Part of the ritual of leaving on a trip, at least if I am flying, is driving to Cody in the dark. Most flights out of COD leave early in the morning, which gives you a passing shot at making a connection in Denver or Salt Lake City, the only places you can fly to directly. So I get up in the dark, carry the last of my garbage out back to the dumpster, throw my bags in the car, and head out.
I could see just the faintest shimmer of the Milky Way outside my yard this morning, and the first half of my trip, along the river valley, up and over the rims, down to the halfway stage stop, was lit only by the stars and the occasional faraway light on a ranch. Around that time the very edge of the sky behind me started to turn gray. It’s funny to me that dawn starts out gray but sunsets don’t end that way. I saw perhaps five cars headed the other way on my drive, which suggests in part our rural existence but also suggests I was driving at the wrong time to catch the morning shift at the oil field, so it’s not all bucolic bliss.
The Cody airport is tiny — it’s about the size of the Cedar Rapids airport, many years ago, before it was remodeled. A Delta affiliate and a United affiliate fly from here, and, as mentioned, you can go to DEN or SLC. I always try to go to Denver, since that airport has free wifi and since my godparents live there, so if I get stuck, I have place to say.
Right now I’m sitting in the lobby, waiting for them to open up the security line. This is the only security checkpoint I’ve been through that has a bootjack, and it cracks me up every time. Fox News (of course) is playing, going on about how they can’t believe that NOW would endorse Jerry Brown after his wife called Meg Whitman A Name and the possibility of The Government banning cell phones in cars. It’s strangely fascinating. I’m particularly fascinated by the backdrops behind the news anchors, which are like static laser light shows. And to think I was impressed as a kid by the CBS newsroom in Chicago. There were typewriters then. Typewriters!
I’m off on this trip to visit friends and family all over the Midwest (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, possibly Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan). Google tells me I’ll be driving 27 hours over the course of two weeks. Many people seem horrified by this, but it sounds good to me. I think I was a truck driver in a different life.
In a matter of hours, I’ll be landing at O’Hare, smelling fumes of many, many cars for the first time in many months, walking through an airport with more people that I usually see in a week. A man in hunting gear is loading four coolers onto the baggage check counter, presumably with the spoils of his trip. It’s a different world out here, to be sure.