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the path back is the path forward


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the rest area. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

rest area

we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area.  we have out and out drooled at the rest area.  faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.

one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark.  we chose a spot close to the building.  we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes.  when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping.  barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard.  with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow –  we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities.  our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area.  i’m sure we were charming to look at.

it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it.  our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas.  it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.

when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly,  is around 3000 miles.  (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.)   but i digress.  so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.

we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80.  we can also tell you where the scary ones are:  montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building.  you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida.  you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in.  pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas.  you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy.  you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.

the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days.  for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot.  recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside.  full-out dreaming commenced.  when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes.  d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup.  i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.

it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time.  having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.

alas, finally.  the rest area.  we pulled in.  d handed me a pillow.  i laid my face against the window.  and voila!  a sight to behold.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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big red. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

CO to WI copy

colorado to wisconsin.  with a stop in columbia, missouri.  the first day is long.  twelve hours give or take.  we drive out of colorado into kansas, which has to be one of the wider states in the journey, and head for wendy’s.  she and keith are tolerant of whatever-time-we-get-there, knowing the challenges of a long drive.  this time, it was different.

this time we weren’t in our littlebabyscion toodling along, huffing and puffing up hills.  this time we were in Big Red, a giant ford F150.  she hadn’t been driven this-far-at-one-time in years.  we were high up and felt like road warriors.

columbus gave us a couple cassette tapes to play in the player and, in planning ahead, i had brought a dozen favorites from years past (ok, the 70s are many years past.)  we played each of them, singing along.  and then switched to the radio.  it only seemed right that country music be blaring out of the speakers, so we obliged.

although we blasted cassettes of john denver, loggins and messina, alabama, england dan & john ford coley among others, i have a few favorite radio songs of the journey east and north.  one direction’s what makes you beautiful, lady gaga and bradley cooper singing shallow, toby keith’s i wanna talk about me and my new fave, billy currington’s good directions and turnip greens.  a sweet country-music story.

we were talking with jen and brad last night in their kitchen, lingering over our potluck together.  we talked about compromise and life and decisions and chance.  like everyone, david and i have had our share of each of those.  decisions sorted and pondered, and compromises, bending to the things that make life meaningful, balancing reality with idealism.  and then there’s chance.  we could relate to the story of turnip greens…happenstance changing life.   a choice, one direction taken, a turn, one click…and everything changes.  what comes is predicated on what was and what is this very second.  we second those lyrics – thank God for good directions and turnip greens.

we turned up the stereo in Big Red and opened the windows with the AC on.  somewhere along the way, we decided it was a she, for she had gently mothered columbus as he drove a bit more gingerly in recent days and she sturdily and protectively lumbered us across the country.  laughing and certain of everything and absolutely nothing, we turned this beautiful big old pickup truck toward home.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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in the distance now. [two artists tuesday]

mountains in the distance CO copy

i cry when i first see them.  i cry when they are disappearing.  those mountains.  my last long look at them as we drive east out of colorado.  those billboards and tshirts and bumper stickers that say, “the mountains are calling and i must go” speak to me.  they have ever since i was 18 and first experienced them.  john denver’s rocky mountains have been a lure for decades now.  and i can feel the pull, even from a distance.

if you look past the horizon in this photograph you will see what i last saw as we drove away a few days ago.  you won’t know that tears came to my eyes or that i turned in my seat to watch the vista fading away at 70mph.  we didn’t even get into the mountains this trip and i could still feel my heart stretching, reaching to hold on.

they are in the distance now.  so much so that i cannot see them.

but i carry those mountains with me and know we will one day, again, be there.  i will catch my breath when they loom suddenly into view.  we will drive deeper into them, surrounded by forest and canyons and soaring beauty.  we will hike on adventures and we will sit and gaze in wonder.  and then, when it is time to leave, i will crane my neck and watch them disappear.  into the distance.  no dry eyes here.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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cheers. as we go. [two artists tuesday]

starbuckscups

anyone who knows us knows that we love our coffee.  every night we literally look forward to coffee the next morning; we even talk about it.

it’s no different when we travel.  friends, in incredibly thoughtful gestures, have given us starbucks cards that we load onto the phone (proudly, i might add, since that speaks to our APP savvy…ok, slight APP savvy.)  we drive a few hours and start looking for the signs – on the highway – or on the APP (which i have to say is sometimes frustrating since – it seems – the APP locator doesn’t differentiate what direction you are going and sometimes displays a starbucks cafe twenty miles away….and we get excited….only to realize it is twenty miles BEHIND us.)  but i digress….

pretty much every time we stop to get our double espresso (knowing sandy sue is rolling her eyes) we take a picture.  most of the time we send that picture (there are COUNTless photos of coffee cups on our phones) to our dear friend 20, although jen and others have received these oh-so-meaningful photos.  double espressos are good (called “doppio” if you want to seem really hip at the starbucks) because they make it possible to have lots of caffeine without having to stop at every rest area or small convenience store you pass while you are traveling long-distance.

we also love to find independent coffeehouses.  one day in asheville, north carolina we literally stumbled into a great little coffeehouse while trying to navigate through a town under construction after a stressful morning drive.  i found a lucky parking spot, parallel parked into it and said, “let’s go find some coffee.  i neeeeeed coffee.”  we got out of the car, looked around us, trying to figure out which way to walk and stared right into the window of a granola-organic cafe with sweet little mugs of espresso and great gluten-free vegan sandwiches.  ahh.  bliss.

if you’re traveling and want to keep in touch with us, text us some “cheers from….” with your coffee cups.  we can relate.

and today…a nod and so much love to my big brother, who loved coffee even more than i do.  i’ve missed you for 26 years.  i’ll always miss you.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

cheers. as we go.  ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


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you just might become inspired. [chicken marsala monday]

becarefulyoujustmightbecomeinspired WITH EYES jpeg copy

we drove through the plains, through the flint hills, through rolling prairie, through mountain passes, hills dotted with sagebrush, desert adorned with red rock formations.  we drove past working cattle farms, deer and antelope in the wild, horse ranches with fencing that went on forever.  we stopped in little towns high in elevation, two-building towns in the middle of mountain roads, towns with fancy boutiques and eateries, towns with little shops with names like ‘heart and sleeve’.  we met people who were little-town-leery-of-newcomers, people who embraced us, people just doing their job, people going out of the way doing their job.  we saw the wonder of a clear mountain night sky, streams dropping thousands of feet off red rock, arches that had invited themselves into a formation, blue-blues juxtaposed with green-greens and very-burnt-siennas, the grey and white of rocky mountains.  we felt the heat of the desert sun, the cool of a mountain river, the pouring-down rain of a passing colorado storm, the peace of high-elevation night air.  we sipped coffee in bed in a sweet southwest adobe house, lots of water on every trail, wine on the balcony overlooking the mountains and gin and tonics on the porch overlooking the town.  we shared time, laughter, dinners, lunches, even breakfasts, stories, Lumi-dog, tears, adventures and car rides with The Girl. we spent moments with people important to her and people we met along the way who are now our friends, generous people, kind people.  we collected stones in the river, sandstone in the desert, brochures and new colloquial expressions, the cherished sound of The Girl laughing, hugs and what it feels like to once again hold my daughter, goofy moments, sunburned noses, recipes, ideas and cardboard starbucks espresso cups we’ll use later to walk around the ‘hood with wine.  we loved the moment a way-younger-guy-with-great-dreadlocks passed us holding hands and walking on the sidewalk in a little high valley town and said, “you guys are cute.”

and every one of these things…all of this…inspired me.

so now i have photos and memories, receipts, rocks and prayer flags, matching braided leather bracelets and a shirt from the town where The Girl snowboard-instructs…all pieces of what will now be reminders.  reminders of every single thing that inspired me, inspires me, will inspire me.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on being inspired

chicken marsala monday – on our website

be careful. you just might become inspired. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood