The Trip to Tucson

Leaving (Part 1)

Gloria told her parents she would be leaving home in exactly one year. They didn’t believe her. She had said this many times before but both sensed that she may actually leave this time.

She was an only child, now 35 years old. She was a graduate of Montana State University with an undergraduate degree in Sociology, with a major in Women’s and Gender Studies. A hell of a lot that did for her here in Deer Lodge. She did a Google search and found out their were 48 job openings within 25 miles of Deer Lodge. Most of the jobs were on ranches, restaurant’s, or the largest employer, the Montana State Prison. Working there would be a nightmare.

She hated her job as an Office Manager with a local law firm. Ok, she had started out as an administrative assistant and then “promoted” after a year to Office Manager. It was the same old shit with a different title. She knew they did not want to lose her because they knew they could not get anyone else as efficient and dependable for what she was being paid. But what could she do to improve her life. She did not want to spend the rest of her life in this desolate place.

Her best friend Holly had been accepted at the University of Arizona. She would be working toward her Masters degree in the Drama Department.

At dinner a few months ago Holly had floated the idea of them both moving to Arizona and sharing an apartment together. For sure this would be better than living in her little run down trailer which was parked on her Aunt’s property. The rent was reasonable, but she always felt that her Aunt was keeping an eye on her.

Gloria had thought about this for a couple of months before making her final decision. She would go with Holly.  Her decision was hastened by the fact she did a “Johnny Paycheck” with her boss and told him “to shove it”. And then to add insult she added that if he were twice as smart he would still be an idiot. She knew where the door was but he showed it to her anyway.

According to Google Maps it was 1,219 miles, almost a straight shot south from Deer Lodge to Tucson. They figured a 3 to 4 day trip would get them there.

Since Gloria rented her trailer and Holly had a small unfurnished apartment, they were able to get all of their worldly possessions into one 4 by 6 U-Haul. Gloria had the better car, a 1977 Buick regal. Holly had a 1963 Ford Ranchero that her brother gave her. He was a carpenter and had build a wood top for the back of the Ranchero. Looked like hell but it still ran and she did not think she would need a car in Tucson anyway.

They had a small going away party, which her parents never attended, the night before. They had planned to leave around 10 the next morning. But they did a through cleaning of all the liquor containers, beer cans, and roaches that were the result of their little party. It was almost noon when they finally departed. Holly led the little convoy. As they left an empty beer can fell off the back bumper of the U-Haul.

Their adventure had begun.