Cross-Country Trip

Cross-Country Trip Planned for 45 Years from VW Bus to EKKO-But What Happens?

This is the story….

45 years ago, Mitch bought a VW bus. He was thrilled to own it, and we planned to go on a semi-hippie cross-country trip during the summer of 1977. (Hey, Dad, if you are reading this, did I ever mention this plan to you and Mom? LOL) The VW bus had a shag carpet with no seats in the back. Leather fringe separated the front seating and the back sleeping. That’s about it for amenities.

Was I REALLY OK with this? Both of us attended the University of Miami (Florida), and we planned to take off on our adventure after the Spring semester.
Mitch picked me up from the airport in his VW bus the summer before our trip. I frequently flew the LaGuardia to Buffalo route during our summers at home. We drove partway to his house when I asked if I could drive the cute VW with the adorable stick shift and clutch.

Mitch quickly agreed because we were newly dating, and of course, he agreed to every request. 45 years later, not so much!

I got behind the wheel, and we continued down North Forest Road in Williamsville, NY. Suddenly, the Lincoln Continental in front of us stopped short. I panicked and quickly stepped on the CLUTCH! Oops – that wasn’t the brake?
I rammed into the Lincoln.

Fortunately, all the people and the Continental were unharmed. The Lincoln had barely a scratch. But the VW bus was not as lucky. The bus was taken to the VW hospital, where Dr. Mechanic said – stop all life support; this rig is totaled.

I totaled his VW bus and our dream. Hopefully, There will be another opportunity in the future.

Now about that Cross-Country Trip?

The years passed, we married, had three children, and now three grandchildren. We bought KanVan our Ekko RV (No clutch in sight) and talked about the Big Cross-Country Trip.

As detailed in “Wo-MAN makes Plans,” our first time out for the Big Trip, I unexpectedly flew home after two weeks.

Always the optimists (mostly always), we planned again for the Big Trip.
We were ready to leave on a Saturday morning when…

UH-OH Not Again?

A bit of the back story. Our oldest daughter Jessica needs assistance with all daily living skills; she has a rare genetic deletion. At age 40, Jessica lives in a group home about two miles from our house.


The evening before we were to leave, Jessica and our family planned to meet for dinner. Late that afternoon, I received a call from Jessica’s house manager informing me that Jess looked rough and perhaps she should skip dinner. My alarms went off, and I suggested a Covid test, but Jess did not fit the symptom list or protocol for a test. However, my gut told me differently.

Mitch and I went to the house with our test kit. Anybody who has read my previous blogs knows I am pretty experienced with nasal swabs and tests. However, Jessica is a different story. Although she wasn’t feeling well, she felt well enough to push the swab out of her nose. Kelly and I did our best to keep Jess calm as I swabbed her nostrils. Within a minute, two bright lines appeared on the testing tray, indicating positive covid. JESSICA HAS COVID!

Cross-Country Trip on Hold for a Bit

We immediately called her physician, who prescribed Paxlovid, DayQuill, and NyQuil. I questioned the Paxlovid because of possible rebounds, and Dr. Jenny, always wise and caring, said her experience prescribing this drug is excellent. We decided to go for it.

Meanwhile, Mitch and I delayed our long-awaited trip again. What’s another few days after 45 years? Neither of us will leave until we know Jessica is on the mend. We are grateful this happened before we left. Had it happened after, I can see the argument now, me stating, “WE ARE GOING HOME!” You can guess the rest…

Jessica’s symptoms were mild but was this because COVID was blossoming, or was she going to have a mild case? Jessica has a seizure condition. Are her seizures going to start up again? What about coughing and breathing? Jessica does not speak, and for those who have read our memoir Raising Jess A Story of Hope, one needs the ability to read Jessica’s code; understand her non-verbal cues. Was she OK?

Cross-Country Trip
Jess Kept The Mask On For About Two Minutes.

When Jess is awake, her protocol is that she needs to be EYES ON at all times – How do you do that when the individual has COVID? The solution was for Jess to remain in her room with her door open. Jess is watching music videos, and the staff are EYES ON. Jess is not feeling well, so her mischief level is relatively low; therefore, she is not moving around. When a team member enters Jessica’s room, they dress up as if they are undergoing surgery. Full PPE garb.

Cross-Country Trip
Meesh wearing FULL PPE with Jess

The days passed, and we Facetimed with Jess as she smiled and applauded. I saw her essence reemerging. She needs a nebulizer for congestion but is getting back to herself.

Cross-Country Trip
I’m feeling better!!!!

Jess was quickly on the mend thanks to the dedicated, excellent, selfless, empathetic staff at Jessica’s People Incorporated house.

And Finally Allowed to see visitors!

Now about that Cross-Country Trip….

Cross-Country Trip

In Other news: Raising Jess Memoir 2022 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner !! 

Readers' Favorite Gold Medal

Raising Jess Memoir 2022 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner !! 

If You haven’t already purchased, Raising Jess: A Story of Hope – Please consider a copy for yourself, a friend, a teacher, a therapist, a mom, a sibling, or a book lover…

“A truly Enlightening Read” Kirkus Review

As a professional in the field of developmental disabilities for over 40 years, I learned things I didn’t know. I encourage others in the field to read Raising Jess a Story of Hope to help understand the families and individuals you work with.” (Amazon)

This book is a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about special needs families and their day-to-day challenges and triumphs or simply wants to immerse themselves in a compassionate and celebratory world.” (Amazon)

“Couldn’t Put it Down! Raising Jess is an amazing book! I started it at 9 pm and stayed up all night to finish it in one sitting. Vickie Rubin’s writing is masterful! Highly recommend!” – Mike S.

Amazon link and Barnes & Noble Link.

2 thoughts on “Cross-Country Trip Planned for 45 Years from VW Bus to EKKO-But What Happens?

  1. Ab

    I’m glad to hear that Jess is doing better. I’m sorry she got COVID and it must’ve been very scary. But I’m glad you got to start your cross country trip. 45 years later! The photos look wonderful. Keep enjoying every moment.

    1. raisingjessstory Post author

      Thanks, Ab! (Btw , not sure why I was able to reply to you on this thread but not your post)
      The country is absolutely gorgeous from sea to shining sea!
      Thanks for Jessica well wishes.


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