Growing up in a small town in the Midwest during mid 20th century. Various philosophies and impressions formed and insights revealed resulting in attitudes and actions for the 21st Century.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

First trip continued

Continuing post, trip to great north west.

Coming out into the heat, I turned to Joe and pleaded to go back to the mountains where we left the windows open to cool off and had to wear jackets after dark to stay warm. He asked why would anyone want to live here when they could live up there. We had a resulting conversation about the very high cost of homes in Jackson and Driggs. It is amazing how many pointless conversations we can involve ourselves in to take our minds off the HEAT!
We pressed ever eastward, reaching Salina Kansas in the afternoon. We finally were headed home on I-135 and from there to I-35. Since we live only a mile and a half from I-35, it felt wonderful to really be heading home.
Our original plan was to arrive home on Sunday afternoon but with the smell of the stable in our noses, we did a full 12 hour day of hard, hot driving to get home by Saturday night. We did the whole bit about having a roomy home again, lots of water, our own bed, a roomy shower, Missy with her doggy door (no more walks at dark and dawn) and our own computers.
I had the laptop most of the trip. Charting our course with the GPS receiver. Yelling stuff like, turn here!! change lanes!! don’t change lanes!! we just missed the turn!! Hundreds of dollars of hardware, software, and other technical goodies and we still could miss a turn.
When not calling out directions, I would draw or work on this account. Some of it I actually typed while riding through the countryside.
When we stopped in Gutherie (30 miles north of OKC) for dinner, we were too tired to go home and cook, we were unable to start the generator so we could leave Missy in the Couch Mobile. When the gasoline level is below a quarter tank, the generator won’t run so that you can’t drain the gas tank dry. By then the sun was nearly down and the Couch Mobile was in the shade. We thought that she would be fine with the windows open and the fan on. We opened the windows, turned on the fan, and put out fresh water with ice cubes. We made sure it was comfortable, got out, locked the door and started for the restaurant. Boy howdy! You never heard such a ruckus in your life. She stood on the back of the sofa, next to the screen and yipped, howled, whined and carried on like she was being hung over the grand canyon by her back leg. We looked at each other and laughed as we headed back to the Couch Mobile. We wouldn’t be dining out tonight it seemed. However, as we prepared to leave, Joe noticed that the gas station next to the restaurant had pretty good prices on fuel and put in enough to bring it back up to half a tank. The Couch Mobile holds 100 gals. For those of you who have an interest in such things, we average around 9 mpg.
We drove back to where we parked the Couch Mobile the first time, turned on the air and went in and had dinner after all.
Full, tired and finally cool we rolled down I-35 toward home. I asked Joe, “Why, when we were so glad to go, we were so very glad to be coming home?” He said “That is the point of a vacation. It makes home such a great place to go to.”
The familiar highway stretching ahead of us made me feel peaceful and happy as I reflected on all we had done, seen and experienced. The highs, the lows, the growing and stretching of our hearts and spirits. We drove nearly 3,000 miles. We came home safe and sound, loaded with souvineres, memories and experiences.
Some After thoughts:
When people come to the US from other lands, the one thing that seems overwhelm them the most is the vastness of our country and the network of highways. The great northwest is a perfect example of this. Four lane highways as straight as string cross the huge, vast open fields and prairies. Many other highways snake around the foothills and mountains, over passes and through tunnels. Most of these roads are in very good condition, smooth and well marked. An invitation to just take off and see the U.S.A..
Each of the states we passed through had their own distinct and beautiful features.
We began our trip in Oklahoma. We spent some time in each of the following states, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.
Oklahoma, our starting place, is home to us. It has lakes, rivers, high plateaus and hills. Oh, and the wind comes sweeping down the plains.
Kansas is a lot like it but a bit greener. However, on I-70 where we spent all of our travel and camping time, it is flat. Not just flat but mostly devoid of human habitation. Flat and empty and big. Those vast flat lands were rich with growing things. Corn, wheat, enough food to feed millions of people. The line, “amber waves of grain” from the song “America the Beautiful”, had to have been written about Kansas wheat fields. It does something proud-like to your heart to see the vast fertile fields, bursting with ripening grain. As I write this, I am thankful for the again for the blessings of God on this land, thankful to be an american.
Colorado, just next door to Kansas, starts out with fields but majestic mountains begin to pierce the sky on the far side of Denver. Rocky mountains tower over all going so high into the sky that not even hardy trees can exist on the barren slopes. Snow falls heavily in the winter and some of it stays on those lofty peaks all year long. Clouds crown the mountains and cloak the slopes. Eagles and other great raptors soar freely and ride thermals to greater heights than other birds dare to go. In the spring, when the snow begins to melt, rivers swell with the pure clean water that, over centuries, has carved winding paths through even the rockiest of canyons.
We drove north out of Colorado into Wyoming on I-25 with the mountains on the left, the prairie on the right. We turned west onto I-80 at Cheyenne. I had never been in Wyoming before and didn’t have any idea what to expect. It was a curious mix of Kansas and Colorado. Mix up the mountains and plains, you should get a lot of empty rolling hills. That’s Wyoming on the south and middle. Again there were not very many trees or cities. But boy was there lots of earth and sky. At one point we saw ridge after ridge of wind generators. The way the wind blows up here, I could see why the high ridges was an ideal place for them. The empty fields in Wyoming seemed to be pasture for cattle, horses, antelope and bison. The biggest crop that I spotted appeared to be oil. We saw a refinery or two along the way.
The open plains and foothills of Wyoming possess a ruggedness and wild beauty. These rolling hills could be very deceptive. As we would begin to go up what seemed to be an average hill, our Couch Mobile would drop down into a lower gear and begin to claw and growl it’s way to the top. From all of the snow fences we spotted alongside the highway, my guess is that lots and lots of drifting snow can be a real problem. There were even barriers on the interstate that could be closed across the road, shutting down the highway completely. We just looked at each other when we saw that, eyebrows raised. Both of us wondered just how bad snow could be that would require shutting down an interstate highway.
From the rolling foothills we drove northward into the Tetons and Jackson Hole. The mountain ranges were a sight to behold. Going home was just the reverse. We enjoyed the sights all over again.
It was a trip that we will remember for many years to come. We want to go back, we will go back, we did go back. I guess that is the sign of a good vacation. We left wanting more.

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