Heading home

Waiting at Austin airport I’m feeling a little glum because being at Austin airport means my R.A.T. Middle America has ended. And they pipe in only county music. Ugh!!  Thank God for headphones and my worship playlist.  No offense intended.  I just don’t like country music. Sorry Blake!

East coast leg was completed in December 2014, west coast January 2015 and middle America began August 5.

Quick impressions:

  • All hostels are not created equal. I’ve stayed in 2 rat traps.
  • All hotels are not created equal. 2 more rat traps.
  • Biggest surprise is that Lincoln, NE is a nice place to visit.
  • Second big surprise is that not everyone in Texas wears cowboy boots.
  • Biggest disappointment is that I didn’t see everyone I hoped to see.
  • Second big disappointment was when my thru hiking/backcountry trip had to be cancelled,
  • Missouri Botanical Gardens is worth the trip to St. Louis.
  • New favorite city is Chicago.
  • The reaction people have when I tell them how much they blessed my life has made me smile/cry/glad and will stay with me forever!

R.A.T. Stats:

  • 35 cities
  • 5 planes
  • 13 trains
  • 7 buses
  • 9 subways/light rails
  • 3 taxis
  • 5 ferries
  • 4 car rentals
  • 1 castle
  • 2 gardens
  • 6 museums
  • 20 hotels
  • 6 hostels
  • 10 homes
  • # miles traveled  ??
  • 56 people visited

I did not write as much as I wanted to and still have the entire west coast R.A.T. to re-live thru many blogs.  I was much more interested in visiting the wonderful people I went to see, catching up with important events in their lives and laughing over our past shared experiences, even the painful ones.

There are many more adventures to have, e.g., my upcoming European tour and how God is going to spend the rest of my life. I’m ready. Let’s roll!

Home for a minute, “Home” for the holidays

There’s no place like home.  Home is where the heart is. Anywhere I hang my hat is home.

At the moment “home” is Lincoln, NE.  Lincoln is more interesting than I thought it would be.  More on that in a later post.

Things change quickly and now “home” is St. Louis.  I visited a friend of 19 years i haven’t seen for 5 and now with a friend of 29 years I haven’t seen for 14!  It has been tons of fun to catch up with such wonderful sisters!  Let’s go back to where I left you hanging.

Between East Coast and West Coast, Christmas 2014.

I had to be at the Charlotte airport to catch my flight home to San Diego and did not want Don and Margo to get up at o’dark thirty again to get me to the Clemson station. I decided to rent a car for the 2-hour drive.   I reserved a car through Enterprise in Anderson, and they had no car available when I arrived. Reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld: “You know how to take the reservation, but you don’t know how to hold the reservation.”

The Enterprise rep suggested we “start the paperwork and maybe a car would be available by the time we’re done.” Mama didn’t raise no fool.  If I “started” the paperwork, that would keep me locked into an Enterprise rental until a car showed up. Lucky for me, Hertz was right outside the door across the parking lot and they did have a car, though it cost a good bit more than the car I reserved.

Away I drove, sad to leave after a too short visit with Margo.

Thankfully the ride to the airport was uneventful.  I was on a huge plane with 9 or 10 seats per row, flanked by two woman. The young woman to my left sold something and the military was her client.  She was deathly ill.  She was kind to show me how to operate the in-seat tv screen, no doubt sharing her virus in the process.

The woman to my right was going to visit her daughter who escaped the holidays because they were too painful to celebrate.  Her daughter had one child and he had been killed while at a baseball camp.  Another camper had hit him in the back of the head with a baseball bat.

I didn’t want to press for details cause it seemed difficult for her to talk about losing her only grandchild.  She was a woman of faith and we said all those things one says about God–He is faithful, with us through every trial, has a grander purpose than we can know–and yet … words are so inadequate.

The flight home was smooth sailing.  Well, smooth flying.  I spent the next couple of days getting ready to travel down the west coast.

First stop Seattle to spend Christmas with family.  My reserved flight to Seattle, connecting in Oakland presented challenges. The first flight was delayed which meant a missed connection–the last flight out of Oakland to Seattle for that day,  The Southwest rep calmly suggested I sleep in the Oakland airport overnight. WHAT!  In the end I flew the next day on a nonstop flight, but it was frustrating to have my plans delayed.

My daughter was ill when I arrived just a few days before Christmas. I spent a rainy Monday negotiating Pikes Place, that famous Seattle market packed with holiday shoppers.  I had saved my holiday shopping til arriving in Seattle and went to several other downtown shops in the rain. I was cold and wet in a very short time. Needless to say, between sharing virus spores with my seatmate on the Charlotte to San Diego flight and spending the day in the rain, I was ill myself by Christmas day.

Nonetheless, we celebrated Christmas with family and friends. My brother and SIL were in town and their daughter hosted us all for dinner and a lively game of Pictionary.  I was glad to not have any plans for the next several days and equally glad that Urgent Care was across the street from my daughter’s home. Between the antibiotics and rest, we were finally all well again.

IMG_2008My daughter and I had tickets to see Mike Birbiglia on New Year’s Eve at the historic Moore Theater.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner before the show at List.  What a great night we had!

East Coast R.A.T. complete and Christmas and New Year’s celebrated in grand style, I was ready to begin the West Coast R.A.T.  More adventures to come!