Once PLEASURIA: Take As Directed was published (Koehler Books, November 2018, get the book at http://bit.ly/pleasuria), I needed to decide what to write next. Should I return to the Guardian Angel series and write a third book, another dark murder mystery? I did promise my good friend, Agent Fike, that I would make him the main character in the sequel to Guardian Angel: Indoctrination, where he was first introduced. Or should I continue the saga of Detective Jason Longfellow, amateur private eye (and FDA drug reviewer) from PLEASURIA?
As it turned out, this was a fairly easy decision. While PLEASURIA was in some ways more challenging to write than the dark murder mysteries, I got a tremendous amount of joy out of writing it. I also succeeded in finding a publisher. So, I decided to write a sequel to PLEASURIA.
The main characters, Dr. Jason Longfellow and his wife Chelsea, were developed in PLEASURIA. I wanted to write something that would take advantage of their loving though somewhat volatile relationship. What better way to do this than to throw them together in an RV with their three young daughters on a cross-country trip? I also chose to continue the theme of a medical comedy murder mystery, staged in the pharmaceutical industry.
In July of 2016 I took a thirty-day, 7600-mile trip across the US and back with my youngest daughter, 23 at the time. That trip was one of my greatest blessings. I have thousands of photos, and I decided to use it as the basis for this sequel to PLEASURIA. I am calling the book Doctor/Detective Longfellow and the Traveling Killer. The information that I gained from our awesome tour of the good old USA will provide the basis for the backdrop to the story. This will include the places, scenery, distances, differences in the terrain, climates and people of our magnificent country. The remainder of the story will be pulled from my imagination.
I am thirteen chapters into the new book, and I don’t want to divulge any early spoilers. So, I will instead tell you a little about the actual trip. My daughter shared half of the driving, and our 2015 Subaru Outback performed to perfection. No, this is not a Subaru advertisement, but it is one hell of a car for traveling.
We planned the itinerary together, and we stayed at Marriott hotels along the way. For most stops, we stayed a couple of days to site-see and sample the local cuisine. Since I have a bad back, my daughter did most of the loading and unloading of the car. She was a real trooper, although don’t tell her I told you so. We took the southern route to California (in July), drove up the California coast to Gold Beach, Oregon and took the northern route home. Since this was a thirty-day trip, I’ll just hit a few of the highlights.
Just before we left, I had a crown put on one of my wisdom teeth, and apparently it didn’t work so well. I started the trip with a toothache. By the time we got to Shreveport, Louisiana, I was in agony and ready to turn around and head for home. My daughter suggested that I might want to go to the dentist, where I was told that I needed a root canal (Yay!). So, root canal it was. I got through the night with Ibuprofen and icing my jaw until it was frozen. Next morning, it was off to Abilene, Texas.
In Abilene, we saw the Frontier Heritage Museum, with excellent holograms of various western characters, and we learned that a guy named Tom Maura killed off all the buffalo. We didn’t like him.
In El Paso, we discovered that the main roads are all elevated above ground, confusing my GPS (fondly known as Myrtle), and the traffic was nuts. It was also 116 degrees, and I thought the tires were going to melt off the car. We went to the Border Patrol Museum, which was very interesting, and we ate at the Cattleman’s Ranch, the best New York strip steak I’ve ever had.
Tucson, Arizona was blazingly hot, but also one of the highlights of the trip. We visited a Titan Missile museum, one of fifty-two old Titan missile defense bases from the cold war. It was awesome, and fairly cool since most of it was underground. Then, we went for some authentic Mexican food. One of us suffered mightily that night (enough said about that).
We stopped in San Diego, where we walked about a bazillion blocks to San Diego bay. It was worth the walk. Then we drove as far around LA as possible and on up through wine country and the redwood forest to Gold Beach, Oregon.
We got there around three o’clock, our hotel was on the beach, and it was sunny. So, we threw on our bathing suites and headed down to the beach. We immediately turned around and headed back to the hotel. It was fifty-five degrees and breezy, and one of us turned blue. So we went from 116 degrees to 55 degrees in a couple of weeks in July. It’s a big, beautiful country.
I had some difficulties with the camera on my iPhone. I have large hands, and it has small keys and buttons. At one point, my daughter told me to quick get a picture of the California state sign. She was collecting photos of all the state signs. It was coming up fast, I fumbled with my iPhone, almost throwing it out the window. Daughter, “Dad, did you get it?” Me, “No Daughter, I did not?” Then, later while she was driving us through Oakland, she asked me to take video as we passed by Oracle Arena, with a giant picture of Stephen Currie on the side. I thought the round red button meant the video was running, but it was the square red button. Daughter, “Dad, did you get it?” Me, “No Daughter, I did not.” She may still mention these inconsequential errors to me from time to time.
She drove across Montana while I was napping. At one point, I woke up and discovered that according to the speedometer my Outback has no problem doing 110 mph. After a small stroke, I asked her why we were moving at light speed. Her response was, “Because we can. I always wanted to go over a hundred.” I didn’t take any more naps.
We survived the Badlands, saw lots of buffalo in Custer State Park, went to a great museum in South Dakota and saw a display of famous people from the 1960’s, visited Mount Rushmore, stayed in beautiful downtown Madison, Wisconsin (my daughter loves her some cheese), and generally had a most excellent trip.
I am happy to say that we got along very well, made some awesome memories and had a wonderful time. I was sad when it was over. But, I still have thousands of pictures on my iPhone (in spite of my large and clumsy hands), wonderful memories and an idea for my next book. It doesn’t get any better than that!