Friday, January 8, 2010


When Mistah Schleckah and I drive around, I'm the Navigator.

During our years on the road, I did my share of driving, of course I did. But then -- and now -- when we're driving in a city, or planning a route, or trying to work our way through, say, New Mexico, Mistah is in the driver's seat and I'm in the passenger's, with the map in my lap, telling him exactly what to do.

And, during those travels years, when we arrived at a destination, I'd get out the map and my journal and calendar and note exactly which route we took, and where we were staying, and look at the routes for the next day.

There are many photos of me from those years looking like this:

. . . in Fort Peck, Montana (following Lewis & Clark's trail) . . .

. . . and this, in California's Anza-Borrego Desert.

I love to Navigate. And if I do say so myself, (and I do, oh I do). I'm good at it.

One of my New Year's Resolutions -- one of my many many New Year's Resolutions -- is to get our photo albums up to date.

Here are some of them . . .

. . . here are the rest of them.

During our years on the road, we kept those albums meticulously current and organized and accurate, but totally dropped the ball when we arrived in Connecticut. We're a year and a half behind in printing photos and inserting them into albums, and even further behind in labeling them.

And labeling them is my job.

The other night as I was diligently at work labeling, reliving the Spring of 2008 as I was doing so, I looked at my set-up on the table:

. . . and realized it was exactly the same set-up I've had at campgrounds all over this fair country. To label the albums, I had to use the the map, of course, but also my journal and calendar, which report where we drove and what we did that day, and where we slept that night. And also how much the campground cost, what we had for dinner, what we did for exercise, and how much money we spent.

We have very meticulous records.

Ours is a well-documented life.

And it's a good thing too, because how would I ever have remembered that, driving east through The Lone Star state in May 2008, we stayed at Lake Arrowhead State Park in Henrietta TX, if I hadn't written it down?

I know what roads we took to get to Henrietta . . .

I know we stayed San Angelo State Park the night before and Beaver's Bend State Park in Broken Bow, OK the next night. . .

. . . and I know exactly what we did that day, May 17, 2008, the day we arrived at Lake Arrowhead. (We drank wine and made pasta broccoli).

Because I'm the Navigator.

A Navigator, after all, doesn't just tell you which way to turn the wheel. A Navigator also makes obsessive meticulous notes of the navigated journey, so future successful Navigation is possible.
And that future journey may be navigated through Arizona, or through Texas, or through Florida.
Or on the dining room table.


behind the picture 8 ball in PA said...

I'm VERY impressed!
My mom always did this and I have found her little journals of our family trips cross country. (Baltimore to Montana and back) It's great to see what we ate,where we stayed, what things cost, etc. all the things I had no idea about.
I wish I were better about that. I am a VERY lax journal(ist). really determined to finish the only scrapbook album...the one I started in 1999, for the year 1999! yes, I wrote that..and it's quite therapeutic to put it out there.
I did get to December 1999, thinking I was on the home stretch, until I saw how many pictures I was inclined to take of my cute, sweet 4 and 2 yr olds. UGH!
So...I hope you have loaner copies of your journey books so I can use your routes on our family x-country trip.
And when you are done catching up on your albums, I've got a few pics of my own that could use your help :~)

MB said...

Can't wait to see the updated photo albums!

Anonymous said...

I see what you mean about the handwriting, but I am also immensely impressed with the meticulous notes and photos. Hmmm...lots of hearkening back to your travels on the blog lately... are you getting The Twitch?

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Somehow I gotta think that documenting your life on the dining room table is not quite the same as while doing it on the road.

I mean, you do have a terrific Champagne homerun derby field out back, but still...

And really, Ellie, did the twitch ever really leave you? I think not. You need to work on Mistah.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

I'm going to avoid commenting about how this post makes me feel bad about myself for being such a lame documentarian (is that a word) of my life.

Instead, I'll say that I'm also the navigator, obviously. Have you met my husband? I'm also the driver. Now I have a supercool google maps tool on my phone that will tell me how to get places, and I'm afraid it's going to have a negative affect on my mad nav skillz. I was so distressed to find that only the Tom-Tom device can upgrade to use Snoop Dogg's voice giving directions. How awesome would that be????

great post, despite the fact that it makes me feel inferior and worthless.


Kathi D said...

What a treasure you have in those albums and notebooks and maps! We are quite lackadaisical about such things, but Rick's dad kept detailed little notebooks. Things that probably seemed quite unimportant to anyone else at the time are so interesting now--the price of lunch at the Waldorf-Astoria in 1966, or how much it cost in gas to get across the country.

Captain Dumbass said...

My navigator and I still argue about a wrong turn in Winnipeg in 1994.

Unknown said...

Ellie, you are an inspiration.