12/28/12: The movers, short of help, were here for 10 hours. We are exhausted.

12/29/12: We’re in Moss Point, Mississippi, near the Trent Lot International Airport. Be still my heart. Got in after leaving 3 hours late. Our cat Poppins had a bad trip on his calming medication. I rushed him to the emergency clinic while my sweetheart finished stuffing our little 2003 Matrix. The vet, (who appeared to be a dyke!) pronounced our man of the house to be okay. Tonight at the motel Poppins managed to lock himself in the bathroom, but I was able to pick the lock to get him out. Otherwise all is well except for my sweetheart’s aching body. She did all the heavy lifting. We have a king size bed and it accommodates all 5 of us comfortably.

From my college roommate: Oy vay. And locked in the bathroom, on top of it. And in Mississippi, on top of that!

Bob Dylan: “Stayed in Mississippi a day too long.”

12/30: Tonight we're in Columbus, Texas, in a La Quinta, the lap of luxury. Gave Poppins ½ dose and he crooned all nine driving hours. We noticed a tire was low on air and struggled mightily with an air machine. My clever sweetheart figured the thing out. The store clerk admired my COEXIST button with such fervor that I gave it to her. She showed me her pentagram necklace and whispered that she'd been Christian for a long time, but it never felt right so now she is Pagan. My sweetheart thinks we can make it to Las Cruces on the tire; I think if we try it'll blow while we're in the left lane of traffic passing a truck and doing the speed limit: 85. That pretty much sums up the differences between my sweetheart and me and why we complement each other so well.

12/31/12: It's 10:45 pm central time here in Columbus, Texas and my sweetheart, due to balky-middle-of-nowhere-internet reception, is still working at her job. Our tire looked to be in fine fettle – until it wasn’t. All two of the tire stores in town had already shut down for New Year’s Eve. Triple A was willing to tow us to a closed garage. What a wonderful decision staying put was, perfect for New Year's. We’d wanted to get to Las Cruces to try a recommended restaurant, but would have fallen asleep in our salsa. Slept late instead of having said tire poked and prodded. I crossed the highway to reserve a table for dinner at Nancy's Steak House, the apparent pride of Columbus, but the yee-haw/snooty attitude of the host and hostess sent us to Subway. There, I was called sir for the third time since we entered Texas and this time with a mean, steady glare. I had two lovely walks in muddy ditches along Highway 71. I couldn’t take Beastie, our 10 pound dog, as I was fruitlessly hunting kitty litter in every convenience store within walking distance. But none of that matters; we're so happy to be together in whatever circumstances, making this journey to our little yellow house on the hill.

Highlights of the day: 36 hours in a hotel room with my sweetheart and, while she napped, our kitty Bolo, for the first time in all her 9 years, slept on my lap.

From my Best Butch: Happy New Year dear friends. I should have warned you about how very small Columbus is.

1/1/13! Nobody sold tires but a Walmart several exits up the road. So much for boycotting Wallys. Made it through Houston without being pulled over once, unlike the trip east, when we were stopped twice in Texas. Maybe it was the rainbow stripe? El Paso is fascinatingly awful. Over the border, Mexico is a reflection of El Paso. Bolo was all upset today because she pooped in her carrier. We stopped and changed her bedding and she calmed down.

Highlight of the day? A call to our Texas pals. It pulled at our heartstrings not to see them.

1/2/13: We've arrived in Blythe, CA. The drive through the desert was, as always, breathtaking. I pointed out every cholla, prickly pear, saguaro, yucca. My sweetheart pointed out my favorite: tumbleweed! Crows the size and wingspan of sea gulls everywhere on the desert today. And a raspberry-orange sunset that wouldn't stop. Poppins, on full meds, was silent 3/4 of the trip. Bolo tried to make up for him, but lacked Poppins' endurance. They are pleased that we finally found them a room with a bed they can hide under. We allowed ourselves a stop at a New Mexico tchokes shop where Beastie was mistaken for a miniature Husky. Huh? We tried In and Out Burger, a California institution. Good burger, fries of molded cardboard. But my sweetheart ordered our toaster oven and microwave today. We will soon be enjoying home-nuked meals! The weather forecasts indicate that we may be able to squeak through the storms to get home Saturday. As the LaQuinta shower curtains say, we'll be waking up on the bright side!

Highlights of the day? Our friend Sue is going to turn on our hot water. We’re hearing from so many friends and relatives cheering us along the way.

The Beeg: Good to hear that you've made it to the west coast.

Me: Drunk on West Coast air, West Coast water, and not being called sir.

1/3/13: Today we did the Bakersfield, California hills, with their brown rolls and folds like an imprint of their creation. Traveling is seductive; at a certain point I never want it to end. We’re in Tracy, California. Mrs. Bundt, our ditzy GPS, led us the very long way to our motel and didn't know the 210 was finished so took us through some ugly traffic, but my sweetheart used the HOV lanes to compensate. Meanwhile, my sweetheart’s Good Humor pop melted in her purse, Bolo tried to tear her plastic kennel to shreds, Poppins' pill wore off way too soon, and his bed tipped over. Otherwise it was a glorious day. Tonight I am fretting about the wintry mountain passes; a friend in Washington State is feeding us weather information.

My high school friend: So glad to hear you are nearing the Promised Land! What an amazingly gutsy odyssey. A re-vision of the 60s road trip.

Me: Yeah, but Kerouac didn't travel with 2 cats & a dog.

High school: Yes - my point precisely!

1/4/13: We've arrived safely in Roseburg, Oregon. My sweetheart drove the California passes and I drove the Southern Oregon mountains. It was a brilliantly sunny and dry day. The roads were clear.

Highlights of the day: drinking really cold good-tasting water out of the tap, seeing Mt. Shasta, and seeing Jackie, who came bearing gifts – and adoration for Beastie. We missed the meeting place, but Jackie missed it too and we found one another making u-turns at the same small trailer park. So West Coast.

1/5/13: The Pacific Ocean and our little yellow forever home.

1/6/13: Poppins wakes us at 5 a.m. yowling as if he is still in the car. Bolo is exploring the empty cabinets, pulling the doors open and letting them go with a bang. The dog needs to go out. We’re happy.

[Editor's Note: Lee Lynch is the author of over 13 books. Her latest, Rafferty Street, concludes her epic Morton River Valley trilogy. You can reach Lynch at LeeLynch@ontopmag.com]

Copyright 2013 Lee Lynch