By Nancy LeRoy, Guest Blogger

IMG_0703I made it to the Comfort Inn off of I-70 West somewhere near Richmond, IN in seven and a half hours, a little over 500 miles. There’s a Domino’s and Pizza King nearby, and as I checked in a group of people who seemed to know each other were lugging large pizza slices of out of three boxes.  They sat around the lobby tables, TV on, chatting and eating. I may be one of the few Americans who don’t like pizza, and am particularly turned off by the cloying tomato-y smell mixed with warm cardboard and grease.  I am such a food snob! Sorry.
I’m prepared with my own stash for my in-room dinner, which better suits my own eccentric tastes. Vodka and seltzer with fresh lime juice, sesame crackers with cheddar cheese slices, small tomatoes from my garden, and a tin of sardines in olive oil, over which I shall sprinkle cider vinegar. It’s even better with chopped red onions, but there’s a limit to what I can reasonably put in a cooler.
The ride here was boring, as expected, but enlivened by the tinge of excitement knowing I’m on my way to a month at Esalen. Once past Hagerstown, though, there’s a beautiful stretch of highway – 68, labeled the National Highway – that runs through the Cumberland Mountains. Lots of slow curves and dips and clusters of small farming towns that segway into the bigger towns of West Virginia and Pennsylvania where church spires rise up over the red brick buildings of old main streets.
An exit sign in Ohio for Zanesville touted the town as the birthplace of Zane Grey, a writer of Westerns popular in the 1920s and 30s. I remembered my grandfather, a janitor at the Detroit public library, bringing me a cardboard box filled with discarded books, their spines torn off.  I must have been about ten years old and I devoured those old Zane Grey Westerns, which were a prelude to the Nancy Drew and Carolyn Keen mysteries I convinced my mother to buy for me each payday. Zane Grey turned me into a reader and a girl who suddenly became smart in school. I was the only person in my family to go to college and I thank my grandfather and Zane Grey.
Just went out and walked around the motel for 20 minutes and then a few exercises with those stretch bands I borrowed from my daughter.
I gotta say……I love motel rooms. Even though I’ve been divorced and living alone forever, there’s still something about being in a place that I’m not responsible for.  I can use all the towels, leave the bed unmade, let my stuff lay around in disarray. Somebody else will take care of it.  Joy!