On The Move Again

Immense CottonwoodMy deadline for leaving St. Paul was a little squishier than usual. It moved from the middle of May, out to late June, and then back a couple short hops to finally rest on June 9. I’d decided to allow my schedule to be dictated by my list of things I’d wanted done, rather than forcing those things to conform to a set time. Even though the time-line kept changing, it turned out to be a far less stressful thing than trying to manage the other way around. Continue reading On The Move Again

Prep for the Prep for Launch

I have this road atlas of North America, an actual paper map book. A gift from my friend Kelly Q. It’s as much a ritual piece as it is a tool, a magic book of choose-your-own adventures.

Kelly's Road AtlasI adore paper maps. It’s a thing, straight from childhood. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car on family trips, where I’d keep track of our progress on a map by watching milestones and landmarks. I would envision our car as a little dot moving along the wandering lines. It pleased me to no end when that imaginary dot on the map coincided with actual progress. (Hm, and now I have digital applications that provide this entertainment with little calculation on my part.)

Yesterday, I laid out Kelly’s road atlas upon my desk and settled in with a nice cup of tea to read it.

I’ll be heading to back to New York state, embarking somewhere mid-May to early June. The destination is firm but I have so many beautiful options on how I’ll get there. Friends and family to visit, art farms to find, and odd little spots to stand in and look out from. Activities and resources will determine the how and the when, so launch day is a little squishy this time around. I’ve got a couple of open ended tasks and some events I’d like to be a part of.

It’s difficult to wait on exciting things. While I like to start my preparations with enough time to take care of unexpected events, I avoid starting too soon. I get fidgety in those quiet moments between planning and realization but I think I’m getting the hang of finding the right balance between living in the now and planning for the later.

A quiet moment with the map book has me calculating distances and backtracking between destinations to determine travel times. This gives me an idea of expenses to prepare for, figuring what I can literally afford to do on my way, and a vague idea of time required to do it. That’s it, that’s all I need to do today.

Just a little toe in the water to settle my ‘what if’s and germinate the seeds of my summer adventure.

Leaving and Arriving

The leaving seems always the natural extension of being on the road.

This Monday, after the last fair weekend, is gentle with the sounds of dismantling and¬†packing. Yet the grounds are quieter than usual, the lighter travelers having already left. Over the weekend we’ve talked of the next landing places, and said our ‘see-ya-laters’.¬†Hugs and smiles exchanged, greetings and good tidings to be passed along. Continue reading Leaving and Arriving

Touring Roving

Floyd, Virgina is musical, green, quiet and comfy. That’s what I’d been told by those friends encouraging my visit. While I had only an afternoon and evening to look around, I see what they were saying and I look forward to a longer stay in warmer weather. I met a friend at a sweet general store in the center of town, housing within it a cafe and music venue. Continue reading Touring Roving

Chi-town to NOLA

I’m on the north side of Chicago, a sunny and cold Saturday morning. The car is packed. Snow is snowing. The morning traffic softens and I head out into the steady stream of drivers.

The first leg of my trip, to east St. Louis, is good and I find the home of my couch surfing hosts with ease. A young couple of rockers with a big and cuddly mixed pitbull. We go out to dinner at their favorite bar for tasty burgers and fries, then I settle in to sleep with the dog while they paint the town. When I’m awake and ready to roll, they are still cozy in bed. I leave a note, give the dog a good rub and head out into the crisp and sunny morning.

The drive toward Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a day of listening to the radio, singing to myself and talking to the ghosts of my past. I make it as far as Springfield, Mo., before settling in to sleep.

Eureka Springs. A sprawling, mountain town riding the saddle of a crest and dripping down into the valley. I stop at one of several information stations to learn this place is laden with artists and seers of all kinds. Festivals and events dot their calendar year round, including a night-lighted parade on the day I arrive. Worth the consideration of extending my stay, however my chief reason for visiting town is the Museum of Earth History and it’s closed, for good. Apparently there weren’t enough tickets sold to support the sweet dioramas of Adam and Eve running with the dinosaurs, or the Tower of Babel complete with human skulls. I visit the Bible Museum across the way, a cool stop for anyone interested in bibles, books, or both, but I can’t talk my way in for a private viewing. It’s awesomeness will have to remain mythical.

I bum around town but any other tourist activities of interest are closed as well, so I decide to head on my way and come back in a warmer season. Maybe for a retreat or internship.

I arrived to Hot Springs, Arkansas, with my California hot springs experiences in mind. Large wood and rock bowls of mineral rich hot water out under the wide open skies, enjoying nature by sun, moon, or stars. Here, though, it’s all about the spa. Any and every spring worth its salts has been capped and piped into large, tiled bathhouses with people waiting to pound and twist your body. Not really my thing. I stroll around the town, tour the Fordyce Bathhouse, and have a tasty, little lunch at a quiet BBQ joint before moving on.

Just south of Pine Bend, Arkansas, I meet up with a friend of a friend from back in their day. We have dinner and great conversation. He’s a repo man and a gentleman, so naturally I park my van in the repo lot along side the wrecks and returns, and go for a ride-along on his night shift. After I live through a few stories-for-another-time, he clocks out and we head to a pre-dawn breakfast. I still manage to get in some good sleep before rising for my drive to New Orleans.

On that last leg of this trip, the ride is long and I fight the temptation to nap in favor of the comfort of a hot meal and a shower at my final destination point. I am certainly road weary when I arrive, but a place has been made ready for me to park and the shower is hot, hot, hot. So good to be back in the land of soft, purple evenings.