In 2006, Tim bought a new used truck, a Nissan Frontier. It was an act of faith on his part. He had just decided to leave his hometown of Keene, NH and follow his heart to Northampton, MA. Leaving his hometown meant leaving his jobs — one as a farmer for a CSA, the other as a salesman at his family's clothing store — and all of the security that they provided. He moved for love, to discover what might happen between us, to see what a shared life might bring. Little did either of us suspect.
Just over three years later, we were acting on faith once again. The world economy had been pummeled by the Credit Crunch and it was clear to me that my small business would suffer in the coming year. Not wanting to sign another lease — much less for the increased rent that our landlord was demanding — we had decided to give away most of our earthly belongings and hit the road. While the world contracted, we would expand. While everybody else guarded their hordes like dragons, we would open our wings and fly toward the horizon.
The three of us — Tim, Mazy and me — loaded what few belongings survived the Potlatch and started driving. The Frontier had started off as a pickup truck; now it had become a home. We started off a family; we became a pack. We renamed the Frontier Rainbow, for it is a most auspicious symbol. For 22 months, we rode the rainbow, traveling back and forth across the country. We slept in a tent and cooked on a camp stove. We did everything together, as together as together can be. We occasionally crashed with friends or house-sat for traveling friends, but for most of those 22 months, we spent every waking hour with each other, learning each other, solidifying our bonds of love.
Rainbow handled the thousands and thousands of miles without complaint. Apart from the scheduled maintenance, we rarely concerned ourselves with her. She was our faithful pony, carrying us wherever we desired, from the San Juan Islands to Cape Hatteras; from Acadia to Patagonia. We decorated her with feathers we found along rivers, with rocks we dug from the desert soil.
When we decided to put the traveling life on hold and settled for a while in Santa Fe, Rainbow had a much-deserved rest. For two years she sat in front of our little house on Brae Street, suffering the indignities of the occasional ding, the minor decays brought on by the desert's incessant sun and insatiable dryness. And still, we thought little of her health. Just as we rarely worried about the health of Mazy, the golden heart of our pack. We assumed, as all lovers do, that we would be together forever.
Mazy died unexpectedly and suddenly in May of 2012. It was a terrible time, one that I am not brave enough to return to now. She died in the bed of the Rainbow Frontier, the truck that became a home, a home that, consecrated by her death on the Supermoon, became a heart. It was a shock that disrupted our sedentary lives and sent us careening on a new trajectory. We would return to the nomadic life, would let the The Endless Roadtrip carry us even further, beyond the boundaries of our home country.
We had dreamt of this leap for years, but were unwilling to leave our dear girl Mazy behind. With her death, a new freedom was possible. We had lost some of our easy faith in the benevolence of the world and we needed to reacquaint ourselves with its power. We would once again act in faith, step off the precipice, and trust that the universe would rise up to meet us.
Two years — to the day — after we arrived in Santa Fe, we left it in our rear view mirror and returned to the open road. We drove all the way back to the place we first met and fell in love. All that was left to do was drive across the country one more time, so that we could catch the flight that would take us to Bangkok and beyond.
On that western return, we only got as far as Sandusky, OH. There, Rainbow's engine light came on, followed by her oil light, and then, on the shoulder of 80/90, she shuddered to a halt. We had her towed to first one mechanic and then another. We spent three nights at hotels, hoping that she would be fixed and that we could resume our journey. The estimates for how much it would cost to put her right began to increase alarmingly. What started off as $1000 became $4000-7000. And just as suddenly and unexpectedly as Mazy was taken from us, we found ourselves saying our final goodbyes to the Rainbow Frontier.
She was a fine pony and and we loved her. It is impossible to know if we made the right decision; all we know is that we had to decide and so we did. Perhaps the mechanic we brought her to lied to us so that he might have a few extra dollars in his bank account. Perhaps he saved us from a more difficult circumstance. But in the end it doesn't matter. We were asked to surrender her and so we did. It was not easy. Saying goodbye to family — flesh or fur, metal or meat — never is.
Here is to the Rainbow Frontier, our peaceful warhorse, our four-wheeled haven. We thank you for the countless miles and the infinite vistas. We thank you for reminding us how little we need to be happy. We thank you for revealing how love and faith and adventure can forge two men, a dog, and a used pickup truck into something that transcends loss and absence: a soul family; a karmic pack.