In 2001, in the aftermath of 9-11, I was dealing with my Seattle Detective, J.P. Beaumont, needing to join forces with Joanna Brady in southeastern Arizona. I was speaking by phone to my East Coast editor about the problem of getting Beau from here to there at a time when planes were not yet flying.
“Couldn’t he just drive?” my editor asked. I replied that it takes 26 hours, in a car with the wheels moving, to get from Seattle to Tucson. That response was followed by a long pause before she said, “I didn’t know we had such a tall country.”
The truth is, it is a tall country, and even though there are plenty of planes flying these days, it still takes 26 hours to get from hither to yon if you’re doing it by car. We used to make that trip in three days flat—three very long days—but we were younger, and, generally speaking, we weren’t traveling with dogs.
This time we broke the trip and the hours into four relatively easy days—Tucson to Palm Springs, Palm Springs to Sacramento, Sacramento to Eugene, and Eugene home. It was still a challenge, however. Instead of traveling with two dogs, we were traveling with one. And Jojo, who was accustomed to taking her car travel cues from Bella, found herself a little at sea traveling solo.
When you’re on the road with dogs, keeping track of the Pees and Craps is vital. On that score, Bella always determined where things happened and Jojo simply followed suit. Without someone giving her directions and faced with making up her own mind, Jojo was too easily distracted and those very necessary things didn’t happen on a regular or predictable basis. Thankfully we travel with a fully stocked supply of puppy pads!
Inside the car, Jojo was a lot more needy than I expected. She had to be in my lap and nowhere else—except during the twistings and turnings in the mountains of southern Oregon when she suddenly decided she needed to be on my shoulders. People who saw us with her as a fur wrap around the back of my neck probably thought I was a living breathing Cruella DeVille.
All of this is to say, that during those four travel days, there was a lap dog in my lap rather than a laptop in my lap. E-mails did not get answered. Forward progress in the book did not happen. I managed some steps once we exited the car in the evenings, but not very many.
So we’re home in Bellevue now. It was a big shock to leave behind Tucson’s 95 degree weather and return home to a place where spring has not yet sprung. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this in front of a burning gas long fireplace.
Glad to be home. E-mails have now been answered. Condolence card thank yous have been sent.
Now it’s time to go back to work.