Happy Thanksgiving, Itinerary Changes, Spread the Love

Happy Thanksgiving to all my cyber friends! I hope you are today surrounded by family and friends, carving out a bit of time for yourself and stuffing as much love as you can into the hearts of those around you!

I’m having a quiet day, enjoying a bit of downtime. Last night I had an impulse to write an e-mail to wish my siblings a Happy Thanksgiving and it occurred to me that too often I think of them all lumped together as “family” without taking the time to really appreciate them as individuals. That led me to write a note that gave a brief glimpse into how I experience each of my siblings and the special way each one has touched my heart and helped me grow. I have 12 siblings so the note took a while! It was well received and I encourage each of you to follow your impulses to share your love and feelings with the people you care about. Taking a step beyond our culturally accepted and safe expressions is scary, but so worth the effort. I’m learning that I frequently censor myself, fearful of being judged too “mushy” or overly sentimental. The truth is that we all need to hear how much we are loved and appreciated by those around us. Words have tremendous power and they can be such an agent for good. Choose your words wisely and use them often. I believe that love can change our world.

Dexter and took a nice long walk this morning and now he is snuggled under his blanket for a much-deserved sleep. He’s been up and on alert much more than normal so he was ready for a  crash day.

I’ve been toying with the idea of altering my route. After visiting my family in Oklahoma later this week, I realized I could easily drop down into Texas and pay a visit to the resting place of my parents in Fredericksburg, Texas. A few days after I started thinking about this, I mentioned it to my husband who strongly encouraged me to do so. He understands how meaningful family connections are and thought this would be a great opportunity to make the pilgrimage. A couple of days later, one of my nephews, Paul, posted a photo of my parent’s gravestone on Facebook. He and his lovely wife, Aleda, were on an anniversary trip to the area and had visited the site. No members of our family live in the town where they rest, so it is always a blessing to receive the news that someone has visited. I took this as a sign that I was being prompted to make the trip. This morning I met a lovely couple, Gary and Diane J., who live not far from Fredericksburg.  My Angels are persistent in their promptings so I guess it’s time for me to listen! I’m researching route changes and making reservations at area campgrounds. This little side trip as it turns out will also give me an opportunity to see my brother John, his wife Tracy, their daughter Robyn and her husband James and daughter, Rose. I’m going to meet them in Burleson, TX just south of Fort Worth.

I’m also hoping to catch up with my nephew Paul and his family since they live just an hour and a half from Fredericksburg.  And it turns out my friend Janice in Kerrville, TX will also be in town and up for a Wild Thing visit! I am so fortunate to have family and friends all around the country and love meeting new people along the way.  Gary and Diane J., the nice folks I met this morning, own an Airbnb property so if you are traveling in the Austin, TX area, check out this place:  Curly J Hilltop Mini-Ranch.  I traveled quite a bit using AirBnB before I got the Wild Thing and find it’s a good alternative to hotels.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I count each of you among my many blessings and I’m grateful that you are sharing this journey with me. I'll share my revised itinerary when it's ready!

Mind the Gap, Central Time, Interstate Convergence

When I awoke this morning I was surrounded by campers in the Walmart parking lot, most of whom had arrived after I went to bed.  This turned out to be quite a popular stop and there must have been 12 trailers as well as assorted vans and cars parked for an overnight stop. Dexter slept until 6 this morning, then burrowed under my blankets for another hour and a half. We were ready to go by 8:15 and had just over 200 miles to go. As I anticipated, traffic was heavy but we had plenty of time. It was still cool, 38F but sunny. Traveling on Interstate 40 West today across Tennessee, the route was hilly and we encountered several gaps along the way, the most notable being Crab Orchard Gap in the Crab Orchard Mountains. It was clear on the road but fog lay on the mountains and traffic was too heavy for me to get any photos, even with voice commands. There were electronic signs posted as I neared Nashville stating that there would be troopers every 20 miles and there were several folks pulled over for speeding. I am staying well within the speed limit with my rig! Nashville was quite a challenge to navigate. It is one of only 4 cities in the US where six interstate legs converge within the city's boundaries, I40, I65, and I24.  Five lanes of bumper to bumper traffic made navigation a challenge when the route demanded that I move from the far right lane to the far left lane and back several times. Most of the drivers here are courteous and I simply put my blinker on and waited for someone to let me in. I was happy to come through that gauntlet unscathed and look forward to the open road awaiting me in the southwest.

We arrived at our campsite around lunchtime having gained an hour when we passed into the central time zone. This campground is pretty basic, old and tired, but serviceable and safe. It's forecast to be 28 tonight so I will not be flushing out the antifreeze just yet. I'm hooked into electric power and that is enough for now. Dexter and I spent several hours outside this afternoon just romping around the park. He found a horse in a pasture that he was itching to wrangle, but the mare was having none of it.

I had a hot shower, washed up my dishes from last night, and spent some time reorganizing cupboards. That will be an ongoing project. As I settle more and more into the camper, I will re-arrange things into a more logical order. I'm looking forward to a quiet day off the road tomorrow. We'll hang out here in the Tanbark Campground for the holiday.  I have so much to be thankful for that it will be good to have a day to reflect on that.