Setting: Somewhere between here and there, plummeting South in a dark grey Toyota Camry.
Sunriver, Oregon to Lathrop, California
Cast of Characters
Mom (the mom, 61)
Rachel (the sister / daughter, 33)
Erica (the sister / daughter, 31)
Finnegan (Erica’s baby, 5 months)
6:54 (Rachel, picks scabs)
Mom: You’re going to have to stop.
6:55 Mom calls Benadryl, “Benadeen.”
6:56 Mom says a prayer for the road
6:57 (Rachel notices a hair on her chin)
Rachel: Dammit, does anyone have any tweezers? (no response)
Rachel: (answers own question) I do.. (realizes they are in the trunk. Picks at hair with fingers)
6:58 (Mom screams, startling everyone)
Erica: (realizing she isn’t slamming on the brakes) What?
Mom: I saw a roadkill.*
7:02 Erica: I’m gonna call the hotel and crack some skulls.
(baby Finn cries while she dials)
Erica: Oh, come on!
back story: there was some confusion on the amount of reservations made yesterday.
7:06 (Erica concludes phone call)
Mom: You should’ve gotten her name.
7:08 Erica: The temperature is great in the car.
Rachel: Something to write home about.
7:09 Mom: If anyone needs a tissue to pick their nose.. (while picking her nose with a tissue)
Erica: I don’t need no tissue. (tells an anecdote about the twins with a booger in the back of the car)
7:11 Erica: I’m gonna close my eyes ‘cause the baby’s asleep
Mom theorizes about the fog going through La Pine.
7:13 We all see a man at a stoplight intersection in official roadside gear sitting in a lawn chair and theorize why he’s there.
7:14 Rachel, indicating to small vase of flowers sitting on the center console to Mom: Aren’t you glad there are flowers here?
Mom: Yes, as long as I don’t knock them over.
7:15 They see what looks like a white rainbow-like arc and theorize if it’s a product of smoke, dust, or fog.
7:17 Mom: My headlights are on girls. That’s good. Headlights. (obviously seizing the time for a teaching moment)
7:18 They see another white rainbow-like arc.
Mom to Rachel: Look behind you at the sun.
Rachel: It’s too early (implying exertion it takes to look 180* while in a vehicle)
7:19 Rachel considers doing research on third-wave coffee-shops in the place of their destination but doesn’t.
7:20 They discuss roadside forest thinning practices to prevent forest fires.
7:21 Erica: Maybe Tyler will take Bob to get a good haircut.
backstory - Bob is Erica’s partner, Tyler is Rachel’s. The men will likely be spending time together during the trip.
The women in the car discuss Bob’s potential makeover.
7:24 Erica: I remember shaving his back. (referring to Dad)
Discussion about grooming ensues.
7:27 Rachel, recalls impulsively buying a dress last night. “I promised myself if I didn’t get out of bed to get my debit card I could have it.”
Erica tells a story about buying a “Mama” sweatshirt with a friend.**
7:30 Rachel plays a game on her phone, neglecting her minute-taking responsibilities.
7:47 Arrival into Gilchrist.
Mom: Temperature is 55* outside.
7:58 Rachel drives, abdicating note-taking responsibilities.
8:31 Stop for Erica to breast-feed Finn who is crying. Rachel examines roadside goldenrod which is shorter in the High Desert than the valley. She decides not to pick any. Byron texts Mom’s phone inquiring of location. 30 minutes to Klamath Falls. Mom makes a toy out of a satin-bag with coins. Erica misses an Office reference Rachel lobbed at her when she says “to a child’s imagination that’s Mr. Bag.”
9:28 Klamath Falls. Fills up gas using Mom’s card. Military planes overhead. Purchase refreshments. Clear skies.
Mom: I am always surprised to come to Klamath Falls and hear seagulls. We’re not even close to the ocean.
9:31 Erica contemplates buying liquor in California to get a better price.
9:34 Still at gas-station. Mom cleans windshield.
Mom: Getting them cat prints off actually (tongue-in-cheek comment intended for Rachel)
10:00 Cross into California from Oregon.
10:04 Dorris Produce Check-point (Mom’s note)
11:21 Stopped at Taco Bell in Weed, CA. Smooth drive.
Erica - three soft tacos and Baja Blast beverage.
Mom - chicken-bit cheese quesadilla.
Rachel eats rice-noodles and vegetables in the car brought from home. She uses the receipt code of the purchased items to apply a review online for the chance of winning $500.
Erica: If you win we're splitting it.
Stopped at Vista at Mt. Shasta. Small history of indigenous peoples at post. Land of the Shasta people, Okwanuchu, Northern Wintu, Takelma, Modoc, Klamath, Konomihu, Karuk, Hoopa, Tsnungwe, New River Shasta.
"The Gold Rush", a plaque reads “aggravated relationships with local tribes.”
11:46 Erica: We’re two-hours behind my schedule.
11:58 Erica is driving. There is some doubt from Mom about Erica's driving capabilities.
Rachel: I considered you the most competent driver. (pause) Did you take your pills?
Mom: I already asked.
Erica resumes the drive. Vetoes Mom and Rachel’s desire to wander aimlessly around a Grocery Outlet in Weed.
Rachel (in protest): It’s a different Grocery Outlet!
Mom: It might be a fancy one!
11:54 Erica: I want to learn how mile-markers work. (when asked if she has any goals for this trip)
11:59 They play "Desert Island Films"
Rachel - Amelie, Royal Tenenbaums, and “something in Spanish”
Erica - A Star is Born, Crazy Stupid Love, and Goodwill Hunting
Mom - Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, “that movie” (which she details the entire plot of without knowing the name - sounds like a Lifetime Original), and “a Meg Ryan movie”
12:05 Erica: Let’s play MFK
They choose Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, and Robin Williams
Mom wants something more relevant to her generation, and suggests “Elvis, Clooney, and Swayze.” Erica muses what kind of social pariah should would become if she murdered Robin Williams. Game disbands without any real conclusions.
12:21 They discuss the virtues and vices of picking scabs.
12:22 Rachel has Tracy Chapman stuck in her head.
12:23 95*, road conditions fair
12:50 Rachel: Are we there yet?
google estimate - 201 mile - 3 hours 10 minutes
12:57 Erica: (still obviously thinking about the prospect of buying cheap liquor in California) What if you had a store and you called it Liquor Hole (chuckles to self at perverted joke)
13:17 Erica: Are we there yet?
13:18 Mom feeds Finn bananas, carrots, and sweet potato puree.
13:40 They stop for a rest In Jefferson State. Rachel orders burger with fries at a place called Big Burger. $9 for burger and fries + tax. Pretty good deal.
Mom: I thought you ate?
Rachel: I needed protein
14:01 Back in the car. Mom is driving. Everyone discusses feeling a heat/car-induced madness.
Rachel: It’s from all the vibrating and not being in a place that’s quiet.
14:31 All is well. Erica is sleeping. Finn is sleeping. They spoke earlier of work gossip, Erica giving character background to people she likes and dislikes. 2-hours estimated to go. Approaching Sacramento.
14:32 Mom: Thinking it would be nice to have a fruit stand (when asked by Rachel what she was thinking)
14:33 Mom recalls a story about Talitha’s love of lemons.
14:48 Mom: (to Rachel) Do you want a sucker?
Mom, veers into the bike lane using her good hand to get into the center console. Rachel retrieves a Ricola from the center console and hands it to her.
Mom: Not that one (finds another sucker and pops it in her mouth) I’ve been having dry-mouth and was advised to suck on sugar-free candy.
Rachel: Why do you think that is?
Mom: Maybe my saliva glands aren’t working.
14:52 Erica: Are we there yet?
14:53 Ambulance passes creating a wake of cars with some taking advantage of the ambulance to follow directly behind as everyone careens into the bike lane. Everyone in the car is disgusted at this.
15:05 Mom: Are we there yet?
15:17 Erica: Probably want a clean butt, don’t you? (talking to a crying Finn while entertaining him with a coin-satchel which is not working)
15:28 Review of the minutes. *Mom wishes to clarify that there was an animal crossing the road that she ran over when she screamed, not just the sight of roadkill. **Erica clarifies the story about getting the sweatshirt with “Mama” on it and that her friend purchased it for her when she declared she like it.
15:46 Mom tells a story of her and her sister Mandy as boy-chasing teenagers. She had gone on a date with a guy while Mandy had to stay at home and as a gift “he made me a watercolor of some mountains and maybe a bird going through it and he signed it ‘Toomy,’ so I remembered his name.”
Rachel: Mandy must’ve been so pissed (because Mandy was left at the house).
Mom: She was.
15:50 (thump outside of car)
Rachel: What was that!?
Erica is also mildly concerned.
Mom ignores it and continues her story but then later says, “sometimes it does that. I don’t know why.”
15:52 Erica, reading directions to the hotel: Take a left on 462.
16:00 Rachel: is this a piece of your tooth!? (indicating to broken piece of something in the center console)
Mom: It’s actually a piece of a crown.
16:08 Mom parks the car at a dairy compound that looks abandoned save for the smell of nearby cows, steps out, and immediately pees leaning against the car for support. Rachel picks a bouquet of flowers, takes a picture and sends it to Tyler. Erica breast-feeds Finn.
17:00 Arrival at the Hampton Inn & Suites.