Saturday, December 5th, 4:14pm CST
Zory and I pulled onto I35 south out of Kansas City with no particular destination in mind. I was looking forward to a lovely sunset to be viewed across the open prairie. Instead, the clouds rolled in and the sun set without our admiration.
I stuck to the original plan of driving through the Flint Hills even though it was dark and no hills, flint or otherwise, could be discerned. Still, it was grand to be driving and on our way at last.
I was able to listen to much of Prairie Home Companion although I had to turn it off during the Lake Webegon news. Does anyone else have problems with Garrison's whistling delivery? No matter how I set the controls, every "s" came through with stinging shrillness. New dentures maybe?!
But then it was time for the Nebraska-Texas game. Listened in wonder at the 1st quarter. Not only did Nebraska hold their own, they actually scored. Even with the bizarre calls by the Refs, it was a fun listen. As we progressed farther west into the southwestern part of Kansas, I began to lose the signal and decided to find a motel for the night and hopefully a restaurant with the game on.
Stopped in Kingsley which apparently has only one motel which turned out to be the worst hole in the wall motel ever. VFW hall next door provided friendly burger and tv with the game on. I won't go into great detail on the motel except to say that I should have listened to Zory. She hated it. I hated it but figured one night wouldn't be that bad. But it was and finally, after constant outbursts by my feline friend, we packed up at 5am and hit the road south.
Yes, I did leave out the end of that game. Sorry, Cousin Alex, I think Nebraska was robbed!
By 8:30am we'd left Kansas and Oklahoma behind and were just about out of Texas too. Another cloudy day and no sunrise to cheer us on but the important thing was that Zory had settled down and we were traveling south.
With the wide open spaces around us, I got into driving mode and Zory caught up on her sleep. Stopping for gas and coffee gave me a moment to ponder a destination for the day. Nothing called loudly so we kept driving. Amarillo was our 1st destination and then across to New Mexico.
As I hit the New Mexico border I stopped at the Information "booth" to see if anything there would inspire a new direction. My friend Susie would have been proud to see how many maps and brochures and catalogs I walked out with. Sitting in the car, Zory and I sorted through the stack and decided to explore Route 66. As we buzzed on and off the old historic route, I checked out several little towns, looking for just the right spot to hang out for the night.
We found it in Santa Rosa, an incredibly friendly, happy little town. I love that it has a ton of water around it from spring fed lakes to the famous Blue Hole, a paradise for all you diving friends.
Zory and I settled in to the local Super 8, a very cat friendly facility. I switched on the tv to check up on the impending storm that had been so much in the news. The storm was still a couple of days away but blowing right through the route I was going to have to take. No matter which direction we chose, there was going to be snow so I decided to take a breather and settle in until the storm passed by.
As of this morning I'm so glad we stayed put. The winds are incredible. They blew in after a furious dumping of snow, complimented by thunder! We went for a dusting at 6 this morning to about 3" and a lot of ice from the wind. To the west, lots more snow and ice. Think we'll just sit it out here and move on tomorrow after the roads have cleared. According to all reports, the winds are so strong that the snow will blow out of the area shortly.
Glad I got out yesterday for a little drive about. Went down to Fort Sumner to explore the sad history that occurred there. Driving back, the sun peaked out briefly across the beautiful landscape of red soil, distant buttes and scrappy plants that grow in spite of the environment.
As I drove, I passed sites that I knew my friends would have stopped to visit. I pondered this. It's not that I don't enjoy visiting historic sites or fun museums like the Route 66 car museum. But I enjoy driving more. No, I NEED my driving time more. It's my head-clearing time. I used to drive so much more and realize now how much I've stuffed away by not having my process-clearing drives. When gas got so high, I curtailed my roaming. Now I realize that it was cheap therapy, even at $4 plus a gallon.
Today’s processing is about the form of this trip. I feel such freedom and am so grateful that I can drive off into the sunrise without guilt. But I also realize that even a life of freedom needs structure and purpose. My stated purpose, of course, is to find my Home. I already know that this part of the country is not it. The landscape is breath-taking but does not call to my soul. None-the-less, the secondary purpose has been to explore this beautiful country. I haven’t spent any time in the southwest since high school. I’d love to revisit some of the incredible canyons that I first hiked while on an incredible high school biology trip.
First stop will be Santa Fe to visit all the places that have been recommended and to spend time with high school pal, Susie. (Yes, another Susie.) From there, I’m thinking north to Bryce and Zion National Parks. Maybe a little Grand Canyon?
The sun is finally out, shining out from the storm clouds and inspiring hope in those of us embarking upon the stormy roads. Think I’ll suit up and take a walk to see how the roads look and the wind feels.