Day Zero: Packing the Car

Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
Trip End Aug 02, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Do we have a backup plan?" my husband, Joe, asks.
"We don't need one," I answer blithely. "It will all fit."
"I'm just thinking. . ."
"We'll cross that bridge if we come to it. Let's see what happens." I drag another 3-foot-long duffel into the living room. Joe disappears with two earlier deliveries, equally large. He has been disappearing for as much as half an hour at a time, all day, attempting to wrestle a month's worth of living and camping gear into our Volkswagen Jetta, parked below the house in our cohousing community's lot.

I sneak over to the neighbors while the kids play outside. "Rosemary - just wondering," I begin sheepishly. "What are you doing around noon tomorrow? Any chance your minivan is free?" Rosemary says yes, she thinks it is, as long as we could have it back by around 1:30. "Just in case," I reassure her (and myself) hastily. "I'm sure we'll be fine. Joe just wants a backup plan in case we can't get all the luggage into our own car. Our friend will drive it to the train station and back for us."

I can't believe that we might have to start our low-carbon family trip in a minivan, but I refrain from mentioning this out loud. Two hours later, Joe announces that he has fit everything in, including three bike boxes tied to the roof. (They contain a total of only two bikes - our kid-toting xtracycle took up two boxes by itself.) "Except for the fiddles, and your backpack, and the food bag and cooler, of course," he adds. I tell him emphatically that I will put all of those items on my lap. Anything to get Diesel Annie (our 50 mpg occasionally-biodiesel-powered Jetta wagon) to do the job.

I go to bed musing on the first and second legs of our trip. As long as our friend Khiem shows up as scheduled, we'll make it to the train station fine. But we've been told (twice in fact) by Amtrak that they'll have to bus us from Springfield to Albany because of some work on the rails. Three hours on a bus for a trip that would take less than 2 by car. Part of me wishes we were just driving out - we could leave whenever we felt ready, make better time (at least at first), and stop anytime we wanted. I hope this train thing is worth it.
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