Friday, October 17, 2008


It's Wednesday, September 17 and if you count Monday and seven hours of false starts as the first day of a restful Sabbatical, today would be our third day. I was done with my morning run and cool-down by 7am and still had dreams of breaking camp and leaving by 8am. This plan left us with an hour to pack the car (the packing would go even easier since we now know where everything should fit - plus, we'd eaten two meals which would create a few needed extra cubic inches of storage space). Then I'd shower or pretend to be busy while Shawn cleaned up from breakfast and packed the "kitchen." Then we'd shove off from the Grand Island for our next grand destination.

Up to this point our entire itinerary had been a little out of sync. We were still several hours short of where we hoped to be by this time and we knew we needed to get both a quick start and make up on some lost time. We also had no idea where we'd camp tonight. We just knew that Nebraska is a really long state, in a horizontal kinda way, and that we had to get at least to Denver.

A really cool thing about Nebraska is that fuel is much less expensive than back home along the Wabash where the Sycamores grow. Who would have ever thought we'd see fuel prices this low ever again? To see it any lower would probably take an economic catastrophe, like a depression, or something.

When we planned our trip we budgeted for $5 a gallon! We knew we'd see fluctuations along the way. Usually upward fluctuations. You know how it is. The price creeps up a little and we freak out and it creeps up a little more and we freak out again. Then we're relieved and even grateful when we get a few pennies back. And so it goes on until we're used to paying a dollar more than we were a few months ago. And then there is some kind of crisis somewhere, like an applesauce shortage or sunspots, and fuel prices jump up again. I'm sure this is all carefully planned and that we're merely subjects (pawns?) in some grand marketing experiment and the researchers are gathering data on just how much we'll put with before too many of us blow our collective gaskets and become unmanageable.

We filled the tank for just over $30 and Greta (we named our irritable Nuvi and travel companion Greta) calculated our fuel economy at better than 40mpg again. And life was good as we left "the good life" of Nebraska and headed toward Colorado.
Colorado ... the name summons images of the Rockies, hot looking woman at ski lodges, NORAD and celebrities like John Elway, John Denver, Dr. Quinn the Medicine Woman, Mork from Ork and James Dobson.

Imagine my disappointment as we passed the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign only to be greeted by rest areas with Tee-Pees and more of Nebraska...

and Iowa ...
and Illinois ...

and Indiana ...

(And can it be mere coincidence or chance that all those "I" states got stuck together like that?)
Changing the subject, but only slightly, is this a donkey, or a burro? We also saw cows as we came into Colorado. The cows were a little disconcerting. Not that I have anything against cows. In fact I can think of only one time that I've been afraid of a cow. But seeing them at this point in our journey only meant one thing: We still had a very long way to go to get to our as yet undetermined destination.

OK, it meant two things: We were going to be on the road well into the night because we got out a little late this morning.

OK! It took us more than three hours to break camp. We didn't leave until sometime after 10. Even Greta was tapping her fingers waiting on us ...

I wish I could say the reason for our late departure had something to do with dangling my toes in a cool stream, but it turned out that eating all that food didn't really make packing the car any easier.

We stopped for lunch at a rest area and ate under a metal Tee-Pee. Shawn had sworn off ever opening a jar again and so I was the PBnJ sandwich maker while she dug through the car to find our Kiwi and bananas. I just hoped we wouldn't have to repack the whole car after every rest stop.