In Sharon Creech’s novel Walk Two Moons, the protagonist is a young girl named Salamanca Tree Hiddle, or "Sal." Sal is very sad that her mother left the family. After her mother’s departure, Sal and her grandparents take a road trip to retrace the mother’s route.
On their road trip, Sal tells her grandparents stories about Phoebe and the secret messages that show up on Phoebe’s doorstep. This is another sign of how similar Sal and Gramps are. She is the storyteller in the car on their road trip, but she also says, “I certainly do know heaps of stories, but I learned most of them from Gramps.”
Sal and Gramps have other things in common, including how family oriented they are and the sense of nostalgia they share. For instance, Sal says of Gramps:
Probably the most precious thing in the whole world to Gramps—beside Gram—was their marriage bed ... One of the stories that Gramps liked to tell was about how he and all his brothers had been born in that bed, and all Gram's and Gramps' own children had been born in that same bed.
Gramps likes the sense of continuity the bed symbolizes for him. Similarly, Sal is seeking that sense of continuity in retracing her mother’s route. Gramps understands this about Sal. She writes:
It was not really because of that [map reading] skill that I was going, nor was it to see the 'whole ding-dong country' that Gram and Gramps were going. The real reasons were buried beneath piles and piles of unsaid things. Some of the real reasons were:
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.
Moreover, Sal respects Gramps’ feelings about family. When he pats the bed in the motel each night and says, "Well, this ain't our marriage bed, but it will do,” Sal lays “in the next bed wondering if [she] would ever have a marriage bed like theirs.” She and Gramps are so alike in their emotions and love that she hopes one day to be as happy as he is.
Before Gram is bitten, Gramps tells the boy who accuses them of trespassing,
“See that knothole? Watch what this here chickabiddy can do to a knothole.” Gramps winked at me. ... I pulled my arm back and tossed the rock straight at the tree. ... The boy stopped rummaging through Gramps' pockets and eyed me.
In this scene, it is almost as if Gramps and Sal are completely in sync with one another.
After Gram dies, “Gramps lay down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. 'Chickabiddy,' he said, 'I miss my gooseberry." Gramps and Sal understand one another. Just as he misses Gram, his gooseberry, Sal misses her mother, Momma.
The reader finally begins to understand what happened to Momma. Sadly, she was involved in a fatal bus crash and the family is really going to visit the site of the accident and her grave. Although Sal has difficulty facing the finality of this, the trip with Gramps and Gram helps her confront reality. She says of the place where her mother’s accident occurred:
It was a pleasant place ... and there, on a little hill overlooking the river and the valley, was my mother's grave. On the tombstone, beneath her name and the dates of her birth and death, was an engraving of a maple tree, and it was only then, when I saw the stone and her name—Chanhassen "Sugar" Pickford Hiddle—and the engraving of the tree, that I knew, by myself and for myself, that she was not coming back.