Beware the Hantavirus


My husband and I are planning THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP. Yes, we are planning it in All Caps. I try to avoid writing in All Caps, it’s obnoxious and reduces legibility, but regrettably THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP actually exists in All Caps and thus must be written that way. It literally rolls across my mind in big, somewhat trendy capital letters. This emphasis is audible in conversation.

Hey baby, I read today that we should beware of the Hantavirus while we’re in the desert on THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP

Umm, yeah. Wait, the what-a-virus?”

Hantavirus. Several times reported in the deserts of the American West. The main thing to remember is that we should avoid playing with or handling any rodents we come in contact with.”

I didn’t make that up, by the way. That’s a true bit of advice that I have gleaned while planning THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP. The Hantavirus. A real danger to those folk who are prone to picking up the occasional wild desert rat.

THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP will begin in Smalltown, Wyoming. Not because Smalltown, Wyoming is a particularly exciting place to begin any road trip, but because that is where we are, and the old maxim “wherever you go, there you are” would apply in our situation as “doesn’t matter where you’re going; Smalltown, Wyoming is where you have to start. Because that’s where you are” Q.E.D.

Road~trip Preparations. Photo by author.

The first 1,025 miles of THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP will take us through the entire state of Big Sky Montana (apropos of nothing, there is a creek in Beaverhead County, Montana named Bloody Dick Creek, after an Englishman who was living there in the 1860s. No, I don’t know why. I could speculate. But I’m not going to. It is just these sorts of interesting things that you discover when planning THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP), over the mountains of the Coeur D’Alene National Forest of Idaho, through the flattest, hottest, driest sections of Eastern Washington, and will culminate with our arrival in Portland, OR.

These first 1,025 miles are really just to get us from here to there, from point A to point D, or more accurately, from Smalltown, WY (where we must, by needs, start) to Portland, OR (where we would actually like THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP to start) That is not to say that there won’t be interesting things to see along the way, though. Perhaps not things that are quite as interesting as those Hantavirus-carrying, yet dangerously cuddly, rodents of the desert …but interesting, none-the-less.

Butte, Montana, for one. Butte, Montana has a truly stunning,

Copper King Mansion, Butte MT. Photo by author.

mind-warpingly amazing ,

really just great

Historic District. That, apparently, no one realizes is there. And which is falling apart even as I type. Truly. Four more bricks just fell off the outer wall of one of those vast old gothic buildings while I wrote this sentence. I hope some of it is still left when THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP begins this summer. Yes, that’s right. We are taking THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP… in the summer. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t mentioned that yet.

Another highlight of this section of the trip will be Wallace, Idaho, population 960. According to their Web home-page “Wallace is also known for the fact that every downtown building is on the National Register of Historic Places… which is why the government finally had to go over us instead of through us in order to complete the Interstate Highway system in 1991.” As a hard-core lover of historic buildings; I do get a little tingle just thinking of this. But you know what I bet was even more on the town’s mind than the closure of downtown Wallace to make way for the government’s burgeoning Interstate Highway system? The closing of the Oasis Bordello –which was an operating whorehouse, open for business in Wallace until 1988. Apparently at some point in that year, the ladies of Oasis became convinced that an FBI raid was imminent and they vacated at high speed. The little bordello has been preserved exactly as it was the night the ladies abandoned their red bulbs… and now offers tours as the Oasis Bordello Museum. It’s a shame, too, those FBI guys were probably just trying to work out some shady Interstate deal.

Pacific Northwest Coast starfish. Photo by author.

Anyhoo, back to Portland, OR (well actually Astoria, OR by the Pacific ocean –next stop after Portland) where the remaining 2,860 miles of THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP create a loop as follows. Down the entire coast of Oregon and most of California on Pacific Highway 101 until we reach Santa Monica. (I’ve read that there are vampires in Santa Monica. Or maybe it was celebrities. Something fun to look at, anyway.) There, we will be using ancient guides and texts (EZ66 Guide for Travelers / Route 66 Map Series) to lead us east along the Mother Road on Historic Route 66 through California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Round about Santa Fe we will sadly abandon old Route 66 to head north, bringing us through Colorado and directly into Wyoming, where Smalltown will await us.

THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP”, I have said to my husband, “is going to be epic. I’m going to blog about it.”

I’ve never had an actual blog before. I had to look around the internet to find out where to put it. I thought I might put it in a travel blog. On a Travel Blog site. But you know what? Those sites want you to be travelling while writing or to be writing about previous travel already travelled, or some variation of the two. One site actually says, and this is a verbatim quote, “If you are not currently travelling you can still participate in the Travel Forum”.

I don’t want to participate in the Travel Forum. I want to write a blog. I want to write it right now. Before I have even begun to travel! Shocking. Besides, though THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROAD TRIP will be, as previously mentioned, epic in all its proportions -still there is the possibility that occasionally I might want to write about something else. Like pregnant platies. Who are maybe just really fat. I’m not sure that thrill-seeking, cliff-jumping, shark-diving Venezuela travel enthusiasts will care if my platy is maybe just fat.

Besides, I hear through Google that WordPress bloggers are the really cool bloggers.

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2 thoughts on “Beware the Hantavirus

  1. HA! Off you go……. I love the detours that are included in the description of said trip, perhaps you will take all of them on the trip.

  2. Yay for blogs!

    THE ULTIMATE SUMMER ROADTRIP sounds awesome-it actually sounds a lot like one (of many) I have planned out, but have yet to convince the husband to take. He is game for the trip, he is just not so game for taking it before we are out of debt (stupid surgery…).

    Also, you are right: WordPress bloggers are the best. My entire website is run on WordPress. When I was working on the design and coding, I though WP would just be the best for content management-and I love it. We have a family blog over at blogger, but I love WP so much, I am thinking about moving it over here. Maybe now is a good time to so that.

    ALSO also, I like the way you write. It is crisp and fun and personable. And yes, I pay attention to stuff like that when I read blogs.

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