Road Trip Part III: Knowing the Lyrics

What awakened me was the ATV. This time it was a woman my age accompanied by four dogs. The dogs barked at me but the woman was friendly.
She was from Jackpot, camping with the grandkids. Several pickups with empty boat trailers had appeared in the gulley overnight. She listed the fish to be caught in the reservoir. Salmon was not among them.
When I thought the conversation had played out, I followed her gaze to the cliff above my Uhaul truck. Early sunlight caught a square, unnatural shape. She pointed to it and said “that’s where the kids spread their grampa’s ashes yesterday.”

That’s when I noticed the woman’s eyes were gray. We had both just lost our fathers. We had spread their ashes on the same day. I knew she wouldn’t believe me so I didn’t tell her.
She had her hands in her pockets now. It was time to get rolling.

A couple hours south, I stumbled over the decision whether to park with the trucks at the restaurant in Wells or try to fit into a parking space. I chose the trucks.
As I stepped up the curb, something about the angle of the building reminded me this was where my husband had insisted we set a date to get married, 21 years ago. What kind of trip was this?
The desert treated me well because I had a lot on my mind. Or maybe because I kept the one radio station on. George Strait had me singing Amarillo by Morning

By the time I got to Reno I had been cured.

I followed the Donner party to the Central Valley listening now to “classic” rock, realizing I knew all the words.

By Maile

Maile Field is a writer living in Northern California. Born in Hawaii and raised in Montana, she earned her master of fine arts in nonfiction at George Mason University in Virginia. She encourages constructive criticism.