Victoria’s Odyssey

She’s on her way, migrating from North Carolina to become a resident of the state of Washington, hauling a trailer with all her worldly goods and her 5 year old daughter strapped in the car seat. Lou, her dog, is sharing the back seat with her daughter, Evie.

What initially looked like a long boring drive turned into a 5 day memorable odyssey.

A few months ago, Victoria, formerly known as Tori, decided to re-invent her life. Our entire family was shocked when she, our granddaughter, first announced her decision to divorce her husband, apply for jobs in Washington State and relocate.

Realizing that she’s a very intelligent mature woman, my wife and I agreed to withhold any criticism or condemnation and respect her decision, despite our doubts. Since my blog is about life as an odyssey, here are the highlights of my granddaughter’s 5 day odyssey.

On day one she traveled through 5 states, over 599 miles, in 13 hours without incident. Indiana is flat and boring without a single “Hoosier” in sight. But NC. VA, WV. and KY provided beautiful scenery.

Day 2 consisted of traversing 713 miles in 14 hours, through IL, MO, and part of Kansas. All the highways were flat with minimal scenery.

On Day 3, the real adventure began. The Five Man Electrical Band said it all too well, “Can’t you read the signs?”. The “signs” were instructions for how to navigate the steep mountain grades. Pretty simple; keep your foot off of the brake and use LOW gear. Victoria did neither resulting in all four brakes totally burning out at a cost of $1200. To meet the day’s mileage objective, Victoria ignored my emphatic warning not to travel in the dark, especially across severely winding roads.

From there, Mother and daughter continued on through Colorado and into Utah covering 778 miles in 19 hours.

Day 4, consisted of a relatively low 527 miles due to several sight seeing stops in Utah and into Nevada. Evie is only 5 years old but, she can be very persuasive when expressing her desires for wading through a stream or climbing rocks and her Mother was wise to intermingle a vacation agenda in to an arduous travel agenda.

Victoria’s description of day 4 says it better than I can —- “This was a relaxing day. There was a little bit of snow but nothing concerning. We made a stop at a park and Evie and Lou had an hour to run around and just play. We shouldered the car on the freeway so Evie could run out onto the salt flats in UT. It was absolutely amazing. We drove through the dinosaur diamond in UT and the landscape was phenomenally breathtaking. At one point I clocked our mileage, we were able to see 36 miles in distance to the horizon.”

Day 5: “We’re here!”. But not before the weather and the landscape put up a fight. The day consisted of 655 miles in 16 hours through the rugged landscapes of NV, OR, and WA. Victoria sums it up —- “the most terrifying day of my life;”. After traveling only 40 miles in 3.5 hours, she forced herself to stop and install traction chains on each tire to give her a chance of making it through the mountains. Try to picture a 28 year old woman laying on her back on the ice and figuring out how to attach the chains, with tears in her eyes. But, at the end of day 5 she had made it into Washington State where, just like in the movies, at the end of the day the sun shone brightly.

Which was more difficult? Deciding that her marriage was over? Moving to a milder climate and a more culturally progressive environment? Or, loading up that trailer and driving 3266 miles, or laying your back on frozen pavement, attaching chains to the tires?

All of it was difficult and courageous at the same time. Both the decisions which led up to the trip and the trip itself. Victoria’s odyssey has shown me how much more difficult life changing decisions can be for women than men. Let’s all keep in mind that “bread winner” is a gender neutral role.

One month later, as I wrap up this article, I can report that Victoria, Evie, and Lou are all doing well. I’m excited to be planning my first visit to Washington State this next July.

2 thoughts on “Victoria’s Odyssey

Add yours

  1. Hey Bob, SO very glad to hear that they all arrived safely. Having done several cross country treks over the years, I can so related to the “agony and ecstasy” of each journey. More difficult even than that, is the fate of the “second hand worriers” (you and Joan). When Doug and I informed my mother in 1997, that we intended to do an 8 week cross country journey on a motorcycle, my Mom’s only response? “I thought by now, I could FINALLY stop worrying about you…Thanks A LOT!!”


    1. I now truly believe that through my writing I’ve learned that you can’t influence what people think or do. They’re gonna do what they do. I’m just a reporter.



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