Warning – this entry will be anticlimactic after yesterday, but I’m told I have to write one anyway. All your wishes/prayers for us worked, and we had a VERY boring day today (in a good way!).
We were up early to get on the road as soon as possible, considering we were 100 miles short of where we should have been, and were expected in Columbia, MO for a lunch with friends we knew in Okinawa. Our original plan was to be there around one or so for lunch…our modified plan had us arriving around 3:30 or 4. Couldn’t be helped.
But first, we had to medicate the cats. This is far more dangerous and dramatic than it sounds.
I declared myself the “piller,” as I’ve often had to pill my own cat ALONE, and without help. But the folks weren’t taking any chances, and used a towel to “burrito” both of them…which may have added more stress to the situation than was necessary. Plus, we got a “pill gun” from the vet yesterday, which is like a little syringe with a plastic hollow tube the pills go into, and then a little plunger in the back to pop them down the cat’s throat so you’re not sticking fingers down there and risking getting bitten. This also complicated matters, as I kept forgetting to hold it upright, and the tiny little pink pill quarters kept falling out onto the multicolored bedspread, leaving me to hunt them down amid hissing from the cat burritos and cursing from my mother.
Christine – 2, Cats – 0. We got a double dose into Marbles (the fat one), and took our life in our hands with little scaredy-cat, declawed Belle, who is terrified of everything, but could easily shred us to bits if only she still had front claws. When she gets worked up, she bats those little arms out like a boxer, slapping whatever she can reach and hissing and spitting like she’s possessed. I came out of it with a bite that landed with molars instead of canine teeth, so I was okay…we were too afraid to double her dose because she’s only 7 pounds and Marbles is almost 13.
Loaded ‘em and headed out. Made it over the Indiana line to Richmond for breakfast at an IHOP, scored myself a Starbucks on my Find-A-Starbucks App (KEY) while dad filled the tank on the truck, and headed back on the highway. It’s like the Camino on this trip…up early and westbound, the sun behind you…which is a blessing every day. It’s hard enough to drive early in the morning without being blinded by the sun. I’d hate to do this drive eastbound.
We’re DEFINITELY in the buckle of the Bible belt, though. We saw at least four or five megachurches once we hit Missouri. Giant, scary warehouse-sized megachurches. And two ENORMOUS crosses that looked like they were made out of house siding. MONSTROUS. A bit frightening. And the billboards in Missouri are primarily about the following things: Jesus, Hell avoidance, pro-life propaganda…and adult novelty stores.
Other than that, today was mainly characterized by two things before midafternoon – the NASCAR race on satellite radio (another blessing…yes, you heard me) and the fact that neither my mother nor I were able to keep ourselves safe from “road trance.” It doesn’t matter, apparently, whether I get a full night’s sleep or not…I get behind the wheel and before long, I’m drifting around in my lane and struggling to keep my eyes focused. When I’m not driving, it’s like I’ve got narcolepsy or something. It’s ridiculous. I dozed almost the entire day, other than my three hours of driving. Coffee didn’t even help much.
Dad reported the same. And at one point, he suffered from a rather extreme case of “old-man blinker.” I made the comment to Mom after he had his left turn signal blinking for a mile or so, and it persisted even through a lane-change back to the right…this from my compulsively-signalling father, who NEVER makes an unnanounced move in traffic. Mom called him just to tell him. He was mortified.
The Talladega race was great…even on the radio. Can’t wait to get home and watch it. And we finished it RIGHT before we arrived at the Walkers’ house in Columbia.
The Walkers are friends of ours from our time in Okinawa…another Marine family who followed their Oki tour with a 2-year tour in Ivory Coast, Africa. Their house is an amazing wealth of beautiful Okinawan and African art and artifacts. They had Japanese paintings everywhere…an elephant molar…beautiful wood carvings on the wall…clocks EVERYWHERE…and strange items like a Civil War-era folding dentist chair and an old-fashioned barber’s chair that had to be about 100 years old. Fascinating place. Enormous kitchen. Beautiful yard. Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches for late-lunch-early-dinner-whatever-meal-it-was…mmm!! It was great to see them. They have a huge totem pole, about 5.5” tall, on their front porch. Their house tells the story of their travels together…just fascinating.
We didn’t go too much further after their house. The clock said 5:30, but for us, it was 6:30 when we left. I spent the next hour on the iPad, researching pet-friendly hotels that would be on our way through Kansas City, and the one I picked is a great success. Much more spacious rooms…Mom and Dad are happy and even the cats are calm and acting normally.
Oh, I forgot to mention. The double on Marbles worked like a charm…she wasn’t OUT, but she was definitely “out of it.” Her big blue eyes were at half-mast, and she kept peering at things like Mr. Magoo, the inner membranes creeping up over her huge pupils. She was quiet all day. Not so much with Belle. We may pound her with a double tomorrow…we’ll see. To be honest, they seem to be doing fine with the travel. It might not be necessary to actually knock them out…and I’m sure a double will do that to Belle. A single dose doesn’t seem to affect her at all.
The weather was gorgeous all day. It was a bit chilly for most of the morning, but here in KC, it’s beautiful…it was about 70 when we arrived at 7:30pm or so. I hope that holds out for a while. Especially the part where there isn’t any DRIVING RAIN!!
Anyway, we’re on the east side of Kansas City now…planning to leave early and make Topeka for breakfast, and then do about 8 or 9 more hours (various GPS devices disagreeing) on our longest day and end up in Boulder. This stop is for me…to check it out and see if it’s a place I’d like to try out. If we can make Boulder tomorrow with no one falling asleep and plunging off the side of a mountain (good thing it’s mostly flat Kansas tomorrow, haha), we’ll be caught up to our original plan. Then, just Salt Lake City and Reno await.
About 1,200 miles down…about 1,500 to go. Keep us in your thoughts.
PS – Virginia readers: Today, we passed at some point: Winchester, Williamsburg, Cloverdale, Centerville, Danville, Springfield, Richmond, Stanton, NEW Stanton, and Staunton. Will we EVER get out of VIRGINIA?? (haha)