Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Are all of you familiar with the main character in James Thurber's "Secret Life of Walter Mitty"? To borrow from a description I found online,

'Walter Mitty was a meek, unassuming accountant who would daydream that he led an exciting, heroic life in order to escape his humdrum existence. In Thurber's 2000-word story, which takes place over a single day, we first meet the henpecked Mr Mitty as he is driving his wife to town for a shopping trip, while dreaming that he is a Navy pilot flying through the worst storms in 20 years."

I do a lot of Walter Mittying myself and my current episode involves the idea of driving to North Carolina. 

Mind you, the 12 months since I've needed to resume driving have been fraught with criticism from my otherwise saintly husband. Rarely do we leave the Manor to go out on a jaunt without major directions and fault-finding issuing from the passenger seat, sometimes twice before we're 2 minutes from home. I'll be the first to admit that my driving doesn't begin to measure up to Mr. Bob's expertise. He was a driver that even men were comfortable having in the driver's seat. Excellent in every way until  the evening of Jan. 30, 2010 when he bumped into the back of an SUV, which resulted in having his driver license confiscated by a policeman who had witnessed the whole incident.

We've limped along for a year with me doing the driving, mostly taking the car to get to doctors' appointments, Trader Joe's and the occasional restaurant; nowhere very far. I really haven't gone beyond Glendale's boundaries. You see, I'm one of those people who chooses not to drive freeways and the few times in the distant past when I drove at higher speed on the highways, my palms sweat to the point that it was difficult to keep them on the wheel. 

For a year, each little trip with me at the controls would have provided blog material that to outsiders probably would have been highly entertaining. I resisted writing about it lest it fall under the heading of airing our dirty laundry, as the saying goes. The stories would not be pretty.

I only mention it now because I've been caught up in the Walter Mitty Syndrome. 

After hearing Huell Howser speak of the wisdom of doing what we want to do, regardless of our age, there arrived in the mail a thick catalogue of programs offered by Road ScholarThat's the new name for what, since 1975 had been  known as Elderhostel. They offer over 8,000 educational programs throughout the United States and foreign countries.

Programs are rated by Activity Level, from 1 to 7. I thumbed through the thickness of the catalogue, looking for 1s and found this..........

I've long been intrigued by the culture of Appalachia. Why not follow through on this? What if I drove to North Carolina? On back roads and stopping every time I saw something interesting, it would surely take me 2 months to drive 2,541 miles and just as long coming back. Could I do it? Would our marriage survive with Mr. Bob as the passenger and me at the wheel? Who knows? You must admit, it's an interesting thing to contemplate.

As my mother used to say, "We shall see what we shall see". Stay tuned.


  1. Your last picture suggests you already are in the Smoky Mountains.

  2. Your blog brought to mind this quote:

    Ever noticed that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?

    Add a Long Island Iced Tea---and you'll be heading for North Carolina!

  3. Oh, wow! Come to NC, yes! Wait for nice weather, though!! Western NC gets a good bit of snow these months. Let me know if you do it!

  4. My mother-in-law has done several Elderhostels. She loves them! I think you should go for it! Just think of the good blogging opportunities! You'll entertain us for months!

  5. Great ! Go for it girl ! A Non Y Mouse

  6. Have you considered asking Paul; he likes to drive. Besides, he could serve as the designated buffer.

  7. Paul...then ask Tim to join you...think of the fun to get others to visit on the way. Get Bob sleeping pills???? :-) I never say no to anything that may not pass my way again... I too would love the blogs....

  8. Jane i think you are marvellous.
    I still have my driving licence but havnt driven now for about 20years.i think I would be a menace on the roads now.
    my husband who is 80 still drives but mainly back and forwards to his allotment. hates going through town.
    Do it if you really want to , will you regret not doing it if you dont?
    best wishes.
    When my friends husband died she took over his motorhome and now goes off with her dog and cat for shot breaks along the coast------wow brave in my eyes.

  9. From John in Colorado:

    Thanks again Jane. I think Walter is one of your best.

  10. Have you checked the map to see if there are slow roads that stretch across the US of A?

  11. People who inspire...perspire.
    To celebrate her 90th, an aquaintance, went sky diving.
    Just do it. Sounds like a lovely side road travel plan. What an adventure! God bless you, Love, Loretta