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