Modesty forbidden, but I am a professional packer. I’m pretty sure this skill came about from being on the road for more than half of my life. My carry-on is probably more obedient than any pet I’ve ever had, and the clothes and other items that fill it practically jump out of place on order.
I haven’t checked in a bag at an airport, however long I’ve been traveling since my then teenage daughter’s suitcase returned, which we expected to join us on our flight to Milan, has was found six months later in Papeete, French Polynesia. All reports showed the bag had a wonderful time in Heaven while my daughter was forced – happily for her, I guess – to buy a whole new wardrobe in Italy.
I honestly hate airports, so my mantra is to get on the plane, get off the plane, and exit the airport at about Usain Bolt’s speed.
I started to think about my penchant for travel efficiency while planning a four day trip to visit a friend at Mount Shasta.
The difference here is that it is a road trip. It does not fall under my air travel packaging efficiency rules. I don’t need to be able to store my hand luggage in a luggage rack or my case under the seat. There isn’t a long wait for my bags to arrive. I can take more than one pair of shoes, and every outfit I plan on wearing doesn’t have to fit into a black and gray or brown and beige color scheme.
It’s freedom, no unturned stones, an opportunity to bring with us anything we might need on a four-day trip to stay with friends. Kind of like the Donner Party with food.
In fact, food is a big part of this trip and of my loaded car an inch from its roof line.
All of the expected participants are food junkies. We all love to cook, and each couple is given two nights to cook a meal that would make Julia Child cry in defeat.
So, in addition to two suitcases larger than a hand luggage and various devices designed to prevent us and food from frying along the way, we have the dog, sun loungers, books, games. , water bottles, fans, blankets and just about anything else that is not permanently attached to the floors or walls of our home.
Fortunately, we were unable to fit the refrigerator in the elevator, so the elevator and the stove have to stay.
We do, however, carry the Cuisinart, the KitchenAid blender, the mandolin, and enough knives to start a revolution. I’m not even planning on using the mandolin, but plan to cut my index finger off when removing it from the car so that I don’t have to be involved in repacking.
And that doesn’t include condiments like olive oil, sesame oil, and Worcestershire, soy, hoisin, and oyster sauces. And most liquor cabinets come too, just because they’ve become so attached to the Worcestershire sauce bottle.
Rosie the bitch is perfectly at home in this mobile feast. For her, it feels like home. In fact, it is the house.
The return is easier. The food is gone (and probably most of the booze too), no more water bottles to lug around, we’ll leave the blankets and maybe even the Cuisinart. It’s almost like traveling on a plane, giving or taking about 300 pounds, a big dog and my index finger wrapped in ice.
The stove and refrigerator will be happy to see us.
Barry Tompkins is a longtime sports broadcaster who lives in Marin. Contact him at [email protected]