with his birthday so I wouldn’t have to bake a cake. I mentioned the birthday at every restaurant we stopped at, but Subways don’t serve free desserts.
So, 1,076 miles (round trip) in the green car and a convention require a lot of clothes. To his credit, MyHusbandTheEngineer did install a luggage rack for this trip. Which, he informed me, would not hold all my luggage. Then I recalled that he had once mentioned that rolling clothes into a tube keeps them from wrinkling. It also makes them easier to squish into every cubic inch available—kind of renders an Austin Healey into a FedEx truck only not as speedy. Anticipating his objections, I repacked everything from 50-gallon garden leaf bags into 35-gallon ones.
“Now you show me how all those leaf bags won’t fit in the Healey. You’re resourceful; you crammed air conditioning in,” I reminded him.
“I’ll see if there’s more room under the hood,” he replied, and knowing how clever my husband is, I wasn’t worried.
“Orrrrr, we could do like the French with their little elevators; the luggage goes first and then the passenger rides up after. You can drive my stuff to Oregon and then come back for me. Sweetheart, it has to work.”
My next challenge: readying the house and the poodles for our absence. Three pages of typewritten notes for “Aunt” Susie’s first overnighter. Some were for my pet bromeliad, and if you think poodles are fussy… I watched her closely during our 90-minute indoctrination and vowed not to call home.
I get extra points for going on these lonnnnng trips in the green car, and as we’re driving along I consider redeeming them on a trip to India. The fact that Rendezvous is in Madras, Oregon invites this line of thinking. The Madras indigenes pronounce it mad-rus vs. mah-drus (and don’t you forget it), but I’m not drawing any conclusions from that. I thought I should do a little more research, though, about what besides bazaars and clothes and jewelry we’d run into in India so we’d be ready for all that serendipity when it happens. My husband was mute on the issue, so I kept my research to myself.
There’s not a lot to do on Highway 5 but observe. I observed a lot of signs for Fossil Beds, which turned out not to be retirement communities. We were passed by motorcycles (and VW buses and cyclists), which made me grateful that I didn’t have to haul my leaf bags on the back of a Harley. We stopped for gas, which reminded me that we should have confirmed our reservations at Quality Inn so that we wouldn’t have to shower and eat breakfast at a Shell station. By the time we arrived in Madras, I was very grateful.
Listen, these conferences are not all fun and games unless you’re the Healey owner. It’s the responsibility of the significant other to arrange wine. Especially for the Golden Gate Club, which, as everyone knows, is a wine club with a driving problem.
I love entertaining when someone else makes the food and pulls their place together. “Social director” is right up my alley. My first faulty assumption was that since the Black Bear Diner in Redding, California, serves wine, they all do. The waitress was very sweet when we did a mass exodus out of the Madras Black Bear Diner. “It happens all the time,” she said.
Of the eight Madras restaurants I found on my phone, three were out of business, three didn’t serve wine, one wasn’t sure, and one said they served beer before the phone went dead. I think social director should be a paid position.
The second challenge was, since we’d found the possibly only restaurant in Madras that served wine, and the club may tire of the same restaurant night after night, what were we to do? That’s where the cars came in handy—as distractions from the “temperate” climate of Madras. And I was able to soberly approach my India research.
I began by talking to Loren and Diana Parks, who are still married decades after spending the first two years of their wedded life as Peace Corps volunteers in the back country of India. I didn’t ask how their stay compared to National Geographic’s 11-day, $12,500 Orient Express version, which is pretty much moot since I learned India is predominantly a beer- and spirits- drinking country.
I missed the poodles—we should get a travel-size dog, like that Gigi a couple brought along. The problem with that is that we already had two poodles at home waiting for us. So on day three I caved and called. The big one jumped the little one and the vet put her on aspirin. I was so darned mad at that poodle dog I didn’t call him for the rest of the trip.
Yes, we will Rendezvous again, and it’s never too soon to start planning. The next one will be in Lake Chelan, Washington (June, 2019), which will require a-lot-more-clothes. Perhaps a trailer, which would have come in handy in Oregon where there’s no sales tax. Furthermore, there may be a rocker cover contest; an intense discussion ensues. Ms. Sparkle. Is. Going.
MyHusbandTheEngineer: We don’t have room for a trailer.
Me: We don’t have enough room not to have a trailer, dear. I already figured out where to store it—on the side of the garage. Aren’t you glad I’m so into this? An open-bed hauler that we can cover with a tarp, which you can put the club logo on, vs. Ms. Sparkle’s picture.
MHTE: You know they don’t make the size you’ll want. I’ll have to buy the base, build the sides, and wire it for signal lights.
Me: “Oh, Sweetie, that sounds like so much work do you really want to do that the answer is yes.”
Me: I’ll concede that and stipulate to “Chez Poodle Garage—Home of Ms. Sparkle Pink Poodle Racer” on the side.
MHTE: Stop! I can’t drink and drive.
On the drive home from Madras, having accumulated many, many more points, I had his full attention; we could discuss future trip plans. I will forfeit the trip to India in exchange for the trailer. I’m sure my husband saw the wisdom of this when at the border we’re asked, “Any fruit, vegetables, or produce?”
And I answered, “Nooo! Where would we put it?!