Little did I know that this summer would see me driving across the continental U.S. twice. First, was the family get together in Kitty Hawk, NC in early June and now the trip to drop my daughter off at college in Portland, OR. All together I will have driven across the continental U.S. twice with a little to spare since I left from Dallas, TX each time.
This all started when my daughter was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, OR which covers half of her tuition for the entire four years she attends. This was a great help since it seems that the cost of college has doubled since I started saving for hers years ago. And the fact that my daughter applied and got the scholarship all on her own merit, told me that if she didn’t go to school at PNCA, she’d never make it through college. Trust me, she is so much like me in this department that if I had said no, she would have dropped out just like I did 24 years ago after I agreed to go to a local community college instead of the university like I really wanted to.
We spent the last week going through her stuff and packing what she needed and loaded the Cadillac and headed out at 6 AM Friday morning the 22nd of August. We arrived in Denver, CO at 7 PM after spending 14 hours on the road and driving 800 miles via Oklahoma and Kansas. Luckily my daughter’s old English teacher and her husband were kind enough to let us stay with them for the evening. It was great talking with them and really was nice to relax after all of that driving.
Saturday morning we left Denver at 9 AM and spent another 14 hours and 800 miles driving to Caldwell, ID to end our second day of the trip. Needless to say I was so tired I crashed as soon as we got to the room and was not looking forward to the last leg of the trip into Portland the following day.
Sunday morning we got up early and was back on the road at 8:30 AM. This last 7 hours of the trip had to be the most scenic of the entire 2000 miles. I don’t know why, but as soon as we got north of Oklahoma city it became desolate and pretty much all you could see was rolling prairies in all directions. Even as we got into Colorado and Wyoming, I was expecting to see a lot of mountains but no, just more grasslands. I at least know where all of the urban sprawl can migrate to when Texas over runs with people, all we need to do is sprawl west, sprawl west. There is plenty of room for everyone.
We finally arrived at my daughter’s apartment complex in downtown Portland at 2 PM and spent the next hour and a half lugging her worldly possessions to the 4th floor and down a long corridor to her apartment that she is sharing with three other students. I was so happy she had coordinated the essentials with her roommates keeping her load down to just a few boxes and a few things that everyone would share. I saw fathers and mothers backing up U-Hauls and Pickup trucks loaded with so much stuff you’d thought they were furnishing a real apartment and not a college dorm room. I wondered how good their health plans were, because a couple of the parents looked so out of breath and red in the face that I thought we’d have to call an ambulance or two to tend to them.
With that done, I gave her a big hug and left to crash at the hotel for the night. On the way there I finally knew how the couple from the movie Born Free felt when they released their little cub back into the wilds of Africa, except a few minutes later I realized in shock I had just released my daughter into the wilds of college life in the downtown area of a city half a continent away!
Now everyone that knows my daughter also knows that she is a responsible, intelligent person and should be just fine at college. But, I’ll always be looking to the west hoping she’s doing okay and enjoying one of the greatest adventures she’ll have in her life.
Good Luck Bubba, Don’t forget to call once in a while so I can tease you.