I check my emails as per usual every morning, and I find that my scatophile friends are pleased with yesterdays’ Packing the Van Part Two post. The gourmands are disgusted with the mashed potato revelation. A blogger cannot hope for more than such intense emotional responses from readers.
After those fun moments, my first day on the road starts off slowly. I am scheduled to get my annual blood work done at my Doc in Cheyenne (70 miles into trip). So, that is my first stop. No stops for food or anything since I have to do “fasting” labs.
While the young lady draws my blood I suggest that she could take a few extra pints. I explain that I am heading off into vampire territory today and that I heard if you get your blood levels down (just enough to keep you conscious while driving), vampires were less likely to be a problem. She doesn’t buy it. So I head out only one vial short of blood. Next stop in Cheyenne: Starbucks. However, I have a little episode before I get there.
I am driving (slowly) like an old lady, which I always do in the van. As always when I am in the “big” cities, the guy behind me honks. Right after that, I have to get into the left turning lane. The light turns red and I see that this guy will now be on my right side while we both pull up to the light. He stops a little ahead of me. I nudge the van up a little so I am even with him. I look at him for a few seconds, and finally he turns and looks at me, somewhat horrified. I waved, smiled, and mouthed “good morning”. He looks stunned (no doubt expecting a one finger salute) and mouthed good morning back.
Now what is that all about? I just finished a three-part sermon on creating communities of love, as opposed to communities of aggression (like honking the horn at little old lady drivers) and violence. I suggest yesterday in the concluding sermon that each of us can do our own little part in showing kindness and love to others. So, I decide to practice what I preach, even though I am on vacation : )
I get to Starbucks. I positively love Mocha Chip Frappuccino Light. Since I am breaking my fast I order a Venti, which comes with 3 shots of espresso. YUMMMMMMM. What great trip so far, blood draw, an act of loving kindness, and Mocha Chip Frappuccino Light.
In that mood I pull onto Interstate 80, in Cheyenne. Once I get through town (3 seconds later), I turn on my satellite radio (Sirius). I crank up my favorite station, Classic Vinyl. First up: Angie by the Rolling Stones. The next songs included Dreams (Fleetwood Mac), Sunshine of Your Love (Cream), Telephone Line (Electric Light Orchestra).
King Tango, on my bed while I drive
Ducks are flying overhead and I wave at all the highway workers I pass, spreadin the love. Soon I cross the Nebraska Line. At Potter, NE, I decide to get off I-80 and jump onto the Old Lincoln Hwy, the precursor to I- 80. Lincoln Hwy runs parallel, about ½ – 1 mile away. The big difference is that you get to go through small towns and see all the historic markers.
I pull into a gas station to top off the tank (normally I drive until the warning light comes on then panic for 20 miles until I find a gas station). This trip I am trying to be a mature adult, so I fill er up while I have the chance. As I pull up to the gas pumps, I see that I will have to wait while a guy in a tractor finishes filling up. I jump out of the van to walk Tango while I wait.
Tango’s First Fire Hydrant of the Trip
I say hi to the guy on the tractor. He smiles, and darn it…if he doesn’t say haaaaw dune, which is rancher talk for how you doin. This recovering city girl knows that because he said it just like my friend Bob the Rancher, who died in November 2012. From a distance the guy even looked like Bob. Fine, and how are you doing, I answer.
So next I ask him how many gallons that big old tractor holds. He said 100. Wow, I said. I asked the next most obvious question, how long does that last? Ten hours he said. The dyed diesel fuel he was pumping costs 3.00/gal, so I bet you can do the math. Anyway, after he fills up, Mr. haaaaw dune drives off. I wave goodbye. He waves too. Mow o that Jesus love spreading around.
Bye Mister, Who Looks Like Bob
On the Lincoln Highway, I turn the satellite radio back on, this time, to the Doors, Jimi Hendrix and so on.
First Historical Marker
I pass farms, ranches, cattle, tractors, farms ranches, cattle, tractors. Thoughts of Bob are stirring up. I am getting sad.
Then I pull into the little town of Chappell, NE. It is the prettiest little town I have seen so far, with cute brick houses, and a lively spirit. No fast food chains. Once through town, more country, more farms, more cattle, more thoughts of Bob. I start thinking about how I am still mourning a good friend and a future that will never happen and heading east to pull out my roots from the past.
The last straw: Moon Dance (Van Morrison). I turn off the radio and decided enough of this Lincoln Highway stuff. Back roads are not what I need right now. At the first chance I turn back towards I-80, looking for that comfortable road-trip bubble.
Voila! I cross the South Platte River. That is enough to make me happy again. I see birds everywhere but am going too fast to identify any. Part of my Nebraska journey is all about the various Platte Rivers and birds. I used to live near the South Platte in Colorado, and now I live near the North Platte in Wyoming. I live in Platte County, WY. The locale for the headwaters of the North Platte is some of my favorite country. I planned to stop for the night at Buffalo Bill State Park, in North Platte, NE. This is one of the premiere Sand Hill Crane viewing spots.
I pull up to a big gas station complex in Big Springs, NE. It is lunch time so I head inside. Voila again: a Subway. I get my first Subway egg white sandwich of the trip.
Pulling onto I-10 my mood continues to elevate. I turn the radio on. Voila again. It’s Yes, singing All Good People (Don’t surround yourself with yourself …..Send that instant karma to me….)
I begin to wonder how I am going to remember all these songs. A rest stop appears and I pull off to walk Tango and make some notes for you all before everything drifts away. I pull out my folding chair and Tango’s tie down and settle under a still barren tree to start writing.
Soon, 3 ladies walk by just lovin Tango. Oooohhh he is so cute. Ohhhhh what a cute puppy doggie. Ooooohhhh doggie woggie.
Why is it, I wonder, that a posse of nice looking men never walks by and goes gaga over Tango? Is it too much to ask for some guys in cowboy boots and jeans to walk by and say, Howdy darlin, nice looking hound ya got there, why doncha come on over to the saloon and we’ll buy you a drink?
Anyway, I get all the pertinent stuff written down. I feel cool breezes and hear happy chirping birds, which turn out to be nasty grackles looking for scraps of sandwiches and banana peels that picnickers left lying around.
I watch people pull up, use the bathroom, and jump back into their cars. The license plates are from Alabama, Ontario, Iowa, and Nebraska (of course). No one else from WY yet; not odd considering there are so few of us.
Another semi roars past and I know it is time to get moving. I am feeling like I may want to drive a longer distance than planned for today. I worry about a snow storm coming in. I am not yet to North Platte, NE, so I have time to decide if I want to go on into the night or camp along the banks of my North Platte River as planned. Hmmmmmmmm.