In 1971, we started our epic Camping Road Trip in Southern California. We wanted to see as much of the country as we could so we could pick our place to live. In our circumstance, the rat race of Southern California was just not going to cut it. (More on that later.)
We piled into my 1971 Metallic Blue Datsun 1200.
And when I say “piled” I mean enough stuff that in each campground people gathered to watch in awe as we unloaded and set up an elaborate outdoor domicile. By the end of our 4 months on the road, we were pretty impressive in our efficiency, both in setting up and breaking camp.
We drove up and down and back and forth across the southernmost United States so we could reach our goal of camping in every state. A few things stand out of course, like the Grand Canyon (though I was too sick to hike down to the bottom…more on that later also). We tried to find something unique wherever we stopped, you know, something only the locals would know about…like Chang Gonzalez’s Kosher German Deli in Blue Lake, New Mexico. Wait. I’ll let you digest that name…
On the Gulf Coast of the Deep South, we pulled into a classic KOA Campground in Biloxi, Mississippi. I remember us being exhausted that day and all we wanted was to set up camp, have a sandwich and a glass of wine, and hit the sack (or bag, as it were). Oh NO! Somehow, we had lost our wine corkscrew. This was not acceptable so we wandered out into the campground to see who looked like they might have one.
And there they were…Bill and Linda. To shorten a very long story (45 years worth, in fact) they had a corkscrew and they also had a flat in New York City, close to Columbia University where they were students. They were on the same quest as we were, camping across America to pick their place to live after college.
When I told Linda our trip would take us through New York City and we were excited to camp in their giant park (Central Park! What did I know??) she laughed and within minutes of knowing me, gave me the keys to their apartment so we would have a safer (more legal) place to stay in their city!
That was it! She just handed over her keys! When it is her turn to tell our story, Linda will say she knew she could trust me because I had already shared with her the fact that I was pregnant, and fairly proud of the fact that I had not felt the need to get married because of it.
After we each completed our months’ long searches to find our permanent homes, Bill and Linda chose Portland, Oregon to live in and we chose Seattle, a mere 3 hours away.
So Linda, the traditional girl from Ohio, student with her husband at Columbia, and Kathie, the Hippie Chick from San Diego, too “morning-sick” to climb down the Grand Canyon, in an instant, became fast friends for life. And we still are.
Linda has continued to “hand over her keys” to me for more than 45 years, to her house, her vacation homes, her psyche and her heart. And she has always made it safe for me to do the same! I could not have found a more perfect, lifelong best friend than my Linda.
Happy Birthday Linda! This post is dedicated to YOU for your love and patience and wisdom all these years!!
PS Your present is in the mail!!