In this chapter, we learn more about how our narrator ended up on a road trip with her grandparents, Gram and Gramps.
It turns out that it was only after our narrator had tons of adventures with Phoebe that Gram and Gramps drove up to Euclid from Bybanks to see their granddaughter.
From Euclid they decided to take their favorite (and only) grandchild on a road trip. They would drive 2,000 miles west to Lewiston, Idaho.
She was totally not excited to go on this road trip, but she had to do it. Her dad, on the other hand, was glad that our girl was going, because her grandfather has a hard time reading maps. If that sounds like a silly reason to you, well, you're not wrong.
But our narrator knew the "real reasons" why everyone wanted this road trip to happen:
1. Gram and Gramps wanted to see Momma, who was resting peacefully in Lewiston, Idaho.
2. Gram and Gramps knew that I wanted to see Momma, but that I was afraid to.
3. Dad wanted to be alone with the red-headed Margaret Cadaver. He had already seen Momma, and he had not taken me. (2.5)
Our narrator tells us that her dad had yet another reason to be happy she was tagging along for the ride: her Gram and Gramps had a knack for getting into trouble.
Once they decided to go on this trip, it felt like they were racing toward a finish line or something. They felt like they needed to hurry to get to Lewiston. What's the rush, guys?
Turns out our narrator believed that she needed to get to Lewiston in time for her mother's birthday (in seven days).
When they started the road trip, our girl was totally terrified that they were going to get into an accident. She hates cars and buses, so she prayed to the trees to keep her safe.
Our narrator tells us that her name is Salamanca Tree Hiddle (finally, a name!). Her mother loved trees so much that she wanted the word "tree" to be part of her daughter's name. Most everyone calls Salamanca "Sal" for short.
On the first day of their road trip, Gramp asked Sal to "spin us a yarn," meaning tell them a story (2.17).
That's when Sal decided to tell them about the adventures of "Phoebe Winterbottom, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic" (2.22).