Loping Along

Expansive skies, a far horizon, an open road and time to explore – what more could a woman want?

In my case, not much. I love a good road trip, and it’s been far too long since I’ve taken one. In a day or two, I’ll put the necessities in the car – a clutch of maps, some books, notebooks and pens, a few hand-written notes, a collection of tunes, a laptop and a camera – and head north.

Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri are guaranteed stops. I’ll visit friends and family, tour a museum and see a few historical sights that intrigue me.  Then, I’ll  head south and west from Kansas City, eventually picking up the Santa Fe Trail. I’ll spend time in Chase County, Kansas, memorialized in William Least Heat-Moon’s expansive “Prairy Erth”.  In Council Grove, I’ll visit the places I’ve missed, and then I’ll bunk along the BNSF tracks while I explore the prairies.

In the days of the Trail, Council Grove’s “Last Chance Store” was precisely that – a token of the end of civilization and the beginning of a truly dangerous passage.  It’s less dangerous today but still new territory for me, so I’ll make the jump, continuing on to Dodge City and a less-publicized Four Corners – the place where Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Oklahoma come together.

I might follow the Cimarron cutoff, and visit the grasslands. I might grow inattentive, travel too far west, catch a glimpse of mountains and be lost for days. Or I may edge down eastern Colorado, into New Mexico, where Tucumcari has an extensive collection of interesting cow patties.

Probably, I’ll head into the Texas Panhandle – to Palo Duro Canyon, Paint Rock and the western fringe of the Hill Country. If the trees have changed color, I might stop by Lost Maples State Natural area and enjoy. I might stop by the old Army Camel Corps caravansary, or I might save that for another day.

I’ll be gone ten days, or two weeks, or until the money runs out. While traveling, I plan to post two entries from my archives. I’m quite fond of both, as both explore the nature of travel – at least tangentially.  I will respond to comments, but it may be a day or two before it’s possible, so please be patient.

Taking extra time for a trip eliminates the need to run at the speed of the Pony Express, or cross the plains at a gallop. I’ll be loping along for a while, enjoying the pace of a different time and the presence of people I’ve yet to meet.  You can meet some of them in this video, and experience the rhythm of the days to come.

Comments always are welcome. To leave a comment or respond, just click below. Thanks!
Published in: on October 14, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments (85)  
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  1. “I might grow inattentive, travel too far west, catch a glimpse of mountains and be lost for days.” And this: ” … enjoying the pace of a different time and the presence of people I’ve yet to meet.” Love both those phrases. Beautifully written, as always. The photo of the old motel … lordy, woman, you’ve gone and done it now … I am yearning for a road trip … thank you!

    • Teresa Evangeline,

      That old motel actually was a bunkhouse for railroad workers. The original eleven small rooms have been transformed into three suites with a front porch and a patio behind where you can watch the sun set over the prairie and trains go by on tracks only 50′ away. The surrounding land is virgin prairie, laced with trails.

      I stopped by the place last year and declared to a cocky meadowlark that I’d be back. I can’t go back on a pledge made to a meadowlark, now can I?

      Linda

  2. I’m a few shades of green, but will be waiting to hear (and see) all about it. Safe travels.

    • Well, Martha, I’d say we’re even now. I had a vaguely greenish tinge myself when you set off for that sailing trip in Alaska. If I have even half the good time you seemed to have, I’ll be content.

      Thanks for the good wishes.

      Linda

  3. Hello Linda:

    Wonderful news! Enjoy your trip to the wide spaces, and if you have time, take pictures on the edge of space.

    “Ample room said Daniel Boone.” Best of luck and a safe return home!

    Warm Regards,

    Omar.-

    • Omar,

      Another delightful quotation is attributed to the good Mr. Boone: “I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.” That’s someone I could travel with. Also, Yogi Berra, who said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” No point A to point B for me!

      Thanks for the good wishes. I’m looking forward to it all.

      Linda

  4. Safe travels, Linda. I’ll be with you in spirit.

    • Rosemary,

      The leaves and acorns are on the to-do list. I’ll try to find a real post office for them, though, and not stick them in the bottom of the post office tree. I’ve never mailed leaves before – I’ll try and find some that still have some moisture, so you don’t end up with a pile of dust in a corner of the box.

      Linda

  5. It appears you will be within shouting distance of Son in Enid at Vance AFB. Give him a big holler. He might hear you. If he is up in a plane, he might see you wave. :-)

    Nice tune.

    • Jim,

      I’ll have to holler pretty loud, as I’m only going as far north as McAlester before making a hard right toward Arkansas. On the other hand, if he is in a plane, he might be that far south. I’ll keep an eye out!

      Linda

      • No problem. Keep your eyes on the road. :-)

  6. The first bit of unconventional arithmetic that occurred to me was

    2 x 3 = 4.

    Then I looked a little further and revised that strange equation to

    3 x 3 = 5.

    What I’m driving at—and what you’re soon to be driving to—is the fact that there isn’t a single place where Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico come together.

    There’s one place where Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma come together, and another about 50 miles further west where Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico converge. My first unconventional equation was meant to say that, taken together, the two three-state points of intersection collectively involve four states.

    Then I noticed that some 40 miles south of the second point of intersection is another one where three states come together, this time Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. My second unconventional equation is meant to say that, taken together, the three three-state points of intersection collectively involve five states.

    What state of mind all this will put you in, I don’t know, but I expect you’ll enjoy your trip and have plenty to write about in future posts.

    • Steve,

      Your math-mind is an amazement to me. Of course I knew that “my” four corners don’t come together so neatly as the “real” ones, but never in the world would I have described their relationship mathematically. It’s such fun to see how you do these things.

      Here’s another fun discovery. In Dumas, Texas – a Panhandle town – there’s a bed and breakfast called The Serendipity House. On one of their pages, they actually added the quotation about serendipity being “the faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident.” They left out “sagacity”, but that’s ok. I may have to stop by anyway. Any establishment that quotes Walpole on their website is worth a second look.

      Linda

  7. Enjoy your travels ‘cross the lone prairie…I know you’ll find yourself some colorful characters, good music, and great barbecue. If you do find yourself “lost” in the mountains, just try to be home before the snow falls. Happy trails!

    • ds,

      I don’t know about barbeque, but I do intend on finding a fine midwestern pork tenderloin sandwich, trying what’s billed as the best ham west of the Mississippi in Council Grove, Kansas, and running down a piece of homemade apple pie.

      Wouldn’t it be something to see snow? I was doing some calculating tonight and was reminded again of how large Texas is. The five hours I drive to pop over and see a friend in the hill country could get me well into Colorado from Dodge City. We’ll see – weather is going to be a determining factor. But oh, yes, I’d love to see some mountains. Maybe New Mexico!

      Linda

  8. Have a wonderful time, Linda, but I already know you will milk it for all you can get. I’m hoping that Louisiana will be on your itinerary next time. Seize the day, my friend! And the photo ops!!!

    • BW,

      Geography’s destiny – at least when it comes to travel. It’s beautiful here, but the window for going up to visit my aunt in Kansas City is closing. Now and then a cousin will say, “Why don’t you come up for Thanksgiving or Christmas?” and I just laugh hysterically. I’m done with the hassle of flying, and there’s no way I’m driving that far north in the winter.

      On the other hand, Texas and Louisiana are fine traveling in the wintertime. If you think I’ve forgotten the Chauvin sculpture garden and Schmoopy’s – you’d be wrong.

      Like the bear that went over the mountain, I’m off to see what I can see. I have to keep the excitement level down around here, though. Miss Dixie Rose already is giving me the eye – she’s getting a suspicion that something’s up. Thank goodness I have a kitty sitter I trust!

      Linda

  9. A trip with “probably” and “might” in the planning sounds like the way to go to me! Enjoy!

    • Claudia, I suspect I’d do very poorly on one of those senior citizen tour buses. When I come to the point where I can’t drive, my friends are dead and it’s the only way to get here or there, it might be just fine. But that time hasn’t come, and I intend to make the most of what’s still available to me.

      There’s no question I’ll enjoy the trip – whatever it brings.

      Linda

  10. You know what I really love about this? It’s “I might go there.” And “If the leaves are turning, I’ll do this!” I love the spontaneity and energy, the bits that are planned and those that are to be planned as you journey on. It is filled with joy and anticipation, curiosity and discovery. And really, isn’t that what you are all about?

    • Jeanie,

      It takes one to know one, as the saying goes. Joy, anticipation, curiosity and discovery – they’re so near to the qualities that you list on your blog as being your guiding principles. There’s another one I’d add – I don’t demand perfection. I’ve seen people plan trips down to the nth degree, and then, when things don’t go absolutely according to plan, they become grumpy, unhappy or disappointed.

      The other thing is – if every minute’s planned before we leave, if every experience is detailed, there’s no room for the unexpected. But you know that. Room to breathe is just so important!

      I can’t wait to find something wonderful to share with you!

      Linda

  11. Would you mind very much if I say I’m pea-green over your forthcoming trip?? I love the spontaneity, the lack of a rigid plan. I love the fact that you’ll travel “until the money runs out,” seeing sights and meeting people you haven’t experienced before. And I especially love the idea of not being on a clock and not being responsible for a whole ten days!! Enjoy your time away, and I’m looking forward to your thoughts upon your return.

    • Debbie,

      I don’t mind your pea-greened-ness at all. I’ve envied a few folks myself over the past year, but it just wasn’t possible for me to get away. Now that it’s time to go see my aunt, I decided to push the envelope a bit and – well, just go.

      I’ve always traveled this way when I can. Mom needed much more structure, so it was a different experience when we traveled together. The friends I travel with are equally easy-going, so that’s always fun. Still, there’s something about solitary travel that’s quite different – totally delightful, if occasionally a little too interesting. But I’ve survived “those trips” and expect to survive this one. We’ll see what it brings.

      Linda

  12. Traveling mercies to you and more!! We, your loyal readers, shall look forward to tales you will bring home!!

    • Judy,

      I’m just glad that things are working out in such a way that the current unpleasantness in Washington won’t affect me – at least I don’t think it will. Every national prairie, grassland, and slough that I’m inclined to visit has open trails even if the visitor centers, picnic areas and such are closed. Besides,as we all know, it’s easier to get forgiveness afterwards than permission before, n’est-ce pas?

      I do hope all’s well for you. Stay well!

      Linda

      • I say put on your boots and hike on in!! Can’t wait for the pics and stories!!

  13. Linda, you always find the most fun and appropriate music. I do hope you have a wonderful and safe vacation. So much to see, and we expect to hear the most amazing stories upon your return.

    • Lynda,

      The song itself was written by Ian Tyson, of Ian and Sylvia. This version is new to me, but combined with Stoecklein’s photography, it’s just wonderful.

      I always choose a song to be my “theme” on a particular trip. I let my plans and my destinations help determine the song, then I listen to it a good bit while traveling. What happens is that the landscape and the music meld, and forever afterward, when I hear the song, I relive the experience. The best example is Enya’s “Orinoco Flow”. Until they day I die, when I hear that, I’ll be mid-Pacific again, feeling the deck rise and fall under my feet.

      I just looked and found a new version online that has a gorgeous video. Enjoy!

      Linda

  14. “Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour
    I think you will be writing a lot about what you and Princess have seen.
    Safe travel. Enjoy. You’re in your readers’ thoughts.

    • Georgette,

      Funny, how often we’re on the same wavelength. The quotation from L’Amour is precisely the point of an archived piece I’ll post while traveling. And isn’t it true? Keeping score often takes the fun out of the game, even if the “game” is vacation.

      What interests me most is that some of the posts I began after last year’s journey through Kansas are still percolating – some even have achieved draft form. I’m not entirely a fan of Paulo Freire, but his action/reflection model of education has a lot to commend it. Journey, reflect, study, journey again – it really is such fun.

      Thanks for the good wishes – and best wishes to you as your own “big project” works itself out.

      Linda

  15. Enjoy the trip, I look forward to hearing about it. I just got back from France, letting the miles roll past was very therapeutic.

    Jim

    • Jim,

      Apart from everything else – the food, the people, the sights, the history – I’ve always found the road itself a great joy. I love to drive, and back in the day I could put some miles on. Now, my eyes aren’t good enough for night driving on strange roads, but from sunup to sundown, I love that sense of “eternal present” the road can give.

      The best open road I ever found was US50 through Nevada, back in the days when it was the loneliest road in America. Then, the marketing teams got to work with the slogan, and it wasn’t lonely out there any more. So it goes.

      Welcome home, and thanks for stopping by. Appreciate it.

      Linda

  16. I hope you have a safe and pleasant trip! I would love to do that myself!

    Be careful!

    • montucky,

      You’d better be careful. I was sitting and staring at the map, thinking, “You know, Montana isn’t THAT far out of my way!” But I decided I’d better save it for another trip. If I’m going to go that far, I need to be able to spend some time. One day!

      Linda

  17. Oh, it sounds like you are about to embark on a lovely lovely journey…! I hope you have a WONDERFUL time, my dear….It sounds like you are really looking forward to this trip and all the surprises it holds…! I look forward to reading about it, upon your return. Drive safe!

    • OldOldLady of the Hills,

      I think it will be wonderful. I may begin in rain, but the sun will shine soon enough. One of the things I’m planning to do is stop by the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. I haven’t really explored their website, but I’ll have time to do that before I get there. I’m hoping to find some Thomas Hart Benton – and who knows what other artists might be “hanging around”? They have an installation by James Turrell, whose work I’ve seen here in Houston.

      I hear the grounds are fabulous, too. It will be a nice way to spend a day. I’ve been told this coming weekend in Arkansas is all craft fairs, all the time – perhaps the museum won’t be so crowded.

      I promise to report!

      Linda

  18. That music and photography is wonderful Linda!
    I like the sort of journey where one follows one’s nose, and yours looks like to be right up there with it, especially with the pace off, just loping along. Very glad for you to be doing it, and I look forward to reading the gems later on. :-) Happy travels!

    • eremophila,

      Isn’t that a lovely joining of images and song? And the rhythm’s just right. Right now I’m watching the weather. There’s a bundle of rain between me and Oklahoma and perhaps some flash flood warnings will go up. I’ll see how things are in the morning. I’d rather get going and dawdle in a cafe if things get bad. The best thing is that, behind all the rain, there’s cooler weather! I’m ready to enjoy a real autumn trip, and it looks like autumn is creeping closer.

      Thanks for the good wishes!

      Linda

  19. how fun! buen viaje! you’ll be leaving a trail of smiles as you giddye-up on down that trail! z

    • Z,

      It’s my turn to travel, at last. After watching you flit from here to there and back again, I’m more than pleased to do a little flitting myself. At this point, I haven’t a clue where you are – I think back at your friends’ house?

      Of course, at this point I haven’t a clue where I’ll be tomorrow night – but I won’t be here!

      Linda

  20. Road trip this time of year sounds like heaven. The “travel until the money is a little over half gone then turn around” is the way we did vacations when I was little. It is a freedom to wander and stop as you please. The little prairie dwellers should be busy preparing for winter – there should be much to wonder. (Sigh)

    Lots of the states’ parks and lands are open and welcoming. (The TX parks have done in one weekend the same amount of business as all of most Octobers.) Besides public lands are public lands – buffaloes know.

    One of my trapper ancestors (who came in through MX/early TX) traveled up to St Louis and established a large jumping off trading post up there(apparently his Indian wife had quite a head for business) – I often wanted to visit the “edge of the known world” spots – seen some in OK.

    Travel safely – maybe things will settle down here by the time you get back and you’ll have time to share some stories and pix!
    (Miss D is content with arrangements?)
    GO: have ALLLLLL the fun

    • Phil,

      It’s a big world out there, and plenty of places to wander. I’ve got my fingers crossed. A lovely Nature Conservancy staff member in Topeka told me the grasses on the prairies are just coming into their own, and show promise of being extraordinarily beautiful this year. If my timing’s right, I’ll get to see it.

      Apart from the wonders of nature, check out the link in my comment to OldOldLady, up above. Turns out James Turrell has an installation at the Crystal Bridges Museum, too – I’m anxious to see it, even if I can’t witness a sunset or sunrise show.

      As for Dixie… I’m not sure if this is going to be harder on her or me. She finally picked up on the vibes this morning, and has been either staring at me or rubbing my ankle ever since. Do I feel guilty for leaving her? Of course I do. But I’m still going to do it. (Sigh)

      Linda

      • Safe travels – it sounds glorious (Turrell, too!)
        Assure Dixie we’re nearby if needed.
        Go restore your soul …she really understands.

  21. OH NO! I just got to reading this, in an attempt to really focus on it, and when I read “Council Grove” I stopped!

    Are you gone now? Council Grove is my grandmother’s burial place. The family plot is there…I’ve got to track you down!

    • Martha,

      No, I’m not yet gone – and what an absolute amazement that we should have this connection. I didn’t go to the cemetery last year, but planned to do so on this trip because I’m newly interested in Seth Hays (a founder of the town) and he was one who provided land for the cemetery.

      You can see some pics of the Cottage House in this entry I wrote last year. I’m going to be spending one night there this trip, too – it’s a wonderful place.

      Thanks for sending the other information. I’ll have a chance to look at it before I get to Council Grove. I’ll drop you an email later.

      Linda

  22. I hope you have some time to get lost. You can run across some very interesting things that way. Have a fun, safe trip.

    • WOL,

      Getting lost has a lot to commend it. And for some reason, the thought of getting or being lost reminds me of a favorite line from Paul Theroux: “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”

      Who knows? Maybe I’ll see Lubbock in that rear view mirror. By that time, I may have The Flatlanders cranked up and really be tearing up the miles.

      Linda

  23. Linda, as they say, it’s all up for grabs and your trip is about grabbing and gleaning tidbits of life as you explore favorite and yet to be discovered territory. This semi- charted trip will make for some wonderful stories that will delight your followers who love reading about your keen observations of life.

    Here’s wishing you an enjoyable and very safe trip. I’m hoping that Dixie Rose will not miss you too much. Bless Her Royal Kittyness.

    ~yvonne

    • yvonne,

      I don’t know how much Dixie will miss me, but I know exactly what to expect when I get home, and none of it will be good – at least for three days.

      “Gleanings” a good word. A lot of miles and a lot of days look empty, well-harvested, but there’s still a lot of experience out there just waiting to be collected. I’ll do my best!

      Linda

  24. Oh, oh, oh! How lovely your road trip sounds. I’ve rarely had the luxury of meandering at such a leisurely pace. I’m sure you’ll return with tightly packed memories that you’ll unfold here :-) Safe travels, Linda!

    • nikkipolani,

      I’ve assuaged my hunger for travel with a lot of three day weekends and a few 5-7 day trips over the past decade, but this is the first time I’ve left without a date certain to return. Two weeks is the outside limit – where it actually ends, we’ll see.

      I’m looking forward to it tremendously. I’m sure there will be something to share!

      Linda

  25. Aahh, the romance and hardship of the outback cowboy life (the video — at the 2.34min mark is a B+W pic of a fullfrontal guy with mustache, a deadringer for my late stepbrother when he was in his forties!! Now, as to Frenno, I always thought it was pronounced Frezno….there you go!

    I’m up for a road trip too and wish I was going with you, Linda! Enjoy the trip! :)

    • janina,

      When I was loading the dishwasher this morning, I said to no one in particular, “I really do want to see the mountains again.” Maybe that will happen – even if they’re only in the distance. I know this – when I checked the conditions in Trinidad, Colorado this morning, I made a run back into the closet for some gloves, a hat, and so on. The biggest danger of leaving coastal Texas this time of year is forgetting that most of the world isn’t still in flip-flops and tees.

      The photography’s really great, isn’t it? I especially like the photos of the young men near the end. The tradition lives on…

      Thanks for your good wishes. I’ll try to find a souvenir or two for you.

      Linda

  26. May you travels be refreshing and enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the blog material they’re sure to generate. And, truth be told, I’m a little envious.

    • Bill,

      From what I see in the weather reports, there’s at least going to be a refreshing breeze. After picking up some gloves and a hat, I went into the back of the closet and pulled out my squall jacket and a heavier pair of boots. My inner Boy Scout sometimes serves me well.

      You know, an idle thought just crossed my mind. I wonder how far someone could get on 8,668 tunes? You should give it a try some day. ;-)

      Linda

  27. I’ve got my “Babel Fish” turned on in case you try to transcribe any local dialects you hear.
    If you see Sissy Hankshaw out there give her a “beep” for me.

    • Ken,

      I’ve understood everyone so far, but I’m not making any guarantees about the rest of the trip. As for those cowgirls… well…
      Emmylou did a pretty good job with that subject.

      Linda

  28. Oh I do hope you’re having a good trip! I’ve got a bit behind with blog reading so hoping to catch up. An American road trip sounds very romantic…here you bump into a roundabout before you’ve even got started :) Love the video, if I was 14 again I’d be running away from home…

    And extremely jealous that you’ll be visiting the grasslands and land of Prairy Erth. I’ve got a friend who’s visiting Texas and New Mexico at the moment…she’s going to get me a Stetson…

    Hope you take lots of pictures.

    Au revoir, Sarah

    • Sarah,

      I’ve already had a wonderful trip. Yesterday, in the middle of Oklahoma, I found myself surrounded by migrating hawks. I’ve never seen so many. I thought at first they must have been buzzards, but no – the raptors are on the move, too.

      Oklahoma got rain throughout the summer, so it’s unbelievably green. In some places, the autumn grasses have turned a deep purple – in combination with the vibrant green, they’re stunning.

      Today, I’m heading east rather than west, to the mountains along the OKlahoma/Arkansas border, and to a town that begs to be explored, just because of its name. More about that later.

      Lucky friend, to be visiting Texas. I hear it’s a good place to be!

      Linda

  29. I miss road trips like this. You see the country in a wholly different way–wheel, I guess the real point is you do actually see it. Have a wonderful time, and I’ll look forward to stories from your trip when you return.

    • Auto spell check is a gremlin. That should be well–though wheel has some bearing (and we know what Steve would do to this if he sees it). . . .

      • That’s why I never use auto spell check. If there’s going to be a mistake in my writing, I want it to be MY mistake, doggone it!

        On the other hand, the error reminded me of a wonderful driving song I forgot to add to my playlist – Wagon Wheel, by the Old Crow Medicine Show. Not high art, but the rhythm’s right.

        Linda

        • Hah! But of course I don’t use it either–it uses me! (I often have to write comments first on notepad, then cut and paste, so as not to lose them midstream when I’m not at my computer–and I don’t know how to turn the dang thing off! But, hey, I love that it prompted the association to the Wagon Wheel song. When you’re driving, the rhythm has got to be right!

          • And then there are those unclosed parentheticals, which are always my fault . . .

            • The power of negative example should never be discounted. I do my very best to oblige folks with my own bits of forgetfulness,ignorance and silliness on a daily basis…

  30. Happy trails to you
    Till we meet again
    Some trails are happy ones
    Others are blue
    It’s the way you ride the trail
    That counts
    Here’s a happy one for you

    Travel safe, get lost a lot and have fun!

    • Gué,

      What a great bit of verse! I’m starting to get in rhythm now. Leaving home always feels a bit like getting unstuck from the LaBrea tar pits. Once I’m out and have the residual tar off my feet? It’s time to start poking around.

      I haven’t been lost yet, but I’ve had some fun, including dinner with one of our favorite Oklahoma weather bloggers. Today, it’s the Crystal Bridges museum – and it’s time to hit the road. There’s an hour’s worth of road construction between here and there. Vacations come and go, but the road crews go on forever!

      Linda

      • You can thank Dale Evans for the verse. That’s just a few lines of the song. I’ve been humming it ever since I posted!

  31. Sounds like the perfect pace for a road trip. Have you ever read anything by Willa Cather? As you described your upcoming trip, one of her books came to mind. Talk to you when you return! DM

    • DM,

      I have read some Cather. Any chance you’re thinking of “O, Pioneers!”? It was such a good read, although it’s been a long time since I dipped into it.

      I’ve been sitting here giggling, looking at the temperatures out on the Kansas prairie. Whoo! And snow showers! Well, I’m the one who’s always saying I want to see snow. I’d just prefer not to drive in it. The good news is I always can skedaddle south with the birds if it starts to look really iffy. In the meantime, I’m going to keep an eye out for apple cider doughnuts!

      Linda

      • I just read one of her books- think it was called “Death Comes to the Archbishop ” (or something like that) she was born in the same town as my mother in law, which was how I was introduced to her as an author. I can so see you on the road in Kansas! Have fun and be safe. DM

  32. I’m jealous. I too love road trips, and a prairie sky is so inspiring. I anticipate that in due course we will be the happy recipients of that inspiration! Savor each mile as you find your imagination stretching across the horizon! Allen

    • Allen,

      Land-cruising, that’s what it is. I’ve been a bit surprised to find myself surrounded by old mountains the past couple of days, but that’s what exploring’s all about – surprises.

      I know this – if it stays cold and clear, that prairie sky is going to sparkle in a way the coastal Texas sky only dreams of. We’ll see what happens. By the time I get out there it will be a waning moon, so the stars will have a better chance to stretch from horizon to horizon.

      Linda

  33. Two whole weeks – you lucky girl.

    Travelling the long road
    To see family and friends,
    Four states to cover
    Until finance ends.

    Sunny days, starry nights
    A fair wind at your back.
    Stopping when the whim takes you,
    Deviating from your track.

    Investigate, Experience,
    Savour and delight,
    With photos to remind you
    Then new blogs to write.

    Have fun, safe travels, Linda.

    • Sandi,

      Thanks for your verse! I may make seven states before it’s all over, or it may only be three – depending on the weather, or whatever else slows me down.

      As I mentioned to Pros, it was like getting unstuck from the LaBrea tar pits, getting away from home. Now that I’m well and truly gone, I’m starting to fall into a rhythm. This weekend will be all family, which is good. Then, it’s the open road instead of heading back home, and that is going to be very different. I’ve come across some surprises, for sure, and expect to experience a few more before I decide it’s time to go home.

      But (within certain constraints) I get to decide! That’s the best part of all!

      Linda

  34. We’ve talked about a westbound trip, one that would take a few weeks, but we have to get that new car first. We are leaving tomorrow for a visit with friends and then a week at the beach. I hope you have a wonderful trip. I can’t wait to hear about your latest adventures. Enjoy those cow patties. My very first post on my first blog was a silly thing about cow patties and horse biscuits. :)

    • Bella Rum,

      You’re right. New car first. Part of the pleasure of my last couple of road trips was not having to worry about the car. Princess seems to have a little spunk – she took to the mountains like she’d been climbing them forever, and she’s got what it takes to get out of the way of the – ahem – drivers around a certain Arkansas city who think it’s great fun to pull up on your rear bumper when you’re going ONLY seventy,and then lay on the horn. I’ll bet they’ve never ever heard “The Little Old Lady from Pasadena”.

      Have a great time on your trip. A week at the beach is just as good for what ails us. Is it still warm enough there to wiggle your toes in the sand? Do a little wiggling for me, and I’ll throw a cow chip for you.

      Linda

  35. I was always a great fan of the road trip, but now there are physical realities that prevent some of us from spending too much time in a car.

    Our greatest jaunt occurred in 1975, when we decided to visit my wife’s kinfolk as far off as High Level, Alberta, which is about 1,000 miles north of Montana. We drove from New Jersey to High Level then over the Rockies into British Columbia and down through Washington, Oregon, and California as far south as Sacramento, before turning home. We made 9000 miles from July 3 to August 4, camping most of the way.

    Since our only object was to visit family in Calgary, Edmonton, Manning, and High Level, the rest of the trip was just wandering, and our kids still talk about all the unexpected people and animals and landscapes and human institutions that we encountered.

    • Charles,

      My own traveling routines have changed as a result of declining eyesight. I used to love night driving and often would put in good, long days that began in darkness or ended there, but I gave that up when it became more stressful than enjoyable.

      I’m in awe of your roadie – what fun that must have been for your kids. I’ve only been to Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but would love to visit Alberta and BC. I’d never heard of High Level, so I found it on the map and looked at some photos – including several beautiful shots of the Northern Lights. I’m presuming you didn’t see those, but I’ve read that they can appear outside the “prime” viewing months, so perhaps you did. There’s no question you would have had spectacular skies even without the Auroras.

      The unexpected, the serendipitous and the calamitous – all ingredients for truly fine trips, and years of good story-telling.

      Linda

  36. How wonderful to be off with all that flexibility. Who knows what stories and images you will bring back with you, Linda!

    • Andrew,

      The flexibility is wonderful, and the not working is pretty darned good, too. I’ve already captured one image that’s left me laughing for days. Even better, I’ve a photo or two from the “streets” that I think you’ll enjoy. What’s not to like about children riding a pig?

      Linda

  37. I’ve never been to that part of the country, Linda, but this post has me itching for a road trip. I’ve been to more than half the states, but that whole middle of the country is still a hazy — and no doubt inaccurate — blur. Next year in Oklahoma!

    Meanwhile, happy trails to you, and stay safe.

    • Charles,

      You’d love it here. I suspect Kansas would be even more congenial for you than Oklahoma. Some people call Kansans “bland” or “boring”. They aren’t. They’re nice. So are Oklahomans, for that matter, but folks in Kansas understand people who don’t get down with the whole party scene. ;)

      There were Vikings in Oklahoma, though – or so some people say. More on that later.

      Linda

  38. I hope you have some good foliage in Lost Maples……I am watching the foliage report and we need some cooler weather! Here is hoping that you’ve had a great road trip…Can’t wait to see the pictures!
    By the way, I just love that photo of the cowboy……

    • Office Diva,

      I guess I’m going to miss Lost Maples this time. The color isn’t reported to be very good, and besides – I’m out of time. I’m in Dumas this morning, and heading for home. Funny how trips can come to a natural end – more about that experience later. But it’s been wonderful.

      Best of all, I’m going to be able to maintain my record of perfect weather. I’ll scoot in tomorrow behind the storms that are rolling through Houston right now – perfection!

      There’s a funny story about the vaqueros – I found one in Arkansas, and have his photo to share.

      Linda


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