The four days in Pennsylvania went quickly.
I spent the Wednesday I had to myself packing and planning as much as I could. Changing phone service, the last credit card billing addresses, insurance information as well as running around trying to find someone to re-weld my cracked exhaust pipe.
On Thursday I took care of a few more errands before heading down to Philly to pick Elena up from the airport. It was wonderful to see her again, and I’m really glad I got to spend this last weekend with her before I go overseas.
Friday, Elena and I spent most of the day together, although she ran out to a spa for a facial and massage with Em which I searched for a new back pack since I’d decided mine was too small. As much as I wanted to squeeze into a tiny pack, there was just now way to pack my boots and carry the minimal clothing I wanted to carry. It all fit in the pack I had no problem until I add the boots and couple small items. Anyway, my search was futile and I decided to make do with one of the two other bags I had with me. Either the fairly big trekking pack I’d taken to Europe which I didn’t like because it’s top loading or the big north face duffle bag I have that has optional shoulder straps but no waist belt As with so many decisions I went back and forth many times… I finally settled on the real back pack since I’ll probably be doing some trekking and don’t want to think of what it would be like to hike with the northface duffle without a waist belt for support. I’ll look for a pack in Thailand, hopefully finding a medium sized panel loader (zippered) and sell or send home this pack.
Sunday was absolutely crazy. I needed to drop my van off with Mike in Westminster, Maryland (outside Baltimore). I’d gotten a one way car rental from Baltimore Airport (BWI) to JFK. So Elena and I drove down to Baltimore to pick up the car and then to Mikes & Carries new house. Which is big and beautiful and I see Mike and Carries doing a ton of work to :). Nearly his entire family was over to help them move in so Elena and I got to sit down and join them all for lunch. It was really nice to see an entire family (Mike’s parents and grandparents as well as sister) stop in the middle of the day to sit down to lunch together. Elena and I headed back towards Pennsylvania in the rental car leaving the Vanagon with Mike. The Vanagon covered roughly 12,000 miles since I left California. The drive home was miserable, they’d shut down 2 of the 3 lanes on I-95 so it was stop and go traffic for two hours. It took nearly five hours to get back to Matt & Em’s, even though it took just under three to get down to Mike and Carrie’s including the stop at the airport. It all made for a very late and harried night where I packed and re-packed again trying to whittle down the amount of stuff I’m taking and making sure I really am happy with my choice of bags… The three of us got to sleep shortly after midnight. Yes it sadly was my last night sleeping with Tucker for a long time as well.
I’m deeply worried about him while I’m gone. I’m far more worried about him than Elena. Elena I can email and talk to all I need. She understands where I am and how long I’m gone for. All he knows is the guy that rescued him from the pound three years ago and that has spent nearly every minute of the last six months with is suddenly going to be gone. I’ve done what I can. I gotten him use to living at Matt and Em’s, use to the other dogs, as settled as I could possibly could… I’ve left him with people I know, love and trust as much as anyone else in the world… but it’s still hard.
In the morning kissed and hugged both my loves tearful good-byes and headed for JFK airport.