I can’t even begin to describe the joie de vivre—enjoyment of life; exultation of spirit—that continuously bubbled to the surface throughout my recent European holiday!
My two favorite locations were Venice, Italy and Santorini, Greece:
Venice—roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park, Venice welcomes 70 million visitors annually. And though it hustles and bustles with modern day activity, it continues to exude old world charm.
I had a wonderful time capturing memories.
Santorini—fresh-from-the-oven pita bread, hummus, big juicy olives, and rich purple bougainvillea climbing white walls. Heaven on earth? Yes!
If tapping your heels together three times would instantly transport you anywhere in the world—different from your current location—for a 3 week holiday, where would you go?
During my cross-country driving adventure in September, I got to enjoy 29 miles in the state of Arizona—just a snippet. The only photograph I took during that brief segment was of this Joshua tree, part of the Yucca family.
I’m not sure why, but standing in the company of this tree brought to mind a quote that I’d read in my planner by the Dalai Lama:
“Even those who do not know much about spiritual development can appreciate that those who possess an other-directed attitude have great power of mind. In Buddhism, such beings are called bodhisattvas—those who are heroically intent (sattva) on achieving enlightenment (bodhi) in order to help others more effectively.”
Pronounced boh-dee-SAHT-vah, this person has the wisdom to become a Buddha, but refrains from doing so in order to help others find salvation.
As you know, last week I had an adventure—a 2,100 mile roadtrip from Encinitas, California, back home to Crystal Lake, Illinois. As you saw in the photographs on the previous posts, the scenery traveling through Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska was breathtaking—each state compelling in its own unique way.
The highlight of my trip? That would be the 2-hour visit I had at the home of one of my mother’s closest friends, Mrs. Gaylor. It felt heavenly to be welcomed into her home and embraced by her warmth and good humor. A trace of the Carolina’s still lingers in her voice, bringing to mind amber-colored honey—gentle, unhurried, and sweet.
Laurie and Mrs. Gaylor
Then low and behold along come Chuck (left) and Joe (middle)—Mrs. Gaylor’s two sons—among my best friends growing up. I missed their sister Kathy (flying in from Montana) by one day. We gabbed and laughed as we reminisced about “incidents” we reminded each other of. Then all too soon I had to hit the road.
Chuck, Joe, and Mrs. Gaylor
It was a magical window of time—my growing up years on Goldenrod Street. I’m glad for the Gaylor-influence in my life. We couldn’t have lived so close for so many years and not have gleaned some of the best from each other. I’m proud to call them friends.
What friends were a positive influence in your growing-up years?
Proudly displayed on freeway signs, in rest stop areas, and on many of the state-issued license plates, “The Good Life” is Nebraska’s state slogan. The folks here are friendly and the drivers are courteous as we loosly follow the historic Overland Trail making our way toward the endless horizon, dotted with countless turbine wind generators lined up like white-clad soldiers against a flawless blue sky.
I leave Altoona, Iowa (state slogan “Fields of Opportunities“) this morning and expect to reach home — Crystal Lake, Illinois — this afternoon where I’ll get a rib-crushing bear hug from Len, and my hands and face will be licked to within an inch of my life by Willa, Lexi, and Claire as their tails beat out an enthusiastic “Welcome Home!” against my legs.
It has been a pleasure to share my adventure with you. I’ll return to my regular posting schedule — Tuesday and Thursday — the day after Labor Day.
By the way, sometimes it takes a while to discover, but all vehicles have a name. As we’ve gotten to know each other over the past two thousand miles, I’ve learned that the big, beautiful, smooth-running Ford F150 goes by “Clover” — it suits her well.
The drop-offs on the the side of the passes traveling through Vale, Breckenridge, and Georgetown, Colorado gave me a whole new respect for gravity. I don’t know the height at the summit, but I certainly appreciate the literal perspective of “high” in John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.”
Last evening my goal had been to reach Sterling, Colorado. However, there was a Melon Festival going on (I’m not kidding) so there was “no room at the inn,” so to speak. I continued on to Ogallala, Nebraska (southwestern corner). At dinner I was surrounded by what looked like a sea of cowboy hats and was referred to as “Ma’am,” “Little lady,” and “Hon.”
To say that I’m having a complete and total blast would be an understatement. I’m heading out shortly and will post again in the morning.
Yesterday I drove across Utah. To say that the scenery was breathtaking would be an understatement. Until yesterday, I can’t remember the last time I used the word “majestic” to describe anything. Yesterday the word was running through my head like a mantra.
As soon as I push the “publish” button, I’m pulling out of Green River, Utah. I’ll see you tomorrow morning with photographs of today’s adventure.
Get your motor running
Head out on the highway
Looking for adventure
In whatever comes our way
Laurie picking up Ford F150 Super Cab
I burned a great CD for left-lane driving as I make my way back home from Encinitas, California in the Ford F150 truck we just purchased from my dad. I also brought an assortment of books on CD—suspense novels—to keep me bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
I know the route I’m taking, but I don’t have a pre-determined set of stops; I’m driving by the seat of my pants—with GPS and road maps. Each morning before I hit the road I’ll take a photo of where I’m at and do a quick blog post so you can ride shotgun on this adventure. This morning we leave Barstow – in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains.
Foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains - Barstow CA
Buckle your seatbelt, roll down the window, put on your shades, and play the dashboard drums while I crank up the music:
Born To Be Wild – Steppenwolf
Somebody’s Knockin – Terri Gibbs
Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train – The Tractors
You Can’t Catch Me – Chuck Berry
Take It Easy – Eagles
Hot Rod Lincoln – Commander Cody
Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson
Panama- Van Halen
Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry
Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones
Ramblin’ Man – Allman Brothers Band
Everyday Is a Winding Road- Sheryl Crow
Road Trippin’ – Red Hot Chili Peppers
I can’t Drive 55 – Sammy Hagar
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Take the Long Way Home – Supertramp
Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
Roam – The B-52’s
Hit the Road, Jack – Ray Charles
I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash
The Road’s My Middle Name – Bonnie Raitt
I Get Around – The Beach Boys
Travelin’ Band – Creedence Clearwater Revival