goodbye to these clear Western skies moment~

Since last July, when we pointed our car West, following Chuck’s post-op follow up, we have had one adventure after another.  Our travels took us to Missouri and Pony Express country,

 Springfield IL, and Abe Lincoln’s tomb.

Kansas-where the sky opened up for us and I breathed fully for the first time in months.

Colorado-where we visited with my dad, climbed the Great Sand Dunes outside Alamosa and spread my brother’s cremains.

Grand Junction -where we surrendered to the beauty of the day at Independence Pass and the Continental Divide.

Utah-where we marveled at the Bonneyville Salt Flats.

Nevada, where we stood at the summit of a hang glider launch pad with the wind at our backs.

Oregon-oh my goodness, the memories there!  North Bend and a small house party with family, house-sitting for our daughter and son-in-law, biking through the vineyards, gourmet cupcakes, dancing to a live rock n’ roll band with the kids and their friends til the wee hours of the morning, a Crater Lake hike, hoop-jams in the park, hikes to Table Rock, picnicking at Lake of the Siskiyous, belly dancers and curtain climbers on First Friday in Ashland-we filled that month and a half with all that we could!  Goodbyes and the journey south along the California coastal routes , Redwoods, Big Sur, meeting cousins for the first time, seeing old friends from New Jersey now living south of San Fran, stays at lovely, sometimes out-of-the-way military bases (we really scored on those!), lighthouses on the shore on perfectly blue-skied days, Danish Days in Solvang, treacherous drives along switch-backed mountain roads with hairpin turns and curves, Ronald Reagan’s stately and heart wrenching library and tomb, cemeteries where rested folks whose names I’ve always known (Roy Rogers and Dale Evans), cemeteries where rested people known only locally but who came from across the world long ago to assist the Union Army with their…yes, camel experiment!
Then to Arizona and our oldest son Snads-such a brief time there, but long enough to spend a day watching water spouts and taking fun pictures, welcoming our daughter and son-in-law as they arrived to start a new life there, anniversary dinners at THE best pizza joint ever (Two Hippies Pizza-go there immediately!), with the friendliest owners ever!
Warm summer evenings chilling out by the pool, experiencing my first “haboob”, doing nothing special but having treasured times with people we love mightily!  More goodbyes as we reluctantly pointed our car Eastwards, towards Las Cruces, New Mexico,  Dyess AFB near Abilene, Texas (we are returning there-there’s some major Wild West history going on!), Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas, and, as of this moment,  Muskogee, OKlahoma, making this our final state to visit in the lower 48. Tomorrow, we’ll be in Missouri again, then Illinois, and  Indiana.

We have much to look forward to in the next couple months: our kids in New England, Thanksgiving with people who are extended family to us, my angel sisters in NJ, two months along the Florida Gulf, Key West (avoiding chill weather in the Northeast!). We’re going to love every minute of it-and all the while, I am going to be missing these Western skies.  I love the vastness of the West, the open skies that reflect the spacious terrain, sailing along in our Escape-the soul-lifting blue out the car windows, the puffy clouds as I gaze out of our open sunroof, the road stretching out in front of our windshield, looping, arching, winding, able to see for miles ahead.  Leaving Texas was emotional-each time we’re there, I fall in love with it more (basing that feeling on little more than the feeling it gives me-rolling hills, low brush, open.)  I love the West, we love the West, it’s so hard to leave-its that “itbreaksmyhearttoleave” feeling.  That “Ican’twaittocomeback” feeling.  My heart lifts out here, the spaciousness envelops me and frees me; I am exhilarated.  Just the two of us, our car, the open road, the vast blue heaven overhead, nothing but open around us, enveloped in nature, surrounded by beauty, just us-in love, driving, living our dream. This road awaits our return!


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