It wasn’t until after we had crossed the country, driving west from New York to Chicago on the Interstate, then Chicago to Seattle on US-2. It wasn’t until after we had seen Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah. It wasn’t until after we had hiked Glacier, Crater Lake, Great Basin, Capitol Reef, and Arches National Parks, driven The Loneliest Road in America, and began our second ascent of the Rockies. It wasn’t until we had stepped into the Pacific, freezing our toes. It wasn’t until we had been shocked by the lava fields of Oregon, the tilted lands of Utah, the vast sky of everywhere but home.
It wasn’t until after all these things that we heard the thumping. There had been chirping in the Rockies, in Montana; squeaking in various places, and a heaviness I thought I was imagining as we crossed Utah. That didn’t stop us from climbing to 10,000 feet, traveling down unpaved roads, or spanning thousands of miles.
Sure, the check engine light had suddenly come on near Fall City, Washington. But the mechanic said the code was undefined; there was nothing to do but see if it came on again. So we waited, and we drove.
Having car issues on a cross-country trip could have been a nightmare. I could have panicked in a massive way. But having a car issue in Colorado, where Subarus are everywhere, was comforting. In five miles we were at a service center. In an hour and a half we found out what the problem was. And two and a half hours and $557 later we were back on the road 100% relieved.
We finished Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally, New York. Seven thousand, six hundred sixty-four miles later, we were home.