Sunday, October 6, 2019
I am writing this on Sunday, October 6, 2019. I am in a McDonalds somewhere. I just finished gobbling down a McMuffin and a salad. But my main reason for being here is to write to you.
I have so much to tell and I wanted to tell it in order of when stuff happened. It's too much between the last post and the loss of my wallet far from home.
Days and days of driving and my body is so stressed I am almost shaking with adrenaline... or is that caffine. On the way up to Wisconsin I drank two full thermal-cups of coffee each morning and didn't feel this way. But then I didn't drive day after day after day, sometimes between big semis and sometimes sitting in heavy traffic waiting for the light to change so I can creep up a few feet and sit and wait some more.
I have decided I love seeing people and visiting with family and friends. I love seeing new places. What I don't love is the driving day after day to get home. It might be different if I had not booked another event that I need to get home for. It might be different if I didn't lose my wallet along the way.
Today I have gone a little over 200 miles already and I have stopped for one coffee break and one strictly bathroom break. I have stopped to wash the car. I took a 20 minute walk once. In between I drive another 45 minutes or an hour. Still I am miles and miles from my destination.
And it is all affecting my mental health. I am not smiling these days.
I think back to the trip I took with George in 2016. And though I was grieving at times, I was ecstatic often. I remember turning off the highway in Washington then on a gravel road and opening my arms and spinning and laughing at the freedom and beauty of it all.
Was part of the thrill of the experience the expression of my feelings to the person I was with at the time? Letting George know how wonderful I thought it was. Maybe I was trying to pull him into the joy of the moment too. And by doing that, it enhanced the feelings.
But I also remember the trip back home (once we decided to return home) was agonizingly long. It was physically painful to sit in the car day after day.
Sometimes in the car I am listening to NPR. Over 100 million of us are over retirement age in the United States. That is almost a third of us are old like me. I am 66. There are over seven billion people on the planet. When I was a kid it was at least two billion less, maybe three billion fewer people.
Then I hear someone talking about how racism was on the decline just a few years ago, there was hope for the elimination fo descrimination. And now it is back on the rise.
Then I hear a program of how the whale population is declining because their food supply is declining due to global climate change.
And here I am driving and driving and driving for my own pleasure... in the hope of having some fun.
I am on the edge of tears sometimes.
So I have stopped here at McDonalds to have a heart to heart with you... which I just did. I don't want pitty or up-beat praise from you. I just want to share... and maybe one or two of you will think, "Yes, I have felt that way too sometimes."
So where did I leave off. Oh yes, I was in Janesville visiting Jeremy. I just got a text from him a while ago letting me know he extended the shelves in the garage that he put up while I was there. He worked on it yesterday... while I was driving, and driving.
On September 29th I visited my long-time friend, Kathi. It was raining so our plans for a walk were squashed until she came up with the idea to walk at the EPIC center. If you have never been, and you are in the area. It is worth a day or two to tour these buildings.
EPIC is an ongoing business making medical software. The owner is supporting Wisconsin Artists by buying their artwork and displaying it in their office complex.
The office complex is clusters of buildings connected by tunnels and walkways. Some have a fairy-tail theme, some more an earthy-theme.
We only went through one circle of buildings. It was amazing! We were there on a Sunday so we were able to enter the conference rooms. I kept saying, this was an interior decorators dream job.
We both agreed that this looked a lot like my son Jeremy, before he got ill and gained the weight caused by his illness.
On September 30th, Jane and I drove out to Sunset Park to by pass the construction (block) on the Glacial Drumlin Trail. We rode to Delafield and had lunch.
Jane invited our fellow friends over for dinner! Diane and Rick joined us. It was great seeing them. Thank you Jane and Mark for the place to stay, allowing me to use your home as my base as I bounced from visit to visit.
For my last night in the Waukesha area I was staying with friends Sandy and John. I spent the morning at Steaming Cup in downtown Waukesha sipping coffee and working on the books.
Sandy had invited me to lunch. Then we went on a long walk around her neighborhood. My hip hurt but not too much. I was glad when we got back though. I spent the rest of the day working.
Then they drove me to a bar for beer and a Brewers Game on the many TV screens. It was fun, though I ran out of energy before the game was over. I still don't know who won. The Brewers were ahead by two runs when we left.
October 2nd I was to take the Ferry across Lake Michigan! I was excited. I woke early and left Sandy and Johns in the dark before they were awake. I worked at a coffee shop and then I remembered that Sandy had asked for a copy of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George. She had been waiting for my visit to get her signed copy. I was only a few miles away, so I returned and placed a book on their doorstep.
Thank you Sandy and John for a great meal and a fun evening. I may become a baseball fan yet! Especially if I can watch with a cold beer and nice friends.
I drove closer to where the Ferry launches and went to Anytime Fitness. I was thinking that if I hadn't had to wait for the Ferry I would be in Indiana by now.
When I left Anytime I checked my phone. There was a message from an 800 number. I almost didn't check it. When I did I learned that the winds were too strong and the waves too high. They had canceled the Ferry and would send me a refund.
Oh boy. I had already set my sights on doing the Cardinal Greenway Trail in Indiana. That means the only way to get there is to go north around Lake Michigan or south through Chicago.
Chicago wasn't so bad, except there were tolls on this route. And I wasn't always in the right lane to pay cash. There is a sign saying I have 7 days to pay online.
Without a secure connection I couldn't pay by card. I would have to hurry home to pay.
I didn't make it as far as I hoped for the day. I stopped to walk in a park with an amazing play ground. There were kids in the playground. I felt I couldn't go in and play.
I got a motel room instead of going to a campground. It had rained on and off all day and the sky still had threatening clouds.
In the morning, October 3rd, I was off again. Driving Driving Driving to the trailhead in Gaston, Indiana. It was such a relief to ride! The autumn leaves, the fresh air, the scenery was similar to that I saw driving, but it was totally different at bike speed and without the windshield.
I don't have a speedometer so I don't know how far I went. My guess is about 20 miles.
Back at the car I made myself a PB and Apple sandwich with the bread I got from the breakfast bar at the motel that morning. I ate it while driving driving driving.
I wanted to avoid Atlanta. I wanted to enjoy my journey home as much as I enjoyed the journey up to Ohio and Wisconsin. But I also wanted to be home a few days before I took off again.
Drive drive drive.
On one of my breaks walking I came across a yard with lots of halloween stuff. Bloody heads hanging from the trees over my head. Bloody fingers on a rock next to the sidewalk. Ewww!
Another night in a motel because I drove too late into the evening and I didn't want to arrive at a campground and find it full or disgusting.
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