Before my trip, I loaded up on 6 audio books (also this one). Between hours of music and CB radio chatter, I took a few breaks and listened to 4 of them. I lost Billy Crystal’s book under the passenger seat and forgot it was there until I unpacked. As for “Heaven is For Real,” I really tried to get into but it wouldn’t take. All the books I packed are considered non-fiction, and “Heaven…” is about a boy who comes back from a surgery having seen Heaven. The book starts off with an interview of the dad and he just couldn’t sell me. Anyway here are brief reviews of the books I did listen to!
On day 1 I was extremely organized. I had a ledger where I marked the price of gas, total cost, and mileage count each time I stopped to fill up. I also kept track of all the tolls I paid, where and when. Things became a little disorganized in California as I had to open up the back seat for passengers. By the time I left Oakland I had given up on any pretense of record keeping.
During the trip, I had days where I had to stop 3 times to fill up (didn’t want to run out in the desert). Today is the 7th day since my last time at a gas station, so I’ve decided to go through my records and bank statement to get an idea of how much I spent in fuel. As best as I can tell, I spent $710.38. That’s just under $.09 a mile. Good to know for future budgets.
My first days back from the trip have been rough. It’s like being at the roller rink all night and then taking your skates off. Everything feels weird and I want to still be in motion. But all things must end and I had to go back to adulting. After my first (and very long) day back to work, I came home to an epic surprise! The self-addressed envelop I left at Pickles Gap was on the table with a note and 2 shiny pennies inside! The note read read as follows:
Guess what I got to see today. Originally I only intended to go to Rock City because it’s right on the TN/GA border and by adding Georgia I officially hit 50% of the states on one trip. Once I read Mr. Hollis’ book “See Rock City” however, it became an important stop. His book detailing the attraction and life of its creator kept my attention from page one. I even forced a co-worker (sorry Darlene) into reading passages that I thought were especially great.
I’ve been looking forward to Day 18 for a while. Today was the day I got to meet a talented author who has a nostalgia museum in his house. I want to stress what I’ve mentioned in another post, this museum falls into the unique sights category of my trip. After reading one of his books, meeting him, and seeing his house, I do not think Mr. Hollis is tacky or weird or anything like some of my other stops (Roswell Alien Zone). I have a lot of respect for him and am grateful he took the time to share his museum with me.
Day 17 was a long day. A really long day. Google says it is 777 miles between my Day 16 and Day 17 motels. Of course I had several detours making one tired Andy. I got to my room at 11:30pm and had to be on the road today at 6:30am. I also lost an hour due to a change in time zone so you can understand why this post is a day late. All of that driving was worth it and I had 2 great days.
Today I drove from Roswell, NM to Conway, AR. Look at a map, that’s a huge drive. I covered that top, square part of Texas and all of Oklahoma. I just got to my room at 11:30pm and I have to be on the road by 6:30am tomorrow to get to an appointment. On top of that I didn’t sleep so well last night. I met too many great people today to rush a post, so instead I will be doing two posts tomorrow! I promise they will have good content. My appointment tomorrow is one of my most anticipated parts of this trip and today had all kinds of fantastic finds. Wish me luck sleeping so that I can entertain you tomorrow.
Roswell! Prepare for tacky, alien nonsense. But there are only so many alien souvenir shops a man can go to, so I had to expand my activities to Carlsbad. Fortunately I now have a local friend (possibly a disguised alien) who was willing to be seen with me and show me around. I continue to meet the most fantastic people and she is certainly at the top of the list. I wouldn’t have seen all the great sights today without her.
Most folk art I’ve seen is exhibited at the artist’s home. For me, that makes it more intimate. I’m seeing what’s inside them in a place where they are most comfortable. They’ve arranged all the pieces instead of some museum employee. Almost every aspect of the experience is created by the artist. Often these artists aren’t classically trained so their work is uninhibited by rules or structure that other artists might feel constrained by. Today I was able to visit two folk artists’ work.
Today I drove from the middle of Utah to the middle of southern Colorado. I drove through the Jeep Mecca, Moab, and through the Uncompahgre, San Juan, and Rio Grande National Forests. Today was the worst day of my trip so far. That being said, a bad vacation day still trumps a mediocre work day. If only all my bad days were like this. Either way there might be some whining in the post below. Don’t like it? Don’t read it.