Thursday, August 19, 2010

Travels With Charley...well actually Cat

Did you miss me? Thanks for understanding as I took a bit of a break. I needed to step back and remember why I write this blog. I also needed the time to recover and get past all my travels. I have been on the go for what seems like weeks now and last week I just crashed. I didn't read. I didn't write. I just crashed. And truthfully I simply couldn't think of something to blog about, so I figured that was a perfect time to step away.

I've realized that in the last month I've been to Alaska, Minnesota (twice), Nebraska, and all over Iowa. I've spent more time on the road these last weeks than I have at home practically. And when I have been at home it seems like I've been busy. But things are starting to settle down. I'm starting to relax again and feel a bit more like me. I'm the kind of person who needs time to myself. I need time at home to keep me centered. Too much movement and after a while I get frustrated. Now don't get me wrong I love to travel, I just can't do it all the time.

You've already heard about Alaska. Beautiful, wild, stunning Alaska. We arrived home Tuesday morning and I had two days of work that week. But on Thursday I found out that my sister-in-law's father had died. This man had been an uncle to me. We'd known the family well before my brother and sister-in-law got married. He was a great guy. So of course I had to go to the funeral. Back on the road as we made the trip to Albert Lea, MN.

The next weekend we were at home but oddly Jeff and I didn't stay home. In our continuing wanderlust we headed out into Southern Iowa to drive the backroads and see what we could see. And we found some amazing state parks, small towns, fun shops, and lots and lots of scenery. We spent the whole weekend driving and hiking. Constantly on the go. Constantly not at home.

The next weekend saw us North again as we headed up to the Cities to catch our friend Josh in a play. He's done summer stock theater for a couple years now and we try hard to make it up for the shows. I missed last year so I wasn't about to miss The Music Man this year. Plus it happened to be our anniversary weekend. We arrived Saturday afternoon and hung out with our friend Jon playing video games. Then headed over to the play that evening. The next morning we had breakfast with our thespian friend before heading further north to spend the afternoon with our friend Lon and his kids. We sat around in the shade as the kids splashed in the kiddie pools. We didn't even start heading for home until 5 and didn't see the house until late that night.

And that brings us to this past weekend. In April, for my older sister's birthday, my little sister had promised a girls weekend. We looked at the calendar and picked a weekend in August for the sisters to get away. A road trip. Of course that happened to be last weekend. We debated on what to do and where to go until I finally suggested a cute little boutique hotel close to the Old Market area in Omaha. The hotel was booked and on Friday we headed out. We took the long way getting to Omaha, traipsing through gravel roads and through small towns. When we arrived at 9:30 Friday night we quickly checked in and headed out for dinner and some drinks. Followed by more drinks. We ended the night talking in the hotel and finishing off a bottle of whiskey.

The next morning we headed out to a little cafe off the Old Market for breakfast. A great little greasy spoon cafe which helped to settle my hangover. After that it was shopping. I bought a new journal (shocking huh), some bacon flavored floss for Jeff, tons of candy, and a bit of jewelry. Then on to lunch at my favorite place in Omaha, M's Pub. I think I can safely say that this was probably the highlight of the trip for us. We ate, we drank, we laughed until we cried. It was the best two hour lunch I've ever had. Completely refreshing. After that was more shopping and then some naps. The next morning we headed out earlyish with the idea of seeing some of the sights around Iowa. We drove North through the Loess Hills State Park and then headed East. We took pictures at Albert the Bull, the world's largest bull (I'll post pictures of him tonight). We also stopped at the spinning ear of corn which my sister had read at 50 feet. It turned out to be 5 feet, and needless to say, a bit underwhelming.

We finally arrived home late that evening but my visiting wasn't over. My relatives had decided that this past weekend was the perfect time to come in for a visit. My cousin and his family had come in, my brother and his wife had dropped off the kids at my parents house, and my little brother had made the trek north from St. Louis. I arrived home and immediately headed over to my parents house to visit. I spent all Monday with them as well. My cousin left Monday, my little brother leaves today, and the kids are being picked up on Saturday. I think I'm ready for a weekend with nothing going on. I feel like I've been going non-stop. Here's hoping for a little relaxing. And some time to blog.

[For those of you who don't know the title of this post is a reference to my favorite Steinbeck book, a bizarre travelogue as Steinbeck travels around the county in an RV with his beloved poodle Charley. It's not like most of Steinbeck's other books but I love his view of traveling and getting to know the people. It's on par with Blue Highways as one of my favorite road trip books.]

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