Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Me

My photo
Mpls, MN, United States

Reading & Recently Read

Incidents & Accidents

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So a week ago Friday, I headed to Lincoln, Nebraska, for my first visit back since leaving in August of 2004. I lived in Lincoln on and off for five years,* the longest I've lived in one place since living with my parents in Auburn, where I spent six years.

It was my uncle Paul's idea. Most of the time I was in Lincoln, I lived with him and my aunt Teri, and stayed in their house even after they moved to Walla Walla. His business was having a 20-year anniversary celebration, and he suggested that I come out. At first I didn't think I could do it: school! my car! Heather's visit!

But then I realized that the timing was perfect--it was the weekend between my exams and Heather's visit, and I didn't have to be in class on Friday or Monday! In my head, it was a nine-hour drive, but when I actually looked it up, I discovered it was more like 6.5. I took the Bruise in for an oil change and check-up, and although it had some problems, the mechanics thought I could make it (especially as long as I didn't have to brake).

And then, Internets, I became seized with the joy of the road trip! My mom thinks this is genetic, and not from her side, but whatever the case, I was absolutely giddy to be on the open road, and of course to head back to Lincoln. We wanted to surprise Ter, so I couldn't post about it here, which was terribly trying, but we managed to pull off the surprise, so it was completely worth it.

I left Minneapolis on a beautiful Friday morning, which did, sadly, devolve into gross gray raininess about the time I hit Iowa. The drive was long, and tiring, and at the end I missed my exit and had to call Ellen to help me get to where I should be (which she did! I was so impressed!), but it was thrilling to be back in Lincoln, and especially to see Paul and a very surprised Ter. We met at one of our favorite Indian places in Lincoln; those of you who haven't been there may find this hard to believe, but Lincoln has really great ethnic food!

Actually, we did a lot of eating, all weekend. Saturday night I met up with Karen and Daniel at the Blue Orchid, and then Daniel and I went to Ivanna Cone (remember this dream?). Sunday, Paul and Teri and I went to a new place everyone was talking about, the Shadowbrook Salad Factory, for soup, salad, and gelato. Monday, Ter and I hit the Thai House, to this day one of my favorite restaurants ever, for lunch before I had to leave town. We also did both the downtown and the Prescott Mills, a couple of times. Oh, and hands-down the best part of ending up back in Lincoln Monday night was getting to visit Bread and Cup for dinner Tuesday (where, oddly enough, we ran into Ben!). I could write an entire entry devoted just to their pesto, let alone the entire dining experience, but let's just say it (and the swell jasper earrings Ter bought me) pretty much made up for my sadness at the reason I was back in Lincoln in the first place:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Bruise is dead.

I got as far as mile 66 on east I-80, which is about halfway between Council Bluffs and Des Moines--or the middle of nowhere--before my car died. To make a long story short, I called AAA and got towed back to Lincoln.** The next morning, my trusty local mechanic told me it was the transmission (our fingers had been crossed for CV joint, which the Mpls mechanics had noticed), and that he could put in a used one for $740. I think that's a really amazing price, but don't think I could have sold the entire car for that, even when it was running. It ran well, but according to the Mpls mechanics, desperately needed new brakes and was seeping various fluids, among other complaints--and was never any star in the looks department.

So, I rented a car and drove back to Minneapolis, arriving just hours before Heather flew in. We returned it the next morning at the airport, and now I'm car-less.

I am trying to be as genuinely thrilled about this new position as I wish I were. After all, I've hardly driven (with the exception of my teaching job last summer) since I moved here. I bike almost everywhere anyway, and this city has great public transportation. I sort of feel like I earned $750, with another $200 coming next month when my insurance would have been due--not to mention things like oil changes and mufflers and headlights and brakes and parking tickets and vehicle registration.

However, living as though you don't have a car, and actually not having one, are, needless to say, different in ways I'm only just beginning to fathom. I did laundry yesterday, and because I don't have a trailer or panniers yet, I stuffed everything into my big backpack and rode that way to the laundromat and back. It was suboptimal, to say the least.

In any case, it's a new adventure, which I suppose one has to embrace when one is disaster-prone. (You do realize that this is the second time I have been unable to leave Lincoln in my own vehicle? The last time I tried, when I moved to Bowling Green, the Popcan died, in Indiana. This time, I'm leaving the Bruise in Lincoln as a sacrifice to the automotive gods: I'm hoping this will be sufficient to grant me safe passage out of the state should I ever return to visit.)

It may be a while.

Oh, I almost forgot! Many (many) more pictures are here.

*I spent nine of those months in the Spokane area and another six in Florence
**It is true that you can sign up for AAA after you have a disaster, and they will still help you; they don't even charge more! In that way, it's delightfully unlike other aspects of real life.


Curly Sue said...

That's quite an adventure. I can sympathize with the simultaneous feelings of freedom and trepidation that accompany carlessness. But I can pretend that I have one b/c BNB has one. Lucky me.

And your story inspires me to get AAA. I always think of it when I don't need it.

Ellen said...

I love the Bread & Cup self-timer picture of you racing for your chair.

Angela said...

I'm so sad that I wasn't there to see you! Really! How I would have loved to run into you in any of those places. I could have made you coffee at the Mill. Maybe you saw my roommate Katie at Bread and Cup! Who knows? I'm glad for the post on Lincoln. I miss it.

quayf...isn't that a nasty sort of word?

Jeff said...

I love the backpack shot. We're trying to decide if we can go carless here. Laundry is one issue since we have to go a ways to the laundromat.

I just got a bike, so we're looking at a trailer for hauling laundry. It could work except in winter (MI lake-effect snow). We're told the snowplows submerge the already limited shoulders. A sled doesn't seem like a good solution for the terrain between here and there. Hmmm? Now you know.

Good luck with this little adventure!