Walkabout: Day 30, Mile 6415

November 18, 2016 ~ Friday

8p Morning Pages? lol ~ Florence, KY

I had an early start and a long drive ahead of me, so I put off my morning pages until evening. I was trying to make it to the Creation Museum today and the Ark Encounter tomorrow, so I drove over four hours to my campsite last night, and I put another eight hours on the road this morning.

I am road weary.

The site I stayed at last night was near Wapella, there the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers converge. I slept right off the water. I’ll bet it was so beautiful. But it was dark when I arrived and dark when I departed. I saw nothing but the dirt road, the trees, and the stars.

It was 76* when I arrived in Petersburg today, too hot to leave the pup in the car while I toured the museum. Also, there were no free camp sites listed anywhere nearby. So I used points to get a motel and check in around 2p.

I was relieved to have a room tonight, but I don’t understand why. I have been with family, couch surfing for the better part of the last week. I should feel refreshed and anxious for the open road and night air. But the lack of privacy is getting to me.

When I camp, it is dark. I am cautious. I try not to bring attention to myself. I have “window shades”, but if I use them, I can’t see someone approaching.

Actually, that is a silly excuse because I hardly pay much attention anyway. I am just being lazy and don’t want to bother installing them and taking them back down the next day. I need to get over that, because I can’t just sit in the dark night after night. I have reading and writing to do!

Tonight I am drinking Kentucky Bourbon and eating Ginger Snaps to celebrate thirty days on the road. I have traveled over 6400 miles thus far. I have seen amazing sights and stood on sacred grounds. I have loved solitude and enjoyed good company.

I have heard just how negative most people are, while nature is so very nourishing.

The drive was rough today. I was tired and maybe a little hung over. I can’t hardly tell these days, but I’m not drinking like I used to.

The fast food joints have been calling my name, and I could hardly resist. I had a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonald’s last night. It didn’t sit well with me and gave me terrible gas. That didn’t stop me from stopping again at another this morning for an Egg McMuffin, and then two hours later it was a ham and cheese croissant from Arby’s. Made me think of John.

I used to get two of those bad boys for four bucks in Florida. I paid almost three dollars for one today. I spent more on food today than I have in the last week. I felt ravenous.

The bourbon seems a better choice than wine for me. I spent only $14 for the bottle. I have drank only four ounces, with plenty for another few nights. I don’t feel the need to finish the bottle. I am mixing it with club soda, so no extra calories and a little hydration. It doesn’t taste as wonderful as wine, but it isn’t all that bad either. I googled “decent inexpensive bourbon” to find it. Very Old Barton, and it is typically found only in Kentucky. Perfect. 🙂

Walkabout: Day 29, My wedding dream answer

November 17, 2016 ~ Thursday

7:30a Morning Pages ~ Mason City, IA

I should have let her put me in bifocals. I can hardly see close up with my glasses anymore. I have my glasses atop my head right now, just so I can write this, these morning pages.

I had the strangest dream last night. I dreamt that Rob and I were supposed to get married. It had been planned, semi-planned anyway, a date set long in advance. We had arranged the minister, the photographer, the venue, the bridesmaids and gowns.

But we ourselves were vacillating. Should we or shouldn’t we? We were vexed. We could not decide.

We lost track of time, and the date came around. We still had not decided. But we had the venue, so we decided to make use of it. Instead of setting it for a ceremony, we had them put in a huge bed, front and center, with red satin sheets and huge, white pillar candles on either side.

We were in this room, talking, asking ourselves how it came to this. Why could we not decide? The date had come, and still we did not know what to do.

Then his mom showed up, and she had the bridesmaids with her! She asked where they should get ready! She must have remembered the date, even though we had not sent out invitations.

We didn’t know what to do, so we just showed them to the dressing room. They started getting dressed in their gowns, two or three of them, and we thought it was funny.

My mom showed up too. She set up some chairs in rows in front of the big, red satin bed.

Rob and I just thought it was all surreal. I thought, “What do we do now?” Beverages and a plate of snacks were brought in for the wedding party.

Then Alan and Joile showed up. They were the photographers! They started lining up the bridesmaids for photos and suggested I get dressed, so I did. They stood us up on the bed, which I thought would be totally awkward, but actually it came across as classy somehow.

Rob was dressed too, and we had our wedding party photographed. No groomsmen, just the maids and mothers. It felt so silly – how were we going to proceed? Should we proceed?

Then we found out that Alan was our minister! We could move forward with the wedding if we wanted to. Did we want to? Was it too late to call our friends? It was too late, but did we really need friends to get married? Not really, no.

The doors to the room were wide open, and a few people had wandered in to check out all the comotion. It was quite a scene, and no one knew how undecided we were.

We kept trying to talk our way through it. I kept wanting Rob to make the decision. Did he want to marry me or not? He lamented, seeming almost pained by the idea and said, “Why? Why oh why didn’t I ask you?”

I thought to myself, “Well, ask me now. Why don’t you just ask me now?”

By this time the room was slam full of people. Every chair was filled and others were standing. I couldn’t believe we had drawn such a crowd.

We were ready to begin, but Rob still could not make a decision. He seemed to genuinely want me. He seemed to truly want to marry me. But he could not bring himself to decide for us.

I wanted to be the rescue, to save him from himself and make the decision for him. I felt pity for him. And then it hit me.

To choose to marry him would be to accept that I would forever be coming to his rescue. This was the problem that drove us apart, and here I was trying to fix the problem by reinforcing it. Did I really want to live like this for the rest of my life? Did I really want to be the only backbone in this relationship? Did I really want to shoulder every burden because my husband could not? No, I didn’t.

At that moment, Edward came flashing into my mind. Edward! How could I have forgotten about Edward?! We were engaged to be married! How could I be standing here with Rob right now?

I put a stop to the whole ceremony. I ended it that instant. Rob seemed relieved. And he took out his checkbook so we could split the expenses.

What message might this dream have for me? Is Rob really Edward? Am I waiting for Edward to make a decision? Am I fearful of having to be the burden bearer?

What would happen if I never mention the wedding? Would the date just creep up on us, like in my dream? If I said and did nothing, would he take the bull by the horns? Or would we be sitting in the garden on that day with half wishes and half plans, wondering how we got here and how we should proceed?

What I am learning about intuition is that we often know the answer to our questions, but we don’t like the answer, so we keep “searching” for another. I think deep down I know that I am fearful of what being married to Edward would mean for my burdens. But I keep wishing and hoping he has the backbone to man up and make a decision for us. For me.

Walkabout: Day 28, Questions about being true

November 16, 2016 ~ Wednesday

7:30a Morning Pages ~ Baldwin, OK ~ Douglas County Lake

Met my cousin John for the very first time yesterday. Apparently my Uncle Dennis had a relationship before he married Aunt Nancy, and they had a son he never told us about. Angie mentioned him to me, and when I said I might stop halfway to Mason City, in Kansas City, Kathee asked me if I was going to see John.

I guess they have been getting to know him on Facebook. I was excited to know I have MORE family and to meet him. He is a really nice guy. All of this time, he thought he was an only child. Now he has a huge family, if he chooses to embrace them. I can’t help but wonder what that does to a person, psychologically.

I camped at Douglas County Lake last night. It was dark when I arrived. I woke up to beautiful scenery! There is a trail right in front of me that appears by satellite to go at least halfway around the lake. I think I will gear up for a jog this morning.

John took me to dinner last night, and Teresa the night before that, and I didn’t get a chance to get out yesterday. I want to maintain the shape and fitness level I have worked so hard to earn. It feels great to be fit! And to experience so much of this beautiful country on my own two feet.

I am anxious to get underway today. I have a six hour trip to Mason City, Iowa. I want to run today, and I need to stop at an REI along the way to pick up another canister. That will take time, and I don’t want to arrive too late.

But I want to be true to my deeper self, who loves to write and hike and to run, and she deserves her opportunity to do so. Besides, after five hours in the car yesterday, and the grueling schedule I have ahead of me, I need to stretch my legs and move my body.

Today is Day 28. I have been on the road four weeks. I need to tally my finances, but I know I will be making purchases today that need to be included. I believe I am still within my imposed food and spending budgets. Much thanks is due to my refreshing visits along the way. People have been so kind and generous to me and to Justice.

There was a single small duck sitting in my view, just outside my window on the driver’s side. Cute little thing, all by himself. I decided a wanted a picture. I picked up my camera, rolled down the window and zoomed in. Poof! He vanished. I watched the water for several seconds before I finally gave up with my camera. Then he appeared back on the surface a few feet away. What a shy little rascal.

As the sun rises higher and higher in the sky, it is showing some signs of fall foliage colors. Nothing spectacular, just a hint or orange here, a deepening of maroon there, a brightening of yellow family dotting the tree tops. I love the fall colors and the sound of crunching leaves beneath my feet.

I should check my oil level when I get back from my run. This would be a good time to replenish, if I need to. Plus maintain my peace of mind. “Slow and methodical. Protect my tools, protect my person.” I am grateful to have such a trusty steed to ride me to glory.

I rolled over 100K miles yesterday! Dang it, I didn’t even know it. I had been watching the numbers creep up, but I missed the roll over. Oh well, not that big of a deal.

I seriously want to cut the morning pages short today, so I can get the rest of my day underway. But that would be counterproductive. I am a writer! That means I need to write! There is very little more important in my life right now than honing my writing skills. And The Artist’s Way says that the morning pages are non-negotiable. I am to do them no matter what.

Besides, what good is it to arrive in Mason City much before dinner time? Is it more important to have that extra hour or two with family? Or is it more important to spend that hour or two being true to myself and my commitments and shaping my future for the better? Even if I depart here at noon, that still puts me in Mason City by 7p, plenty of time to visit.

The question before me presently is whether I want to wear my headphones and whether I want to bring Justice. Justice will want to stop and sniff everything along the way, breaking my pace and messing with my head. She needs her exercise too, but she may benefit from the extra rest and peace in the car right now. She has been so stimulated by all of the new sights, sounds and smells these last four weeks. I can tell she is tired out by them.

Four weeks on the road today. What an amazing accomplishment. What an incredible opportunity. I am deeply grateful for it.

Walkabout, Day 27, Mile 4985

November 15, 2016 ~ Tuesday

9:15a Morning Pages ~ Oklahoma City, Compass Coffee House

Found another adorable coffee shop to write my morning pages today. I love that it is called Compass Coffee House, and I ordered the True North Latte. I think it is another sign that I am on the right path.

I deeply enjoyed my time with Teresa last night. We stayed up until midnight, just chatting. We shared a nip of her homemade Kahlua, and I opened a bottle of the Roux. Her husband, Dee, played around on his keyboards in the music room. Her art is just beautiful, especially the wax and spray paint pieces she does. She shared some of her love for our Native American heritage with me. There were very kind and generous to me and to Justice. Another family blessing.

I wanted to purchase two pieces of her art. One is wax work on paper, and it reminds me of the Phoenix bird. The colors are striking. The second has a full moon and three spirit birds. It is spray paint, and she calls it the Trinity. She painted it on August 20, 2016 – just as I was dismantling my life. The image and the timing feels so significant.

I had no idea what she would charge me, and I wanted to offer her a fair price for her work. I kept thinking of the fifty dollars Iverna blessed me with, and that I could pass on that blessing, but it just didn’t seem like enough. Were those pieces hanging in my tasting room, I would pay at least $200 for the canvas and $50-75 for the wax work.

So instead of making an offer I thought would be offensive, I asked her what she would charge me, and that it would have to be a fair price. I would have paid almost whatever she asked. She tried to make it one penny, but I refused. That was not fair. So I countered with my fifty dollar blessing, telling her vaguely how I had come to it but not who had given it to me. I told her simply that it was a blessing to me that I wanted to pass on to her. She lit up.

Then she told me that she had really wanted to gift me something to help me on my journey, but that she only had twenty bucks. I thought – she had already taken me to dinner and opened her home to me! But she wanted to do more, and she returned my blessing money back to me, saying, “You have bought this painting. It is a done deal. Now I have something to bless you with!” And she put the fifty dollars back into my hands. Wow, what a powerful experience!

She also gave me an extra painting, which I will give to John when I visit him for dinner this evening. John is a cousin I never knew I had. Teresa adores him, and he loves her art. It will be a perfect way to share the gift and blessing she shared with me.

She played me a flute prayer before sending me off with a big hug. It really warmed my heart.

I want to share her art in my next post. I don’t know whether to feature it singly or to include the other pieces I have brought with me. But I know I needed to stop this morning and write it out before I continued north into Kansas. While it was fresh on my mind and in my heart.

I wish I could afford more art! There are some wonderful pieces hanging in this coffee house. There is a gorgeous eagle I would like to get for my dad, but $195 is more than I can spend right now. Funny, I would not spend that on shoes or jewelry or glasses, but I don’t bat a lash at that price for art – instead, what a steal! It just brings me so much joy, especially when I have met the artist. More people should collect, so that souls like Teresa can create and inspire.

I need a special frame for the Phoenix. In the meantime, I have it wedged between two other pieces to keep it safe. Being wax, it is fragile. I would be so upset if anything happened to it.

I had a dream last night. I watched a crab digging into the wet sand and disappearing in my rear view mirror as I drove my journey. I wonder what it could mean? I will do a little research while I finish my latte and prepare for the next stretch of driving – five hours this time. Then I need to get a long walk in to keep up my fitness – physical and mental.

Walkabout: Day 26, Write here, write now

November 14, 2016 ~ Monday

7:45a Morning Pages ~ Carnegie, OK

The house is quiet. Angie, Randy and Maylina have left for work and school. I will lock up on my way out. Angie has been wonderful, as has the rest of my family.

I had thought about heading out last night. I finished my laundry and packed up the car. But by the time I did all of that, it was going on dusk. The particular campsite I had chosen was described as easy to miss, and I didn’t want to have to find it in the dark.

So I decided to stay, and I opened a bottle of wine to enjoy while waiting for my hosts to return from the birthday party they had gone to.

I heard a knock at the door, and I know to answer it in a place like this, even though it is not my home. It was my Aunt Iverna. She said she wanted to catch me before I left and put fifty dollars into my hand in small bills. I was so touched! She said it wasn’t much, just a little something to help me out, and that I needed to be careful. It meant a ton to me.

I sipped my wine and snacked on dried peas until Angie came home. I had a can of chicken noodle soup. Edward called after he closed the tasting room, and we chatted for a spell.

I made arrangements to head north instead of south, to visit with my family in Iowa. I can see Julianne in January instead. It felt important to see my family at this time. Bonus – I will also get to meet a cousin I never knew I had in Kansas.

Angie told me about Red Rock Canyon, so I will do some hiking there today before taking the scenic route into Oklahoma City. My cousin Valerie told me about the scenic drive between Binger and OKC. I am looking forward to it. If I arrive early enough, I will stop to see my cousin Kirby before going on the visit with Teresa.

So this stretch of my trip is filled with family. It is amazing and wonderful that they are all so very kind and gracious, even though I haven’t seen them in years, and we weren’t all that close to begin with. Angie even wanted to keep the empty wine bottle we shared.

Well, I had most of it. and I finished the bottle I opened last night too, all by myself. Obviously I have not changed my relationship to alcohol that dramatically. I obviously still have abuse issues, and I need to stop. It is Monday, and I can call this a fresh beginning. I will be pretty well stacked up with travel for the next week, and I want to feel good and keep my head about me. Mostly, I just want to enjoy being sober. That was one of my main goals for this trip.

I might even get to visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky. I was a charter donor to the museum, and I have yet to make a visit. It will be interesting to see the exhibits and hear the evidence presented for a young earth. My own thoughts on this subject could use some clarity.

I am anxious to get on the road, but I also want to finish my morning pages. If I am to be a writer, I need to make a serious commitment to the craft – and to myself. So many people have suggested a write a book about Edward and I, a book about this journey. So many people believe in me, and believe I have talent. I am starting to believe in myself. But I don’t know how to start. I don’t know the first thing about writing a book. It’s all I can do now to write three pages of streaming thoughts each morning.

Perhaps I should drag out The Artist’s Way book and begin it again. This can be my first week, ending on Wednesday. I have already read the material and have done a couple of the exercises. I can just pick up where I left off. If I want this to be my future, if I want to change my life, it all starts right here, right now. “I believe that I have the ability to achieve the object of my definite purpose in life.” I can do this. I will do this.

I have a few things left to load in the car. Then I will say goodbye to Grandma’s house again. It has been nice to spend time here, feeling her loving memory. Angie has done a good job at taking care of her house. She has done a hymnal wall and paper bag floors. It’s a cute little shanty, and I love it. Oh so many memories were made here in this house as I was a little girl. Here is where I got to eat Honeycomb cereal. 🙂

Walkabout: Day 25, Hungry for family

November 13, 2016 ~ Sunday

7:30a Morning Pages ~ Carnegie, OK

I am on the couch at my cousin Angie’s house. It is a little dark, since I don’t know how to turn the lights on.

Ta-dahhh! Gee, there is this little switch over there.

It was an interesting night. Both rooms sleep with the televisions on. And there were lights on as well. I had a comfortable but disturbed night of sleep, in and out due to the noise and light.

There is presently a program running about oil on the Native American reservation lands. It is interesting, and it is hard to keep my mind focused here.

Angie and I visited Aunt Fletia and Uncle Dale last night (her parents). The first thing Aunt Fletia asked was if I was hungry. I was! And I was so grateful to have been offered a meal.

She heated up barley soup in the microwave, and I didn’t bat an eyelash. I assembled a turkey sandwich with mayo, mustard, cheese and tomato. It tasted amazing. I did not decline the chocolate pistachio cake either, and it was so delicious.

I ate it all with gratitude and didn’t think too much about what was in it or how healthy it was or wasn’t. It just felt good to sit at the dining room table with a good meal. Because I eat so conscientiously otherwise, I can afford not to be picky when I am offered something with love.

Carnegie is so tiny, and there is practically nothing to do here. It’s a wonder this little town is even still around. Oh my gosh do I want coffee right now.

Walkabout: Day 24, Mile 4786

November 12, 2016 ~ Saturday

8a Morning Pages ~ Elk City, OK

I had too much to drink last night, and I snapped at Edward. It was our anniversary. He said he wanted to Skype. But he didn’t follow through, and it hurt my feelings. We were talking, and he said he had to go. I got upset, and I let him go. I texted him later. He didn’t understand my inference. I snapped at him. Hard. Now I feel foggy and angry. And I want coffee. And an apology.

Stopped and made some coffee. It took thirty freaking minutes. The wind was an issue, and it wasn’t even that windy. After ten minutes, I had hardly even warm water. I had to use my body as a wind shield, squatting between the breeze and the burner. But now I have coffee. And it didn’t cost me.

Well, that’s actually not true. I am burning through much more fuel than I should be. In the long run, over time, it will likely cost me more in fuel than it would have to just buy the self-contained unit. I may still get it. I need to find an REI to purchase a new fuel canister anyway.

Why do I feel so damn angry? I had a great day yesterday. Two beautiful hikes in perfect weather, a great meal, a smooth ride into Oklahoma. I was hurt that Edward didn’t want to spend more time with me. He is supposed to want me more than that. He is not supposed to be able to live without me.

A man here at the lake just asked me if I am a falconer! He says they are meeting some falconers here, and they are coming in from all over the country. How cool is that?! Now I have to look up what a falconer is…

Falconry can be defined as the taking of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained raptor. This ancient art is a very demanding endeavor, requiring a serious dedication of time and energy from the falconer. Falconry has been practiced for almost four thousand years and was once known as the “sport of kings”.

It involves using a wild hawk, falcon or eagle to hunt and return live prey back to captivity and its master. A falconer will trap his wild bird and then dedicate many years (seven to ten years) in training his bird. The man in front of me literally has a large white bird on his arm.

Paused to observe the falconer and to eat the leftover steak I saved from last night. I am feeling more hungry today – and last night. Must be from the twelve miles I put in in the canyon. And from the tall fourteen percent drink I put away last night. I always feel hungry the morning after I drink.

I just watched a woman strap on her hydropack and head onto a trail. I suspected there was a trail around this lake, and that the trailhead was right in front of me. I will go for a walk or a jog today. But right now it is only 37* and I want to wait for a bit more warmth. Maybe I will just spend today at this lake. It’s pretty, and it’s quiet. I have cell and internet service. And I’m tired. An afternoon nap is sounding pretty good right about now. I could do some reading, research and writing. I could do more ruminating. I could just relax until the sun goes down again. Right here.

I read a disturbing fact yesterday. The American army wanted to take Palo Duro Canyon from the “hostiles” that lived there. There were several battles, but the Americans were not used to the harsh environment, and the Natives had adapted to life in it. They could not be defeated. So the American army captured 1400 horses and took them from the Natives. They picked the very best of them for themselves and destroyed the rest. Now, lacking mobility, the Natives had no choice but to surrender. They were relocated to Oklahoma.

As I travel, I see miles and miles of empty land. But every place/park I visit tells a story that the land was once inhabited by Natives who had learned how to adapt to that particular environment. I see it over and over again. We, the Americans, colonized and civilized this vast land from the “hostiles”. Now we congregate ourselves in tiny regions of massive cities while miles and miles go empty and vacant. It is truly sad. It is a travesty. Instead of spreading out and making use, we congregate and lack.

I’m so very tired right now. I just want to finish these morning pages, crawl into the back, and sleep off this funk. It’s after 9:30a, and Edward has not tried to call me yet. That irritates me, and I want to cry about it. I think I will re-position my car to take up less space. Then I will take off my boots, snuggle down with Justice, hold my magic rock, and let my mind wander. Perhaps I will even drift to sleep. That would be marvelous.

2:15p I went for a walk along the dirt bike paths that criss cross around and near the lake. I ended up walking all the way around. It was about seven miles. I was thinking about Edward, when I was thinking at all, and I was trying to untwist myself. He called, and we were able to talk things out. I felt a thousand times better afterward.

I got a steak last night at the Big Texan, a former Route 66 icon and home of the free 72oz steak. I was looking for a solid meal after all of the hiking. I wanted local, and something that screamed “Texas”. I chose the 12oz ribeye, which is what Edward would have chosen, and it felt right, as it was our anniversary.

The website told me this was also the only micro-brewery in the Texas panhandle, so I also tried a couple of their brews. For sides, I chose the fried okra and beefsteak tomatoes with red onion. The steak and tomatoes were each served with a whole jalapeno with a little Texas flag stuck in it. Too cute.

I ate about eight ounces of the steak and saved the rest for breakfast this morning. I ate the okra and dipped the roll in the steak au jus. I saved the tomatoes and jalapenos. At the lake today, after my walk, I cut up the tomatoes and one jalapeno into half a can of refried beans and added a small avocado and a sprinkle of lava salt. I felt like a champ! And I am so full!

I swished it back with lemon water and cleaned my dishes in the lake. Now that’s how it’s done, folks!