Wow. That was fun.
The Sole Heir and I got back from our third Home Office Western Tour late Saturday night. This is Wednesday, and I have enough of my life put back together to start writing again.
The trip was a success by any measure. A three-day drive to Colorado (the Crazy Like Me Correspondent flew ahead) to visit the Sibling Correspondent and his family at The Home Office West. Relaxing in the pool and hot tub—he has his own little resort there, clean towels and everything; you just have to make your own bed—cooking out, seeing the mountains, getting corny Western-style sepia-tone pictures taken, letting the stress and East Coast Overload fall from us like snow off of a roof on the first warm day of spring.
Craze flew home on Sunday and the Sole Heir and I drove northwest, into Wyoming. The next five days were a fantasy vacation: Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, then driving along the Yellowstone River through Montana. (The Yellowstone is the most beautiful little river you'll ever see, which is saying something, since we saw the Wind River, too.) Little Bighorn Battlefield was much more moving than we anticipated, and the Story Pines Inn was a beautiful little gem the GPS needed a dirt road to get to. Devils Tower, Deadwood and Lead (motorcycle week at nearby Sturgis; bummer). Surrounded by burros and buffalo at Custer SD State Park. The Badlands. A drive-by of the Spam Museum. (Honest to God. We were too early to go in. We got pictures.) Wisconsin frozen custard at The Dells and Italian beefs at Portillo's. Miniature golf on the course where I taught her to play when she was three. (She routinely kicks my ass now.) Glen's frozen custard in Cheswick PA, where I learned to love it. An hour with the Ancestral Correspondents. Then home.
The statistics: 5,186.2 miles driven through fourteen states. Perfect weather, except for about twenty minutes driving through Indiana, when it rained so hard I couldn't see a hundred feet and The Sole Heir kept giggling about how she quit driving just in time. We saw prairie dogs, gophers, a golden eagle (up close), two bald eagles in flight, grizzly bears and wolves (albeit in a preserve), deer and antelope (just hanging out, not playing), the aforementioned rowdy burros, and well over five hundred buffalo, a couple as close as ten feet away. We saw hot springs and mountains covered with snow in August, which might not mean much to a Sherpa but is unheard of in Maryland. We stayed in three towns with combined populations of less than 2500, and ate a meal in the Two Bit Saloon.
And now we're back. The bills will trickle in, and they'll actually be fun to pay, because every one is a memory. By Monday afternoon I wasn't stiff anymore. Back at work two days now, still mellow, a little confused as to why everyone else thinks some of these things are so important.
Ready to go again.