From El Paso to Niagara Falls, US Route 62 passes through ten states and stretches over 2,200 miles. Signs for the route were a familiar sight in my youth — it runs just south of Massillon, Ohio, within a half-dozen miles of my childhood home.
When I left for college at Ohio State, I followed parts of Route 62 toward Columbus. After transferring to another school, I picked up the road in Canton, in Youngstown and in western Pennsylvania.
US 62 is less than a mile from the shop where Deb and I once worked in northeast Columbus. On our journey two years ago, we traced the route in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kentucky. It runs in front of our campground here in Arkansas.
Most recently, of course, we’ve worn a deep groove on US Route 62, logging thousands of miles between Harrison and Yellville. Twice we’ve ventured west to Berryville, often east to Mountain Home. And this same road passes less than two miles from our Home on The Mountain.
It seems that Route 62 has become a coincidental thread. In a way, and to invoke another metaphor, the road also bookends my American Life.
I notice this sort of thing.
This morning began pleasantly enough, damp but blessedly cool. When I walked outside, our site looked odd without that distinctive orange Wrangler sitting next to the SilverSilverado — it’s the first time since July that Mercy hasn’t been parked here at the campground.
Once I’d put power to the fifth-wheel and brought today’s truckload indoors, I had another job ahead of me. Though I’d flushed and sanitized the rig’s fresh-water tank a few weeks ago, as we got to the end of this latest fill we noticed an “off” smell, The water was coming out the taps an unappealing grayish-brown. We’d have to sanitize it again.
That’s not a big deal or at all concerning — often it takes two or more treatments to make things right. After adding two cups of chlorine bleach to the tank, I topped it off with clean water and let it set for an hour. This time, instead of using the low-point drains, I opened the tank drain and let all of the contents run out.
I drove up to Deb’s cousin’s place for another 55 gallons and re-filled the empty tank. Deb ran all of the fixtures to clear the lines. The treatment worked — our water now runs clean and odor-free.
Later, we unpacked and stowed the last (pretty much) of what we have to haul. The bathroom is set up. The fridge is stocked. The bed is made.
More than ever, it feels a lot like Home.
When we bring the dogs over tomorrow — not to visit but to stay — the bed of the truck will carry a mish-mash of stuff that didn’t fit any other stage of our plan. That happens with every move. Leftovers.
It’ll be interesting to see how Scout and Dipstick react to their new Home. Over the last several weeks, one day-trip at a time, Smudge has adapted nicely. I had a heart-to-heart with her today, and she told me that she’ll show her older siblings around and help them adjust.
Tomorrow we all take up residence on The Mountain.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.