The Road Back From Long and Blonde

It’s fall.  Some things didn’t make it to the dry cleaners at the end of last winter and the long blonde hairs are stuck to the back of the navy peacoat.  My favorite.  I want to wear the coat, but I don’t want to roller tape the hair away so I look at it like it’s an alien and hang it back up.  Then leave without a coat for the Sheriff’s office where my employer has requested finger prints.  

The football player sized deputy sheriff takes the imprint cards and leads me to the back.  Height? Weight?  Hair color.  I’m standing right there.  Hair.  Color.  Miss.  It was a distinctive MISS.  Instinctively I reached up to the 1/2 inch long hairs.  “Well,  it’s mostly gray. Today it’s gray.”  “It WAS long and blonde”.  It came out with no agenda; bubbling forth like my hair had all of a sudden fallen victim and needed defending. 

“Is that what you want to go with, gray?”  

Not really big dude, but since I’m in an environment that smacks of truth,  gray seems to win out regardless of what i want.  


He hunts through the digital list and clicks on gray.  “Personally miss, I think red would look amazing on you.”



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I promise

Dear God,

It’s been a very long hot oppressive (expletive deleted) summer. Which of course I [mostly] don’t blame You for despite the slips of tongue I committed over the summer that might have included Your name.

Based on centuries of precedence, relief is just around the corner in the form of cooler temperatures at which time any hard feelings for the horrid summer will be completely forgotten – I promise. And with those dreamy breezes that tickle my skin causing the giddy thought of a jacket, my annual long-as-I-want-to-roam SRT that rejuvenates, liberates, and solidly reconnects me to life’s priorities comes as a bonus. At which time I will thank You profusely and attempt once again to refrain from the bad language I’m so given to. I swear it’s genetic if that helps any.

Looking forward to our special reconnect,


Beyond Hot

August 3, 2011 -- Beyond Hot

August 31, 2011 - the 45th day over 100 degrees


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An Interview of SRT by Smart Computing Magazine

Blaine Flamig, a writer for Smart Computing Magazine is a SRT fan. I realize the magazine is an unlikely one to feature road trips but there’s a rule that says never turn down an opportunity to spread the word, assuming you have one. I do. So I did. Besides, geeks and nerds drive don’t they??

When I’d worn thin the pages with my interview and got enough coffee rings on the first copy to need the second copy, I finally turned over a few other pages and was pleasantly surprised at the usefulness of the content For instance, the article “What To Do When Your PC is Slow” resulted in my trashing the Sony PC and getting a Mac. “Cloud Backup – How it Works, Why It’s Safe”, saw Carbonite becoming my new best friend. Although I have to add, they are slow slow slow. The initial backup of the new Mac took several weeks – no kidding. I no longer needed the article “Sync Your PC & Mac”, because I no longer had a PC, but “Erase Your Hard Drive”, stepped up in importance for the PC that now sat sullen on the floor,  haughtily held all my secrets in the world. There were more articles that dead-eyed ‘inquiring minds want to know’, but I never got past the titles – figured one more unusual charge and the credit card company would be calling to see what the hell I was up to.

Either I’m a sucker and extremely susceptible to suggestion or the magazine is a mind reader for those of us who know just enough to be dangerous with everything IT, but have lingering questions that no one else seems to address.

SRT in Smart Computing Magazine

The interview:

Smart Computing – Tell us about the blog’s origins.

SRT: I’ve always wanted to call myself a writer and not laugh and stutter while saying it. So I figured a blog would give me reason enough to finally apply the description with a straight face.   Having spent 40 years dreaming about travel and exploration, I married a man with some means and realized the road trip travel style I thought had been a necessity due to limited funds, was instead my preference.  When that nugget of truth surfaced, the blog gained a platform and I, a voice.  I must confess however that I did upgrade my travel vehicle from a front wheel drive 1993 Mazda MX-6 (just enough clearance to not be a turtle killer), to a new Onstar equipped, heated seats, 4-wheel drive Yukon.  It doesn’t shudder when I take it places we really shouldn’t be.

Smart Computing – What draws you to traveling and to solo road trips in particular?

SRT: Dreams. And an early understanding the people who lived just down our dirt road lived much different lives (and I wanted to know how and why).  Well that’s what drew me to travel in general. The solo road trips were born during the hard charging years of 60+ hour weeks in the financial services industry – retail with an ego.  What initially began as a way to cope and survive evolved into a passion.  Heaped on top of the high stress work, I’m a people pleaser. I think some of us are predisposed to be people pleasers and that’s not something you can escape by leaving a career. And I don’t think that label is reserved to women. The only way to escape the cursed fussing over others is to separate ourselves completely.

Short of becoming a hermit, a periodic unplugging from that predisposition is an intoxicating, rejuvenating breath of air that no amount of money can buy. Blog readers have asked me about taking a dog for a companion because they can’t fathom being totally alone.  Of course I couldn’t care less if you want to take a dog. But I will tell you the experience will be completely different. The liberation of making decisions on the fly, as fast as the brain can process, unfettered by the diplomatic process of asking what someone/something wants to eat, see, do, and when, is something everyone should experience once.

About the whole you-go-on-solo-road-trips-so-you-can-do-things-you-wouldn’t-do-at-home, you know the ‘what happens on the road stays on the road’?  Afraid not. Diane Arbus, the famed photographer took that tact, and she wasn’t a very happy person. I’m a fan of her work, but if I’d ever had the opportunity to speak with her I would have strongly advised against the sex with strangers on Greyhound buses. I go on SRTs as a release from being gracious and interested (always sincerely – it’s part of the curse of being a people pleaser).  I don’t want to create any new ties, have any appointments, no one to see on the return trip, lunches with friends, time targets to meet, some strange someone knowing where I’m headed, who I am, etc.. I go to shed myself if only for a tiny, but perfect slice of time.

Smart Computing – Has the blog turned out to be what you originally intended?

SRT: Of course not. I had no original intention anyway, really.  It’s become more impassioned towards road trip travel than I’d originally foreseen. My own beliefs toward travel, road trips, solitude, discovery, have been not surprisingly, honed by the exercise of writing down my thoughts.  The blog has gained focus over time. I’ve become the purveyor of the road trip revolution, at least in my own mind. I believe it’s possible to travel on a walk to the local grocery store. I don’t subscribe to the notion there’s a difference between travelers and tourists and personally feel that entire argument arose from the arrogance of those travelers looking down their noses at those on tour coaches, exiting en masse with cameras in hand. Those who gag on the word tourist couldn’t travel down their own street and do it well.

Smart Computing – What has the reaction been in general to the blog?

SRT: Excellent. Surprising. Unexpected. I’ve been published because of the blog. Had a book deal and movie rights purchased.  NOT. Writing opportunities have however come my way. Being a writer? It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  Hard work, low pay, nothing glamorous.  It’s interesting to hear the comments about how afraid people are to travel alone, to be alone, to drive off into the sunset alone.  Again, I’m not talking solely about women. The “I really want to do this but I’m afraid to do this alone” is something I hear more from men than women.  It surprised me too.

We’ve become so plugged-in the connections have morphed into chains. Now we don’t know what to do with the gorgeous sunset when there’s no one to text, no one to email, no one to speak to next to us. The power to self entertain may be the greatest death of our technological advancements.


Here’s the full blurb about SRT that appeared in the magazine’s monthly feature: “That’s News to You.”


Join the Road Trip Revolution at the Solo Road Trip Facebook Fan Page, here.


Letter of Mourning, Part I

I was 9 or 10 the last time I called him Dad.  Much like not having the foreknowledge of the last time you’ll make love to a soon-to-be ex lover, or the last time to say I love you to one that dies unexpectedly, the words came and went without fanfare. What really should be shouted down from the heavens to the world below about THIS being the last time for something significant, that this time should be duly noted, fades into the folds of the everyday and passes as easily as the weather on a particular day. The last time of anything should be given respect. But seldom is. Until later.

Today is later. Today the death certificates came. I’m the “informant”. “Daughter” it says. On the death certificate of my father.  The fact I’m old enough to be in some official capacity on someone’s death certificate is something of an alarm. One of those rites of passage. Of the aging process. Something that only happens to those of us blessed enough to have outlived a loved one I guess.

My biological father, a man whose memory has been firmly, neatly, summarily slammed the door on, died on August 13.  Did I think he’d never die? Did I think I wouldn’t know? Or that I wouldn’t care? I can’t say now what I thought before August 13, but whatever it was, was wrong on all counts.

Making ice cream with my father

“Father” is to be distinguished from a Daddy. Well you already know that. They are often one and the same. But maybe just as often, to give a nod to all those who’ve raised children not of their own blood line, not. Thankfully I still have a Daddy. He came into my life simultaneously with the cessation of my father hearing my 9 or 10 year old voice call him “Dad.”  My Daddy is the first love of my life.  All the respect, admiration, love that I can muster is his. And he knows it.  He mourns with me, expected my confusion upon this event, and prays for my grief to be relieved.

I’m shocked by the emotional fallout. Unanticipated, unplanned, unprepared. Pretty much everything falling in the “un” category.  With the exception of distraught, stunned, brought to my knees, and as my mother puts it “the gut wrenching emotions that you could have only experienced at his death and not a moment before”.

As my father became an old, withered man, I became a vibrant, full grown woman. And I failed to realize that. My memories of him, set in the unchanging past, did not progress true to life.  Reality failed me. The tables turned my friends at a point I neglected to observe. The caregiver/parent became the needy and the needy/child became the caregiver. It is the cycle of life.  A cycle of life I regretfully missed.

There are times we recognize we really messed up. We missed the mark. Times of mistake and regret and longing that can never be reconciled between those of flesh and blood. I find myself against one of those. In the end, my father and I are both guilty of the same thing – abandonment;  the degree and timing of which is now suddenly and irrevocably irrelevant.

There’s a price to pay for turning the other cheek and never bothering to swivel back to check the direction from which you turned.

The tears will dry over time.  But I’ll be left with this for the rest of my days: while I may have had no need for a Daddy for the last 40 years of my life, I now sadly know there was always room in my life for one more person.

Travel, Writing, Work (not always in that order)

Summer has made a call to Oklahoma. The yard yawning and stretching and turning shiny and sparkley in all its green rainbow glory has created a need to dig in the dirt. I’ve been taking a break and didn’t tell anyone. Several of you noticed anyway. And for that I extend to you a virtual hug. Nope, I’ve not stopped the blog.

With my free time I will continue plundering flower beds for a bit longer. Then I return to the keyboard with clean fingernails, whiter and shinier against the bit of tan on skin.


The Grand Climb


Tammie DooleyAbout SRT... I’m a traveler, writer and photographer for whom the open road frequently summons. Adventurous solo road trips are a staple for me, and a curiosity. So I created this website to share them and inspire you to step out and give them a try. Welcome!

A soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone – Wolfgang Von Goethe

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