Monday, August 20, 2007

Expedition Report

My apologies, but this will be visually unexciting, just a quick hello. After two days visiting with my mother before she flew back to Reno, and two nearly catatonic days*, I am just now getting my act back together. I do promise photographs very, very soon... I am now (thanks, Mom) the proud owner of a new Canon PowerShot, but have temporarily misplaced the manual so I still have to figure out how to get the photographs from there to here.

Off-hand, the incredible things I saw include South Dakota (all of it); Powell's City of Books (and, as promised, I was NOT disappointed. That place is a dream come true); sunset over the Great Salt Lake; Churchill Downs (the big question now being, should I buy the Thoroughbred before or after I build my sailboat?); the Columbia River Gorge (aka a living Maxfield Parrish painting); the site of the original Little House on the Prairie; and a forest fire I apparently drove through, although I didn't see any actual flames, only one thick column of smoke coming up from the brush twenty feet off the highway, at which point I thought, Man, they were serious when they put out those "No Stopping Next 10 Miles" and "Caution Fire Ahead" signs, and decided not to actually get out of the car and shoot some close-ups. Sorry. I have some general shots to share, though.

That's just the beginning of the list.

I visited with a number of incredible people, including one very special person from far away, one lovely couple who made me fantastic tomato sandwiches, and friends who graciously housed my mother and me in Colorado. All of the visits were far too short.

I came home with a notebook full of receipts, one magnet, one tin lunch pail and a corncob doll (just like Laura's), a handful of coasters, three new books (yes, I showed remarkable restraint), a pile of postcards, a number of pressed pennies, two Harley-Davidson t-shirts for my husband, two charms for my bracelet, two coffee mugs (only the coolest coffee mugs ever), three boxes of my grandmother's things, and her sewing machine, which I would hesitate to even touch if I didn't know she'd be right there saying, "I know you can do it, Sweet Thing."

Oh, and a hotel ice bucket that found its way into my ice cooler. It wasn't me, that I can swear to you.

p.s. Did I mention that the bride looked absolutely stunning?

p.p.s. And it was actually 7100 miles all together. And I learned that one can average 50 mph over a day in West Virginia and Kentucky, but 73 mph over a day in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, rest stops included.

* I am not exaggerating about the catatonia; I thought I had another weird virus, a peril of travelers, you know, but now I realize it was either just plain exhaustion or altitude sickness from traversing three mountain ranges five times in two weeks, which would explain a lot of strange symptoms I had during the trip