The Lisa & Clark Expedition:  Old Places and Familiar Faces

In which intrepid road trippers Lisa & Clark go in pursuit of historic hotels, old friends, rusty auto parts (the more the better), wineries, and gardens. And maybe a dress or two for Lisa, because she just can’t help herself.


Thursday, May 24, 2012
Seattle; 0 miles

It’s the day before we — Lisa & Clark — leave on the two week road trip we’re calling the Lisa & Clark Expedition: Old Places and Familiar Faces.

Every road trip needs a theme, after all.

The trip is a birthday gift to Clark, as he loves road trips but I hate them. He likes to drive, he loves cars — he’s restoring/building a 1925 boat-tail speedster — and he dreams of having his own American Pickers adventure and stumbling on a barn full of Model As; I, however, see every moment on the road as an opportunity to die a horrible death or have the car break down and strand us for hours, as happened on our honeymoon. Ahem.

(Are you a car guy looking for more info on the speedster in the below photo? Here’s more info.)

speedster pulled from weeds

Clark (on R) and his brother pulling the speedster from the weeds, from behind a house in our neighborhood. After much research online, we discovered that the core of the body — the boat-tail section minus the swoopy fender bits — is from a 1920s Mercury body speedster. Mercury (no relation to the Mercury co. we’re all familiar with today) made these sports car bodies for Model Ts. Order your Ford Model T, and you have the option of upgrading to a Mercury speedster body. And yes, I’ve learned way too much about this stuff.

Plus it’s uncomfortable and boring to sit in a car all day. Whine whine whine.

Old Places and Familiar Faces means we will stay either with friends (old faces) or at historic hotels (old places), as well as seek out bits of history — and yes, old car parts — on the journey. Surely this will give a sense of purpose to what will be, according to the AAA online planner, a minimum 2,000 miles and 36 hours of driving.

Oh god.

After weeks of planning and stress, the 101 things that needed to happen before we left have, somehow, happened; I’m stunned. There were moments it seemed impossible, and when Clark was hyperventilating over the mountain of things to do. Yet, somehow, issues around Clark’s work have been resolved, the mysterious noise in the car has been fixed (thanks, Doctor Don’s), the neighbors have promised to keep an eye on the house, and I delivered my 40 floral hair clips and headbands to Avanti Art & Design, for the art show that will begin the night we return.

My work table full of flower parts. You can see a few of the headbands hanging off the back of the chair.

Hair clips and headbands are not really art, but oh well. It was my usual story of thinking it would be fun to make a few for myself, and then having the project enlarge itself until I’d spent more money than I intended and had way more pieces — some of them ridiculously large, and more like hats or fascinators — than I could ever use, barring a sudden penchant for attending horse races in England. My “brilliant” solution was to sell them at the art show, which then meant the work of creating display racks, price tags, an artist’s statement (as if one could write such a thing for hair ornaments), etc.

waterlily on head

Everyone needs a waterlily headband/hat, don’t they?


back of water lily hat

…especially if there’s a honking big rose on the back.

I’m doing this to myself a lot lately, I’ve noticed: wading into a project thinking it’s only a fun splash in an inch of water, but ending up swimming across a bay. I blame it on a shift in mindset, chronicled in my Experiment in Quiet; I’ve become more productive, but now I sometimes feel like I’m being driven by my projects, rather than me driving them. Perhaps an experiment in limiting commitments is in order.

But first, a road trip!

map of Oregon, Washington, California

Our route, as planned.

(Map built at AAA Washington)

Our route will take us from Seattle down the Washington, Oregon, and California coasts to Sonoma wine country, east to Sonora in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, north through central Oregon to Bend, and then home over the Cascade mountains in Washington. We’ll go from coastal fog and redwoods to high desert and sagebrush, with still-snowy mountains and lush, vineyard-filled valleys in between. We’ll seek out old car parts, ghost stories, and historic locations, and see some old friends along the way.

It’s going to be good.


I hope.

9:45 PM

Do all men pack like this? There are cries of, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” and “I’m very unhappy!” topped by, “I’m bringing too much; I’m loading up the car with crap. The car is dirty. I wanted to take this trip in a clean car.” All of which leads to me shooing him away, and unpacking all the shirts (Why is he trying to bring that shirt I’ve never seen him wear? Why is he bringing a T that won’t match anything else?) and the shorts and slacks that he has crammed on top of a linen jacket, and then re-packing for him.

Which I suspect was his goal all along.

As soon as I’m done I’m going to make myself a cocktail and wax my legs… he grooms the car, I groom myself. Surely this doesn’t hint at future problems traveling together on the road.

More of the Lisa & Clark Expedition:

Day One



Who are Lisa & Clark?

Lisa’s latest novel,

Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells, from Simon & Schuster


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