Chap­ter 4: A Solo Road Trip


Char­lene is back to her work and stud­ies plus visit­ing with friends. I am get­ting more anx­ious and frus­trated about find­ing a new home. So, off I go, on my own to take a 5,000-mile road trip without Char­lene, Bitty Bob or the Red Chili Pep­per. I’m off to check out a few home op­tion ar­eas, see some old friends (re­ally not that old), check out a crys­tal mine and re­trieve a few items from our stor­age units back in Taos.

My, oh my, what a long trip it was. It in­cluded way too many trucks, heavy traf­fic and stalled traf­fic due to road con­struc­tion and ac­ci­dents.

Still, I greatly en­joyed lis­ten­ing to a cou­ple of au­di­ble books, a mix of great and mean­ing­ful mu­sic, “fake” and not news events, a cou­ple of Yan­kees ball games and most of all the beauty and calm of Mother Na­ture and her amaz­ing sounds of si­lence.

What I loved: A re­oc­cur­ring event was see­ing fawns with does, and now and then, a buck. On one side road, I re­ally thought a fawn was guid­ing me down the road. Far­ther down that par­tic­u­lar road the GPS had me turn onto a road that be­came tiny, steep and al­most not driv­able. Thank good­ness, I have four-wheel drive and could turn around and find an­other route. The un­in­tended off-road trek had gor­geous scenery, even some moun­tains.

Not so loved: Three days that in­cluded many miles through parts of Arkansas, Ok­la­homa and Texas with 111 de­grees tem­per­a­tures. Gram, my car, just kept truck­ing on.

Here are some high­lights of the road trip: • Aiken, South Carolina –

As I was wait­ing for my ap­point­ment with a real es­tate bro­ker, I walked some of the his­toric streets to find a long string of creative, friendly and wel­com­ing shops where I did a bit of shop­ping, dessert-ing (ice cream) and talk­ing with res­i­dents about the town. A fun time and place. Caleb, the bro­ker showed me a cou­ple of homes, and then we had lunch where I found out his pre­vi­ous pro­fes­sion was be­ing a pro­fes­sional base­ball pitcher. Dur­ing my Lit­tle League and Babe Ruth League younger years, one of my po­si­tions was pitcher. We had some great sto­ries to share about grow­ing up. • Near Abbeville, South Carolina, a civil war town, I

saw a small brown sign with an ar­row point­ing to the right, that said “Mas­sacre Graves.” I called Chase, the bro­ker I was go­ing to see next. He did some re­search to find it was graves of a bat­tle be­tween the Chero­kee and some set­tlers in 1760. This was a strong na­ture-hu­man con­nec­tion for me as I was driv­ing in the area, know­ing that many souls were still in need of heal­ing even to­day. (Civil War and Trail of Tears and more.) • Weg­ner Quartz Crys­tal

Mines, Mt. Ida, Arkansas – The mines were closed due to the heat, but the shop was un­for­tu­nately open. I bought some beau­ti­ful crys­tals and gems.

• El­li­jay, Ge­or­gia – a small vi­brant town near moun­tains. They have many com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives to serve the area, the en­vi­ron­ment and the health of lo­cal and global hu­man­ity. It is a top con­tender for a choice com­mu­nity.

• My Taos visit: It was a bit­ter­sweet few days be­ing home, but not home. It was great to visit with some of you, to play some ten­nis and soak up the dry cli­mate. I did find most of the items in our stor­age units, which we needed back in Florida. Plus a few ex­tra too.

• Speak­ing of bit­ter­sweet. While on the trip, Char­lene called me with the news that our house in Florida, where she had lived for 16 years be­fore mov­ing to Taos, was un­der con­tract. The house has been on the mar­ket for three years and now about to be sold.

For Char­lene, this has been her sanc­tu­ary of soul, more than “home sweet home.” At this very point, we are equally feel­ing a loss of home and mov­ing into the un­known: where will we find our new home?

• On the last day, be­fore ar­riv­ing here in our Florida home, I did see a prop­erty with a lot of po­ten­tial in Mon­ti­cello, Florida, near Tal­la­has­see. Char­lene and I will re­turn there in a few days to both check it out. And then we con­tinue our trav­els to at­tend a fam­ily wed­ding re­cep­tion in New Jer­sey, a visit with my sons in Delaware and con­tinue our home-hunt­ing jour­ney into to­mor­row. Ad­den­dum by Char­lene: This jour­ney has be­come a time of defin­ing home, both as an ex­te­rior struc­ture and of two peo­ple try­ing to make their per­sonal body and ge­og­ra­phy needs match. It is a time of de­ter­min­ing the im­por­tance of com­mu­nity and work en­vi­ron­ments as well as the soul­ful feel of an area. Now that Bernie and I both de­fine our­selves, as part­ners and in­di­vid­u­als, as home­less, the road ahead be­comes not only more im­por­tant, but more wide open, more about us cre­at­ing who we are sep­a­rately and to­gether. It has al­ready had pot­holes; it has al­ready had the joy of dis­cov­ery. Home Sweet Home has taken on new mean­ing.

Bernie Lin­nartz is a for­mer long-time busi­ness colum­nist for The Taos News. Char­lene John­son wrote the Es­o­teric Astrol­ogy for The Taos News and was a mem­ber of the New Mex­ico Na­tive Plant So­ci­ety Taos Chap­ter.

Char­lene John­son

Bernie Lin­nartz en­joys a big brew dur­ing a stop on a road trip around the Caroli­nas. Hunt­ing for a new home takes for­mer Taoseños John­son and Lin­nartz through some in­ter­est­ing towns and a few ad­ven­tures.

Char­lene John­son

Bitty Bob re­laxes in his Florida pad af­ter a 1,700 mile cross­coun­try trip from Taos.

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