The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.
Mt McKinley, Alaska
Well, I finally did it. I got over vacationing. I'm officially ready to go home. Not homesick (or not just, anyways), but tired of being on the road. I think it's been coming for a while. All the wanting to stop and look at home goods for decorating. Making plans for things I want to do when I get back. But I think I was so caught up in hating being in Texas, that it wasn't until I got out of there, that it was obvious that it wasn't just Texas. It was wanting to be home. So, I'm scrapping some of my plans. Instead of heading up to the NE next, I'm going to stay at home. Thankfully, I have friends willing to put up with me. :-) And at the end of Sept/all of Oct, which is my next free time, I think I'll come home again. Maybe do some of the NE then, but maybe just stay there, since I need to be in KY in Nov anyways for the US Dressage Finals. So, I don't get to all 50 states this year. It really doesn't matter. That's not what this year was about. I am still going to Hawaii, which means I will have been in all 50 states, overall, just not in one year. And that's what's going on right now. Back to the stories.
I will get back to Alaska, but I think at this point, it would be easier to wrap up the last few days, then come back to it. So.....
I left Texas on Saturday morning. The original plan was to leave Wed or Thurs after getting back from Alaska early Tuesday morning. However, I did not factor in how sleep deprived I would be at that point, both from the business of the trip, but also from difficulty sleeping due to 24 hour light. Thursday, I drove up to Dallas to have birthday lunch with a friend, which I had hoped to do on my way out of town, but it was just not going to happen. Had an excellent lunch, and other than having to deal with Texans who freak out when driving in the rain there and back, it was a great little day trip.
I chose Saturday as leave date, because there was a pow-wow in Oklahoma this past weekend, and I wanted to stop in and visit it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it (not at the address listed), so I continued on to the next stop, which was a wildlife refuge. I had already found a square dance for that night, so by the time I got to the wildlife refuge, didn't have a whole lot of time for exploring, but did see a great blue heron, and a small crane by the lake, and some more prairie dogs in a field. Then, had a great time driving up to OKC on the back roads. Looking out over the prairies at the horses in the fields and the green pastures. And at one point, while I was getting off the interstate and onto a back road, there were prairie dogs in the little cloverleaf pattern area. One scampered across the off-ramp right in front of me, and I managed to avoid him. Made it safely to square dance without any further excitement. They had a great caller, and it was a lot of fun dancing. Everyone was very welcoming, and I even won a door prize (cash!). Then headed off to the place I was staying for the night.
Before I went to Alaska, I was hanging out with a friend in Texas at the house of the family she lived with. They had some friends visiting from Oklahoma, and we ran into them outside. We were discussing where we were from, and randomly, they said I should come stay with them when I came through OKC. I laughed at the time, thinking it was crazy that someone who had just met me (even if they were friends of friends) would invite me to stay, but I ended up taking them up on that offer, and I'm so glad that I did. It was great meeting them, and we got to talk adoption a little bit, as they are getting ready to adopt. The next morning, got up and went to church with them, which was also awesome. The worship was great, and the pastor was talking about rebuking the right thing. The sermon was based on when Jesus was with the disciples in a boat on the water, and was sleeping when a storm came up, and his disciples went nuts. When they woke him up, he rebuked the wind, and spoke peace to the waves. He discussed how the waves were caused by the wind, so Jesus didn't need to rebuke them, he just spoke peace to them. How often in our lives, we get caught up in the situation, and rebuke the situation, but don't deal with the underlying cause. How often, we get anxious and depressed, either in general or over specific situations, but the problem is not the anxiety/depression, it's the fear and lack of trust in God that is causing it. It was a good word. After church, we went out to lunch at Ted's Cafe Escondido. Oh my goodness. The prices for the meals were a little more expensive then I was used to (around $16), but so many extras come with that. Sopapillas after dinner are free (and good!!!!). When you sit down, they bring you tortilla chips and fresh flour tortillas, along with salsa, and offer queso and a hotter salsa (all free). And then they keep bringing those things until you tell them to stop. Most of the time, you don't even finish what you have before they're bringing more. Service was awesome, food was great, and if you go home hungry from there, you have only yourself to blame!
When dancing on Saturday, people invited me to dance at 2 dances on Sunday as well. I was unable to make the Sunday afternoon one, but did make the evening one, and had a great time again. Their caller does an awesome job of throwing in some DBD and some challenging moves in with the regular things, so you have to think. I love it when they do that. Someday I will be able to do that.
The couple I was staying with were generous enough to let me stay one more night, and so I was able to get a good night's rest before heading out the next day. Took Rte 66 for a while, then planned to head back towards the center of the state, and go up to KS, before heading over to NC. That's when I realized how much I just wanted to go home and not be on the road, so I got on the interstate and headed to NC. Passing through MO, it was fun to see several Amish horses and buggies. Then, an amazing thing happened. I got to Eastern TN on I40, driving through the Smoky Mountains, and so much closer to home than I had been in a while. And it was like a weight just lifted off my shoulders. I was in my mountains. I was almost home.