CHANGE OF GAME PLAN
Time: 9:50 am
I waited about an hour to see what the weather was planning for the day. Instead of continuing north on 281 to O’Neill and then west on HWY 20, I decided on HWY 2 which headed northwest hoping to avoid the storm they were predicting in Central NE. I noticed that the hail last night gave me a crack in the windshield. I could find any other dings but Rubi’s dirty. I’ll have to look later.
It was another incredibly stressful day. I spent most of it trying to stay ahead or slow down to avoid catching up to storms ahead of me. There were occasional spots of sunshine but few and far between. I stopped for gas in Thedford, NE. Just outside of town, I encountered hail again. Since I powered through it last night, I did the same today. Poor Rubi is getting hammered.
Time: 1:07pm c / 12:07pm m
I dont think I’ve ever been so stressed about the weather for such a sustained period of time. Two days now and each minute has been filled with some sort of dread. It’s exhausting.
SOUTH DAKOTA FINALLY
Time: 3:00pm c/2:00 m
I stopped for gas in Martin, SD. Back skies masked my path forward. Just outside of town, I again found hail. Like some cosmic joke. I am now paranoid about stopping for gas. Hail three times in two days. Rubi’s going to rebel any minute and make me face the hail without her protective cover. I’ll be shocked if the only damage is the crack in the windshield.
I found a brief reprieve from rain near Wounded Knee. I drove up to the monument. It is surrounded by an ugly fence. I am disappointed that I didn’t ask the folks to stand back so I could take a shot of the entrance. I also should have shot the historical marker. You can see where a small plaque of the word massacre was mounted over another word which I can only guess said “battle” or something like that used to indicated it was somehow a fair fight.
When I hit Oglala, SD the radio announces that Martin, SD is now under the threat of a tornado. I am beginning to feel like tornados are now stalking me personally. My first stretch of HWY 18/385 was a solid, soaking rain and finally I am not scared. This rain feels good, cleansing even.
Hot Springs was interesting. A town that follows a river. I would like to visit it again. The rest of my trip was soothing. Everything was wet but the trees were hugging me and the winding road with all its switchbacks and rugged walls that surrounded me were calming.
I am finally relaxing.
CAMPGROUND IN HILLS CITY
Time: 6:00pm m
The Black Hills are really black like Oklahoma Red Dirt is red. I settled into the campground. This cabin’s not as nice as the one in Grand Island but the view and surroundings are much better. I have a creek right behind my cabin.
After dinner, I went on out to Mount Rushmore. It is lighted at night. From my vantage point, it looked smaller then I thought it would. Coming in from the other direction, you get a better view from the road. There’s a turn out where you can see a profile view. It’s of Washington. I took some shots but with my meager knowledge of photography and an inability to hold the camera still (a tripod would help), I didn’t get much. I did however, manage to capture the extraordinary sky. It’s that rare blue that you can only see just between dusk and dark and only after it rains. It was so gorgeous, I took what was all around me.
Day 1 – May 4, 2007
The day started relatively uneventful. I was about an hour behind schedule having decided to give myself an extra 45 minutes of sleep and a quick stop at hayseed’s house to say goodbye.
About 7 miles south of Bellevue on 287, I spotted a sign for Hopewell Cemetery. I wonder if this is where Walt got the picture for his cd cover.
I crossed the Red River close to noon (11:41am). Signs told me that OK is celebrating its centennial, 100 years as a state. I stopped to visit my grandparents at the Fort Sill cemetery (Dixie, Bill). I finally exited 281 on a familiar stretch of highway that used to take me home to Elgin. It is weird to think that all those years I lived there that all I would have had to do was step out my front door to a highway that could take me all the way south to the border of Mexico or north to Canada.
The tiny little smoke shop just off the exit and before Porter Hill where all my friends in high school would go to get cheap cigarettes is still there. It’s now the tiniest casino on what must be the tiniest Indian reservation. And, Dolese is still there changing the landscape; mining rocks and crushing sand.
The old house looks worse each year. I drove along the lakeside, looking at the back of the house. I am surprised to see the porch still stands. I followed the dirt road down to the water. The lake has changed so much that there is no longer water in the part of lake that I would wake up and see every morning. The spot where my grandfather would put me on his shoulders to walk us through the water to the island where we would fish is now bone dry.
I stopped in next town, Apache, for an indian taco. One of these days I’ll learn to make fry bread so I can make them for myself. Then I will not have to wait to have one once every ten years…about as often as I get back there.
OTHER TIDBITS: Binger, OK is the home of Johnny Bench. In 5th grade, my softball coach nicknamed a a teammate, Vickie, Johnny Bench because she was catcher and he called me Pete Rose because of my head first slides. I need to look up Red Rock Canyon in Hinton, OK.
KANSAS SUCKS – Kansas state line
My evening turned really thrilling as I closed in on the NE state line. By the time I hit Smith Center, I was in the middle of storms threatening tornados. Thanks to a kind citizen who, unbeknownst to him, lent me his metal car port allowed me to avoid the hail though it would find me later.
Unable to find a way around or a safe place to stop, I decided to continue northeast. The route took me toward the storm I’d just let pass but another one behind was threatening more tornados. I drove as slow as possible so I wouldn’t catch the hail and severe weather but the storm was also slow. By the time I reached Lebanon, KS, I had caught the storm again. Now going north toward Red Cloud NE, I found myself in the hail. I turned back around to wait it out at a county road further back. The radio was calling out a tornado in Riverton, 20 miles west of Red Cloud. I knew I had to keep moving forward if I wanted to stay ahead of the tornado filled storm. A trail of storm chasers past by so I tucked in behind them reasoning that they were racing to a storm but would not be putting themselves in a direct path. It didn’t keep me out of the hail but it did get me past the storm. The hail was good for the mere fact that I got mad and forgot to be scared.
NEBRASKA STATE LINE
I reached the campground just after 10:00pm and happy to have a sturdy structure to ride out the storms as they caught up to me. I like the little cabin.
So, I haven’t been blogging in sometime… having given up livejournal for my own obvious reasons. I put up some information on myspace but with it’s less than favorable reputation with those in my work community, I think I’ll keep to the music and away from the blog there.
However, I have been writing more lately. I’ve spent a good deal of time journaling, mostly poetry. And, I am feeling more than inspired to finish the short story project that I put away so long ago.
There is something to be said for the inevitable lightness that comes when you are relieved of relationship burdens.
Special and warmest thanks to Cari and Aliya, guests on the Texas Music Cruise, for supplying some of the pictures here. I lost an entire disk of pictures from the first show and Cozumel and therefore are less pictures to show than I’d hoped…
These journal entries were written conversationally to someone at home. There are pictures throughout but here is an introductory set: Group Picture & The Girls trust me this is worth viewing.
I found the internet and can tell you that it is a relief. I feel better knowing I can communicate with you at least is some format. I was so hoping to talk with you this morning. I am sorry if you tried to call me back. The service was none existent once we hit the boat.
So, it (the boat) moves much more than they say. Constant rocking but so far I am not too sickly. There are so many people milling around. I have to say that the best part so far were the dolphins playing near the ship before we set to sail and then as they followed our departure playing happily in the waves. I was envious of them.
I am missing you. There is a tightness in my chest I can only attribute to you. Just knowing that you are always right on the edge of my eye sight and just at the tip of my tongue. In each moment and every minute is peaceful and welcome.
I’ll write again later. I wonder if you want a blow by blow. I’ll write later anyway.
Awoke early and due to the time change, It is pretty early. Last night I stayed in the cabin and watched Pirates of the Caribbean. It was funny and much better than I thought it would be. This morning I took in the sea air had breakfast with Olive and Susan and Susan’s parents Nancy and Walt. Spring is sick and holed up in the cabin…
I gave her “the watch” and hopefully she will try it. I haven’t used it actually and am doing ok. Every so often I get a flush that rises up from my neck, and a sweat that starts under my eyes with just a small wave of nausea. It recedes pretty fast. Walking is like being drunk. You sway from side to side without any real solid footing.
I am about to go pick a tour for my one of my days in port. My favorite idea is the bike trip to some rivers and then to kayak on them. I suspect they are clear and blue. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how incredibly blue the water is out here. I fight the urge to jump over and just be surrounded by the water so blue, so rich, so clean looking. I could pick swimming with dolphins but it seems like something I’d rather do with someone. It’s the kind of memory I think I’d rather share.
I dreamed of the lake again. This time I was looking for you and then you appeared at the end of the dock walking toward me. The water was still and I was suddenly calmed again.
I am happily absorbed with thoughts of you. It makes me smile.
Because I want to be careful, I am trying to give Erin and Jenni plenty of space to have a vacation of their own. This is not too hard as I am hardly ever uncomfortable being by myself.
I am counting the minutes until I am in front of your face again. The moment when I can see your eyes and taste the soft, coolness of your lips and warmth of your tongue on mine. I am quite taken with every thought of you and all the possibilities.
Until then and always,
Just got back from the show…they all played short sets and then a few songs with all the women. They did a beautiful a’capella version of the “water is wide”. I sang along even though I didn’t recognize the last verses at all. Such is me, I’ll sing to anything. It was great and this big room with a pink curtain that resembled a bad bridesmaids dress. I took a thousand pictures of the show. I had to use mostly black and white and sepia because of the ugly ass curtain.
Spring is doing oh so much better.
She’s wearing the watch and joined us finally this afternoon. I have to go get dressed for the formal. Jenni gave me the idea to rent a shirt so I’ll be wearing a tuxedo shirt and black linen pants. Jenni will be wearing a gorgeous dress and Erin brought a suit so I think I might be underdressed. Oh well they did say formal. I just thought I would skip those. Sometimes I am a “joiner” despite myself.
Since I forgot to answer you before, no, it (sic. the watch) does not really tell time. Its only resemblance to a watch is its resemblance to a watch. It has a face and a strap with a plastic face and five numbers to set the amount of pulse you need. I am a two to three usually. Spring says she’s up to four and five.
I’ll be back later to tell you some more. I just wanted you to know how much you are in my thoughts. I am glad you are having a cold front. I share your discomfort with long exposures to heat and love colder weather. I should probably live somewhere else but I have the soul of a Texan. My heart is in the shape of Texas.
Oh, and, the lake is small and surrounded by mountains both close and far away. It’s green with trees and the water is fresh and clear looking. Maybe how I imagine my perfect place to look. Maybe I am seeing a movie set. Maybe I am making up my future.
Right now, I wish you were here.
Missing you as always,
So, I am about to go to sleep I think. I am tired. I drank a lot this afternoon. It’s that kind of trip. Plenty of opportunities to drink. I had the pumpkin soup and a nice entrée of stuffed quail at dinner. Took in a show after. All in all it’s been a busy day and now all I want to do is lay down, curl up next to you and fall asleep in your arms. Sooner rather than later.
Tomorrow, I am going into Cozumel with Erin and Jenni. We are renting scooters to tour the island and plan to end up at Carlos and Charlie’s or Senor Frogs for cheaper cervesas and beach bum attitudes.
There’s a guy in the piano bar next door covering Elton and James and Billy. I know how much you like James.
What are you doing now? Hopefully you are truly enjoying the cooler weather. I imagine you sitting comfortably in a soft sweater, drinking something warm and reading. I am picturing you in a cool breeze with your cheeks reddened by it all with a smile and bright eyes. I am picturing you all kinds of ways…know what I mean?
LOST PICTURE DAY
I am just back on the boat. We woke this morning in “the cave” that is our stateroom and thought is was late morning like 11 or 12 but when Erin came back from getting coffee he said it was only 7:30 am. We got up anyway and were off the boat early. Instead of renting scooters, we rented a jeep. It cost us less per person with insurance and as you can see we made it back safe and sound. We took the whole route around the island stopping at every touristy spot and then took in a seaside bar for lunch in the afternoon. After that we found the beach deserted so we had our own private beach for a few hours. Picked up some sand and rocks there too.
We spent the rest of the afternoon driving back and then sat at a Fat Tuesdays for a beer. We are back here to finally shower (thank god) and to have dinner here since it’s free. The songwriters added a late show tonight so I think we are planning to go back off the boat for drinks at Fat Tuesdays and then return for the show this evening.
I got good shots today though I ran out of disc space early on and forgot to bring extras…dumb. Jenni got a few good shots so I expect we are all just going to trade pics. (this turned out to be a defective disk and not that I ran out of shots)
I have been wondering what thing was going to speak to me, what thing would be the thing I would just have to get for you and it was found in the first shop we went into this morning right off the boat. I couldn’t believe the store. I know you’ll understand when I give you the gift However, cheesy it might be it was a whole store full of one thing. I couldn’t believe it at all.
I remember why I don’t like the ocean. It’s salt water makes me feel bloated and in my mouth it instantly burns my nose and throat. It is so sad that something so amazing to look at makes me feel so badly. Don’t misunderstand, I was happy sitting in the cantina, drinking beer and feeling the full ocean air on my face while listening and watching the waves crash the shore. I was even happy walking on the sand for the same reasons. I just have to remember how bad the water actually makes me feel. It seems so divergent. When sitting near a river I feel so alive and near the ocean so flat and heavy. All kinds of water is not all the same for me.
I hope this means something to you and I wish more than anything to be saying to your face soon. I am always thinking about you. I am imagining your skin, your eyes, your touch, your smile and all of these things I see with real clarity. I know the distance leaves something to be desired but I hope with all my being that the words reach you with equal meaning.
I am just about to leave the ship again. Setting out in Calica for a bike and kayak adventure to the fresh water river kayaking and swimming in the sink holes, (cenotes).
I’ll be gone all day and we end up at a lunch buffet and open bar so I suspect I’ll use all of it.
Anyway, I just wanted to say good morning.
Missing you even more always,
I can’t wait to tell you about the adventure and the gorgeous tour guide, Katya but for now I am off to play.
Hello. Just so you know, I am speaking to you as I am trapped in the worst hangover. It feels like motion sickness and therefore I am quite miserable with no one to blame but myself. I got to the room at about four this morning and slept until now. I managed to get some food down but it didn’t stay there.
I hate feeling bad when I am not in my own space.
I earned the hangover. I was having a good time. My island adventure ended about two yesterday and we had to be back in the boat by three so I didn’t see much of the port. Yesterday’s excursion was worth the money. I biked, kayak’d, snorkeled and then bike some more. Very active day. Back on the boat I tried to nap but Erin and Jenni came into the room about four and thus started my downfall into the alcohol induced oblivion. We drank and drank and I was drunk by seven. Then we drank and drank some more.
It was a cool evening. I got to play my harmonica (to almost every song) for hours with other people on the Lido deck and with everyone watching. (I joke I think it wasn’t really to lido deck)I played with Susan and Michael and Bonnie and others, (Cari and Kim I think) when they each took a turn on the guitar and I even played guitar once. I sucked but I sucked with real drunk style while apologizes feverishly to the very patient music lovers enduring my efforts. They were extraordinarily patient. So, that was my evening. Shelley wasn’t there last night but I ran into her this morning and she said she heard that I was playing a mean harp and I have to tell you that that felt awesome. Awesome to hear that there were people who were impressed with my playing.
The captain is now on the loud speaker telling us our position and knots. This is the last day and I am glad that we will be home tomorrow. He is now doing a weather report. I am glad that I will see you soon. I am glad that I will be able to kiss you and touch your skin soon…
I hope you are having an outstanding day. The last show just ended.
We port at 8:00 am tomorrow. There’ll be customs to deal with and a few other slow downs. I expect to be in San Antonio sometime after noon.
I’ll be calling you early. Don’t answer if you are sleeping but call me back so I can hear your voice. All will be good when I can hear you talking in my ear.
See you tomorrow! I am as ever…yours,
This is my very first time to post an entry a live journal. A friend of mine had me check out the site last week. Seems she has a few friends posting here. I have read a few entries from them. They are, however, only aquaintances.
I am still working on the profile information. My S.O. is off playing at camp for a few days so I am on my own to negotiate the technology here.
Where it will take me?