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Merri Travels

(Goodie) Bag Lady

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Friday October 12 2007


About ten years ago, I flew one way to Colorado to visit friends and relatives, with a one way train ticket back to Seattle. After the visit, my friends dropped me off in front of the Denver Amtrak station. Someone was getting unloaded from the car in front of us.

"OHMIGOD - CONNIE!" "OHMIGOD MERRI!" She was also taking the same train back to Seattle. We'd had no idea. And that was the first time I learned the technique of carrying Goodie bags of food with me. She'd come prepared against those Amtrak meals, which in those days were expensive and not so great. She had bags of Goodies - popcorn, fruits, veggies, crackers, soups (we bummed hot water off the kitchen), etc. That extra food came in very handy when our train was delayed 36 hours because of one of those common Amtrak winter delays in those days.

Second lesson on the Goodie Bags: doing spotted owl work with Connie. That work involved a lot of driving, and a lot of time spent waiting, much of it in the dark, all of which passed better with good CDs and bags of Goodies to munch on. When I rode in her truck with her, there was barely room for me to squeeze in around the maps and big Goodie bags. I outfitted my truck the same way: always a big Goodie Bag within reach. You never knew when you'd be stranded out in the Boonies for hours, or days, and the thought of being stranded without food was the most worrisome aspect of the whole, sometimes scary, job.

And being a Vagabond, and often living out of reach of big cities with cheap groceries, I tend to carry boxes or bags of food with me wherever I go, especially if I pass a Trader Joe's. Those of you in the West and Northwest know what I'm talking about.

When Connie came to Owyhee for the 5-day ride 2 weeks ago, I'd told her we lived out in the Boonies, far from a store (well - only 45 minutes). It triggered that Panic Alert in her, and she brought a big box of groceries, most from Trader Joe's, (that we never got through) with her. Since she immediately got addicted to endurance riding, and said she was coming right back for another visit, she stored the food here.

And she immediately bought a plane ticket back. And took orders for pick-ups from Trader Joe's. Seeing Steph and I are out in the Boonies, far away from a store (well - only 45 minutes), and very very far from a Trader Joe's, we gave Connie our special orders. We were kind of serious, but kind of joking, but when I picked Connie up at the airport last night, she was standing at the curb with FOUR bags (fly Southwest! They'll let you check 3 bags!) One of them, big enough to stuff a pony in, was full of food (and heavy enough to be a pony) that Steph and I had ordered, and more food that Connie had brought, JUST IN CASE we ran out. Connie's cache did not take into account the entire car trunk full of food I'd just bought at the local store, on her orders, before picking her up.

"I'm NOT leaving the ranch while I'm there. I'm there to ride. I am NOT driving into town!"

She brought so much food, and so many DVDs to watch, that we may not have time to ride. Or we might just get too heavy to ride.

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