(Well, I think I’ve milked about all I can out of Robert Heinlein.)
Warning: this post contains high-fructose corn syrup.
This October, the husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to take a long weekend trip to Massachusetts. We were not fortunate enough to be able to fly there. (Although I suppose that’s a matter of perspective, because even with the interminable stretches in Virginia and Pennsylvania, I’m pretty sure with the audiobooks and the podcasts and the knitting and the drop-dead gorgeous scenery, we ended up having a much more enjoyable trip than we would have if we’d flown. I myself managed to get a great deal of work done on my Lau socks.)
I don’t know if I’d use words like “need” or “deserve”, but the trip was a nice way to cap off a month of chaos. We’d just moved, completing the entire process from lease signing to truck-unloading* in a week and a half. (The guy living next door to us in our prior, on-the-edge-of-sketchy neighborhood, had had his door kicked in and his gun stolen, which made me very apprehensive about leaving my husband there alone at night with no car, while I was at work. We told our landlord that we felt unsafe there, and luckily they had a property in a nicer area that had just become vacant, and the rent was only a few dollars more a month.) Any move is stressful, but having to do all the associated tasks within an extremely short time-frame was incredibly trying. It was nice to get away from it, and as a bonus, when we got back to the new house, it really felt like home. Plus it was incredibly clean, which is always a treat to return to.
Even though I’d driven to DC, I decided to rent a car for this trip. Our car is a bit of a beast, and I’d much prefer to get 40 mpg to ~22. Plus, that’s a hell of a long drive, and the car is getting to the point where it’s starting to need bigger, more expensive repairs (which it was happy to demonstrate for us the day after we got back), which was not an issue I wanted to deal with 700 miles away from home. I planned out a route that would let us bypass most of the big tolls and the big cities, and as a bonus, I even got to use the Road Trip Planner on Ravelry.
I love the Yarn tab on Ravelry, but I really only use it when I’m going somewhere. What I was used to doing was plugging in the name of the destination city (and any decent-sized city along the way) to the LYS locator, then using Google Maps to see how far off the route it was, so I could decide if it’d be worth a side trip. I made a whole GMap just for LYSes en route to and in Washington DC.
Now there’s the Planner, which is an awesome little tool. You tell it where you’re starting, where you’re going, and how far off-track you’re willing to wander, and it gives you a list of all the shops you could visit. If not for it, I’d never have thought to look in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania for a LYS. But we ended up stopping there, since the shop was right off the Interstate (it was literally visible from the highway), and I got to visit an awesome shop (and bought this gorgeous, wonderfully soft yarn.)
I also used the LYS finder to locate several shops within the Boston area, and I made another map with about half a dozen different ones I’d like to visit. I thought I might get to go with my hostess (who is an occasional crocheter) but with one thing or another, it ended up not working out. Finally, the morning of Columbus day, I ended up just going to the closest shop (Island Yarns in Waltham, Massachusetts) on my own.
What I’d secretly wanted to do was go to Webs. I was only an hour and a half away, dammit!
But really, I wasn’t going to just take off and say “okay, see you in three hours!” to my hosts and my husband. (Actually, the three hours would just be driving. Who knows how long – and how much – I could spend unleashed at Webs.) And I definitely wasn’t going to drag them along with me. It’s a trip for another time – one where I have a lot of disposable cash and at least half a day to myself. It’s not fair to inflict my obsession on innocent bystanders.
I’m pretty fortunate that we’ve been able to take these trips this year, and more so that I have been able to bring home the best kind of souvenir. When I’m knitting up that Itata, or the flamingo-pink speckled Island Yarn, not only will I get the enjoyment I always do out of knitting, but I’ll also have (corn warning) the memories from that trip woven into the fabric. Which, in my mind, is my favorite aspect of having a “yarn passport.” You just don’t get the same kind of happiness out of a shot glass or a visa.
* Not that the end was anywhere near in sight even then. I still had to go back to the old place and spend 12 hours scrubbing the everloving hell out of it, hoping against all odds – and all previous tenant apathy – that I’d do a good enough job to get most of our deposit back. In the end, we got back every cent, and just in time for our car to need its ignition switch replaced.