Trips fun, preparation is not

I have been awed by the Grand Canyon. Gotten up early to watch the tide sweep up the cliffs of Maine and sat up late watching it leave the breaches of California. I’ve seen the amber waves of grain and purple mountains of majesty, east, west, south and north.
I’ve visited museums in big cities and little hamlets. Eaten in “out of the way places” in charming villages and in “they all look alike to me” franchises. I’ve been there, done it – in all 48 of the continental states.
Some would say I am an experienced traveler. I would said I am a reluctant traveler who prefers to stay home and read a good book.
But, with relatives in far-flung states and sons going off to colleges a six-hour drive one way, occasionally I have to pack my bags, get in the car and go.
Which is what I am dreading doing as soon as I finish this column. As I write, the countdown for a trip to Hamilton, Canada moves rapidly toward zero.
All I have to do is go home, pack the clean clothes, pack the hair dryer, pack snacks for the trip, pack audio tapes for the long days of driving, pack the camera and film, pack good gooks to read and notebooks for writing, pack, pack, pack.
Pack is one nasty four-letter word. Yuck.
Not yuck on going to Canada. We will be at the International Science and Engineering Fair with my son and his science project that has dominated my living room and life for months. That will be interesting.
But yuck on everything necessary before I get in the car and arrive at the hotel in Canada.
My reluctance about packing up and going includes short overnighters. Like the one I took recently to an overnight women’s retreat 70 miles away. My feet dragged until the time I left. No one twisted my arm to sign up to attend. I go every year, enjoy myself and come home energized.

The driver said, “I’ll be there to pick you up at 3 p.m.”
The night before I made the cake I had promised to take, washed the clothes, watched TV and went to bed without packing a thing.
I came home from work, looked at the mail, pulled towels out of the dryer and the doorbell rang. My ride had arrived and I hadn’t ferreted out an overnight bag.

I grabbed jeans out of my drawer, a couple shirts out of the closet, tossed toothbrush and toothpaste into my bag along with a hastily folded towel and washcloth, stuffed everything in a school duffel bag with a few other things and grabbed a pillow and blanket. Within 15 minutes I was on my way, without forgetting anything important. I enjoyed the two-hour drive as we talked and caught up with their lives.
I had a great time that weekend. I will go again — and just as reluctantly drag myself out the door.

As I am reluctantly now off to buy a couple items before packing for Canada. When I return from Canada, I will have had a great time.
But man, oh man, right now I wish I could stand beside my dresser filled with clothes and say, “Beam me up (to Canada), Scotty.”