When we last met, my family and I had made it through Utah and Colorado on our . And let me tell you, after hiking Arches State Park and digging for dinosaur bones by the Colorado River, it was hard to leave those Rocky Mountain states.
But leave we did. We headed into Kansas and about halfway through the state I started to panic. I suddenly thought, "What in the hell am I doing?"
It was there, out in the middle of nowhere, that I apparently, and unbeknownst to me, picked up two hitchhikers — my old friends Debbie Downer and Negative Nancy.
That's what I've named the two imaginary voices that show up in my head every once and a while. They don't come around often, but when they do, they always seem to choose the most inopportune times. Like that one.
To get my attention, Negative Nancy said something like, "Let's recap: Your plan is to drive with your kids, across the country, for over a month, so they can see sights they could simply look up online?"
Then her evil twin sister Debbie Downer chimed in: "And let's not forget you decided CAMPING, basically living out of your CAR, with your innocent, loving CHILDREN, is the best way to go. Come up with this plan all by yourself, did you, genius?"
And then my own mind takes over: "They're right. What have I done? What if I lose my wallet? What if the car breaks down? What if one of us has to go to the hospital?"
Then I really start to lose it:
"What if we're on a hike and I fall into an unmarked mine and my arm gets stuck between a rock and a hard place and I call for my kids to help but they can't hear me because they are arguing about whose turn it is to carry the backpack, and even if they could hear me the car won't start, and I lost my wallet so I don't have any money or ID so the hospital wouldn't take me anyway, so I'm going to have to saw my arm off like the guy in that movie. The only problem is since the girls have the pack, they have the pocketknife, so now I'm going to have to gnaw my own arm off with my teeth..."
It's about here when I pull myself together. I calmly decide that we are still definitely going to continue on our journey, but alone, so I send Negative Nancy and Debbie Downer packing. I logically analyze my fears and resume rational thoughts. If my wallet gets lost, we'll replace it. If the car breaks, we'll fix it. If one of us needs emergency care, we'll get it. Just like we would if we were home in Alameda.
Luckily for us, we made it through Chicago without falling down any unmarked mines.
This week we hit Kansas, as mentioned above, and stayed with a high school friend of my husband's and his family. It was a little slice of heaven to sleep in an actual bed for an evening and to use a shower that didn't take quarters!
Next it was on to Missouri and its stunning Gateway Arch, then finally up to Chicago to get some culture at the Art Instute. We also visited the Willis (Sears) Tower and Herritage Square. Then it was on to Indiana and its Amish herritage. Next stop: Niagara Falls, New York. East Coast, here we come!