I had some time this morning before I needed to get to the airport, so I swung by the Albuquerque Indian Center (or tried; it wasn’t actually where the GPS said it would be) and then visited the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
Then it was time to go.
My trip (excluding connecting flight stopovers) entailed 11 states (in order of appearance): Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Mexico. All but two (TN and IL) were new to me.
I spent 14 nights in 8 hotels. I used two rental cars. I drove over 2500 miles (2283 in the road trip portion, plus 282 in NM) and filled my tank at least 8 times along the way (a feat that you have to have lived in New Jersey or Oregon to truly appreciate).
As a point of comparison, according to Google maps, it would have taken 2905 miles to drive from home to San Francisco… The miles I drove, stretched out directly west, would have gotten me most of the way through Nevada from the East Coast.
I saw new places, and tried new things. I discovered that birds of prey look regal and impressive soaring overhead, but it’s disconcerting to turn a corner on a lonely road and startle one picking at roadkill. I visited places that gave me a surreal out-of-body sensation, and places that felt happy and homey. I had days where I could easily have put in several more hours behind the wheel without blinking an eye, and at least one day when I couldn’t wait to arrive and be done with it. I completed what on paper seemed like a major challenge, and learned that in reality I could easily have covered more ground. I learned that it’s definitely better for me, especially when visiting a city, to have an overly ambitious schedule and have the option to skip some items, than to wing it (aka flounder about) when I arrive… but that asking the locals what they would see with just one day gives people a chance to tell you what they love about their hometown, and might even reveal a few hidden gems.
I saw parts of the country that people fly over – and because of the distance I can see why – but now I know for sure that they are missing quietly beautiful things in the tradeoff.
I met lovely people everywhere I went, including a brand new member of my own family.
It was a great chance to simply be away, and simply be, and I am so thankful for it.
And tonight, when I land at home, I’ll be very thankful and happy to see some of the people who make my “real” life full and blessed.
Thanks to everyone who shared this journey with me. (My usual semi-random flotsam will be deadly dull by comparison, sad to say.)
And most of all, thanks be to God, who is so abundantly Good in all things.
– – – – – – – – –
The links you probably missed in my previous posts, all courtesy of 50 States Design Project: