2020-04-16 Lottery Ticket Happiness

Every time I drive west across Nebraska on I-80 I’m full of hope and excitement about what’s to come. If I’m driving west on that long stretch of boring interstate I’m driving away from home and toward something fun and different, people I love and mountains I marvel. I know that soon I will be wrapped up in feverish conversation, catching up, and clinking glasses in cheer.

Maybe I’ve got concert tickets at Red Rocks or plans to hike some new wondrous scene. So many opportunities for capturing pictures and words and memories.

When I’m in the car driving west it’s like the best feeling. It’s freedom. Everything about it is freedom. I gather snacks that are not good for me and allow myself to get that gas station cappuccino that’s loaded up with sugar and nerds or sweet-tarts or something else that’s pure sugar and throw in some giant bag of Chex mix to balance out all that sweetness with salt and crunch. I allow myself guilt free snacking and singing out loud to my favorite tunes. All of that is freedom.

I have a tradition of stopping in Ogallala Nebraska before I drive across the border into Colorado. I whip the car down the exit ramp and find a gas station to buy a lottery ticket.

I’m not a lottery ticket purchaser normally, but the mood of the road trip changes a person. If I won the lottery, it be cool to win with a ticket purchased in Ogallala. What a headline, right?!

“Omaha woman wins millions in Ogallala”.

That would be priceless even if I never collected a dime.

Then, as I cross over into the desolate sparse grassland rolling hills of Colorado, which are only slightly less boring because the scenery has changed, I have a little sliver of hope in my possession. I can keep my little hope-secret tucked safe inside the pocket of my coat or backpack or snug under the clip of my garage door opener above the window visor. And there it will stay.

At random moments on my trip I can think about it and dream what it would be like to win. What would I do with those millions? Oh how my life would change and what power I would have to change the lives of others for the better. My kids would not have to worry about how they would pay for college and my parents wouldn’t have to worry about how they would be taken care of as they grow old.

And there would be so much more. You know. I could give and give to all the organizations I believe in. Maybe spear head some plan to turn garbage into fuel for the future. Of course it would not truly be endless, and I would still have to choose, but the hope of it is freedom. And that, in turn, makes me happy.

If only to think about it for a brief moment.

Then I get where I’m going and have my fun and eventually have to say goodbye and get in my car to drive hone. Somehow the drive home takes twice as long and is 4 times as boring. Why is that?

Nothing to look forward to. Work and responsibility and the hum-drum of the everyday. On my way I may or may not stop back in Ogallala to have them check my ticket. I’ve probably lost interest and just want to get home.

Sometime later I might find that ticket in a pocket or in between the pages of a book I haven’t looked at in months or in a folder holding other flat memorabilia from the trip. It will remind me of the good time I had. It will remind me that freedom and hope are priceless, and that money really had nothing to do with those feelings. As long as I have enough for gas to get me there and back and load my bag up with snacks, I’ll be happy.

That lottery ticket is worth every penny. Also I just like to say Ogallala.

Ogallala, Ogallala, Ogallala! Oh haha I love you Ogallala!

I can’t wait to start planning again!

Cheers to Road Trip Daydreaming in the time of Covid,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-03-15 Out With the Old, In With the New

I’m briefly interrupting the current SugarCookie Series to write the Sunday Day Trip Status with a hint of realization and a pinch of actual stats.

Where to start? An interesting thing happened when I opened this note, started to type, and realized the date. March 15th. The Ides!!

Usually as this day approaches I think a lot about it (because of the history in it) and also usually get an ominous vibe thinking something bad is going to occur. Did Cesar have a creepy feeling when the soothsayer issued him a warning? I would think that would give anyone pause.

I have not thought about any of that or had any worry this year. I actually didn’t even realize what day it was. Shortly after getting up, we packed a few rations and jumped in the car. We drove west on I-80 with the hope of seeing some Sandhill cranes. We had a quaint little day trip and got as far as the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary.

The visitor center there was open despite all official tours being cancelled. We had no interest in going inside because we could learn anything we wanted by reading about the cranes online. We went to see the birds, which we did. Sort of.

We saw some from the car and used binoculars to get a closer look. We rolled the windows down so we could hear them, but we didn’t really get to experience the mass of birds you hear about when people talk about the migration. Apparently we would have had to go farther west for that and also arrive wherever that is at dawn or dusk when they are most active. Perhaps next time. We stopped there and turned around to head home.

For me it was just nice to get out of the house even though we didn’t even get out of the car. I wasn’t in the mood for a cold muddy hike and was more interested in just getting to spend 5 uninterrupted hours with my man. It was good conversation and we did learn a little googling about the migration along the way.

So, like I said, it wasn’t until I started to type the date just now that I realized what day it was. The 10 year anniversary of my divorce and also the anniversary of the day my dad had his heart attack. That’s how I know my life is so much better now.. I don’t dwell on these details. It’s a beautiful thing to forget the bad times.

Spending half a day in the car means I didn’t get any steps in so I’m trying to make up for that now. We’ll see how well I do this late in the day. I’m already losing motivation to follow through with the status analysis part of this session. Perhaps an abbreviated check..

Sleep: Average sleep score of 73 with an average of 6 hours and 49 minutes of sleep each night.

Steps: Just over 70k steps which averages to 10k a day. Ok I guess. This stat has taken a hit this week cuz Jazzercise classes are on the restricted activities list. Booooo!

School: I finished editing 2/3rds of my current thesis manuscript. Cheers for that success!

Weekly submission goal: Success! I’m now 3 for 3 with submitting to some publication or contest. Let those rejections commence. This week I also created a spreadsheet to track that activity and loaded it with my submission history going back to my first submission in 2017 (until 4 weeks ago, there’s only been a total of like 4 so I’ve almost doubled that in one month).

Work: I put in a whopping 18 hours. Money in the bank baby!

What else? I finished watching the bachelor and was disappointed in the result. It was dramatically satisfying but c’mon Pilot Pete?! How could you??!! Whatever.

I think that’s all I have in me today. I think it’s enough.

I guess the ominous bad thing happening March 15th this year is the chaos caused by a global pandemic. Things seem to be changing rapidly each day and I just don’t know what to expect when I wake up each day.

Cheers to forgetting bad memories and replacing them with good ones,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-10-12 Great Day’s and Girls Only Getaways

I ended my post a few days ago with “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Great.” And indeed it was and how did I know that? How?

On Wednesday evening when I was walking the treadmill and thinking and writing I was sort of in a sour mood as I had been running around all day and did not accomplish much. The things I did get done were not very satisfying. I guess I was thinking (or hoping) that the day to follow was going to be better. Perhaps more self-fulfilling prophesy than premonition. Whatever it was.. the next day (Thursday) was really great.

Of course because it was great, I didn’t have time to write about it and the day that followed that (yesterday) was pretty stellar too and super busy. No time for treadmill or writing or even just sitting and thinking about stuff. Is that why the past two days were so great, because I was busy and had no time to spare? I would say maybe a little bit, but for the most part no.

Yesterday is still so fresh in my mind and far overshadows the day before that. It all started a few weeks ago when my Z sent me a text message about a concert she wanted to go to on October 11th. Skillet is one of her favorite bands (in her top 5) and she begged me to go but the closest show was in Kansas City. KC is about a 2.5 hour drive (2 to the outskirts where the Airport is) and so it is a pretty quick little road trip for us. Not that the road trip part of it mattered, because we both love road trips so even if it was 7 or 8 hours we probably would have gone. I actually briefly considered the Oct 10th show in Chicago. That would mean she would have to miss school though which would be bad parenting (not that I haven’t bent those rules before in certain circumstances).

The reality is, my time with her at home is really getting short now and a year from now she will be off at college. I want to take advantage of any opportunity I can to spend QT with her. The fact that she is 17 and still thinks of me first when doing this sort of stuff is pretty great and I knew it would be a good trip for just the two of us. I actually had other plans I had to cancel (the Phil Collins concert in Omaha), which I was really looking forward to (because I’m an old nerd), but it was totally worth it.

As it turns out, with Parent Teacher conferences this week the kids had a 4 day weekend so there was no school Friday. This meant we could leave at whatever time we wanted and take our time and make a whole day of it. I had several things to take care of in the AM before leaving (work and also the last harvest of the season before the temps drop to freezing) and after that we got on the road.

I knew I would not want to attempt to drive back to Omaha after the concert so we booked a room at the Holiday Inn Express. We arrived just in time for check-in. Shortly after that, we made a quick run to target for a few things (because every good road trip needs a Target run) and then it was back to the room to get all dolled up for dinner and the show.

The concert was in the heart of downtown KC in the power and light district at the Arvest Bank Theatre (super cool vintage venue). Doors opened at 6 and the show started at 7. There were three bands total and though I dig concerts, the music at this one was not really my thing. The first two bands were extremely loud. I never was a big heavy metal fan and they were both rock approaching metal. Even Z covered her ears for a lot of those first two acts.

The band we came for, Skillet, was a little closer to something I might typically listen to and therefore more enjoyable. She clearly enjoyed it, beaming from ear to ear when each new song she recognized started. It was a medium sized venue, so there were really no bad seats, but we were in the very top section, with all the other people who don’t stand during the show. We were at the end of a row so she had a perfect view of the stage. It was so great to see her so happy.

The whole thing lasted about 4 hours, which included us getting half way to the car before realizing the sweatshirt we bought was the wrong size and had to walk back to exchange it. I’m not sure what time we arrived back at the hotel but I was wiped out and ready for bed. I fell asleep as she was messaging with a few of her Cali friends and someone who was in a time zone where it was only like 2:30 PM – good grief where in the world must that person be?

The room was too cold and the pillows were just all wrong for me and so I did not sleep well at all. I was actually awake at 5:30AM and contemplating sneaking away to the hotel exercise room to walk and write. I didn’t though. I just turned the heat up and laid there for a while. Eventually I pulled out my laptop (yes, the new shiny) and .. waa-la.. here we are.

If it were up to me, we would be going down to take advantage of that “free” HIE breakfast right about now, but she’s still fast asleep.

I suppose I could climb back in bed and see if I can remember why Thursday was so great or what was so different about Thursday compared to Wednesday. Some days I think it’s just a mood or a vibe. Today will probably be good because we get to drive back to Omaha and then I get to spend the rest of Saturday with my fiancé without any obligations. Keep those great days coming!

Cheers to the Weekend!

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-23 Nebraska Road Trip Days 3 and 4 and Done

After a few days of the sky closing in around us with no sunrise or sunset to speak about, driving east under a blue sky was a welcome change. Two days ago we woke up in Alliance Nebraska where there was a layer of snow quickly melting into mush on the pavement.

That morning we drove a little further west, to Scott’s Bluff, to visit the National Monument. It was still freezing when we got to the summit (which is only about five minutes from the main road) and were really not feeling compelled to walk even the quarter mile to the scenic lookout point. It was a sloppy mess and would have soaked our socks and shoes all over again. I took a lot of pics from the car window.

After that we headed south and a little east with the best intentions. There were loads of things circled and marked on our atlas but we quickly discovered that getting close to any of those things would mean more treacherous driving. We went about 10 yards on one country road and the tires just sank in the mud. We reversed out of that situation and decided that all those buttes and Chimney Rock were really quite lovely from a distance.

I’m fairly certain we had lunch in Sidney, but all the small town cafes and bars are starting to melt into one memory. I was really grateful when we crossed paths with I-80 and let that lead us to Kearney for the evening. By the time we arrived, the Kearney Arch Museum was closed so we had dinner in town and called the day done for. The room at the Candlewood was likely the nicest thus far, and it was a good night for watching a movie on Netflix. (We’re such an exciting pair).

Waking up this morning, we once again packed all our things into the car and headed out. First the Arch and then south to the Pioneer Village where I received positive confirmation that I’m not really all that into museums, or antiques, or reading blurbs printed, framed, and mounted next to some random old stuff.

I find it fascinating that a person spent a good portion of their life and finances accumulating and assembling such a collection of stuff. It’s quite impressive actually and really a shame it’s fallen into such a state of utter hopelessness. Several city blocks and buildings full of stuff – cars, planes, trucks, Art, clothing, and engines. Entire buildings configured in a circle that you can wander in and out of. Most of it meticulously labeled with commentary. All in all, there were about 6 other human beings wandering around besides us. At 14.50 a ticket, it’s probably barely enough to keep the electricity on and pay someone to take the fee and stamp people’s hands.

We spent about an hour there and that was enough. We were actually both pretty spent in general and as we drove back east, toward other historic sites and places of interest, we found our desire to “see” anything more was waning.

We passed through town after town and instead of stopping. as we had been, to have a look, we just kept going. It was early afternoon and everything became incredibly uninteresting. Quite frankly, we didn’t even want to stop for food.

Looking at the map and thinking about spending the night in yet another hotel, schlepping everything from car to room and back again in the morning, sounded silly since we were only a few hours from home. I brought up the idea of skipping the rest and going home first.

He agreed. We both perked up at the idea and suddenly had enthusiasm for stopping a few more places along the way. That’s right about the time the storm that has been looming in the distance had suddenly relocated right above us. We tried to get to two distinct “X”s on the map which took us away from the highway and we never saw whatever it was.

Somehow, we ended up on another unpaved county road in the pouring rain. There was lightning, and thunder, and for a hot-second, there was hail. I suppose we cheated fate for 3 days and the “getting stuck”, was inevitable. I’ve never been more happy than the moment we found the highway again (I’m sure I have been though). After that little tangent, I was so over all of it. I didn’t care if I ever saw the “worlds largest porch swing”.. I just wanted to get home.

***

It’s late now and it’s been a long couple of days. I can’t say I have much to show for it or say about it (that’s not already been written above). I’m glad to be home, back with my kitten and looking forward to a long relaxing weekend.. with no driving. I do love a good road trip, but coming home is pretty great too.

Until Next Time,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-22 Nebraska Road Trip Day 2 – Cody and Toadstool and Carhenge, Oh My!

We started our day yesterday in Valentine and, upon checking the forecast for the day and our destinations, decided it was best to make a stop at the local Shopko before heading out of town. The store was going out of business and so we got winter gloves and hats and long socks at 70% off. Score!

The first stop marked on our atlas was Toadstool Geologic Park but there were several tiny towns to pass through on our way west on highway 20. One of which was Cody Nebraska. Noteworthy because when I was 3 years old I lived there. It was my dad’s first teaching jobs out of college. I texted both my parents asking if they remember what the name of the street our house was on. Neither remembered but both provided the same turn by turn directions and which corners the houses were on. That’s right.. I said “houses”. Apparently we lived in two which were situated on opposite corners of the same intersection. Considering there are only like 40 houses in the entire town, that’s impressive.

I took pictures and both my parents confirmed the one was definitely the second house we lived in, though it wasn’t yellow then.

Today the population is about 154 people and the entire place looks like it was last loved back when I was 3 (in 1976). The school is still there, amazingly. We only lived there a short time before moving further east to Scribner Nebraska where my dad had his second and last job as a teacher. He only wanted to be a HS teacher so he could coach some sport. Apparently his distaste for teaching was stronger than his love of sports because we only lived in Scribner for a year before he abandoned all that and we moved back to Council Bluffs where my grandparents were. He never taught again.

Somewhere along highway 20 the temps dropped to 33 degrees and the rain turned into snow/sleet mix. We got as far northwest as we were going to go on the highway and then turned onto an unpaved road. It would be 19 miles to Toadstool Geologic Park and this time, I was in the drivers seat. It was slow going, with snow and slush gravel and water pooled everywhere and no way to tell how deep the ruts or puddles really were. That 19 miles took us about 50 minutes. Near the end, I almost gave up. It wasn’t that I felt we were in danger, not like other times in my life when I was afraid of the car going off the side of a steep cliff. No, this was more of a dull fear of getting stuck and being stranded and waiting for hours and hours for a tow truck in the middle of nowhere.

Interestingly, I felt slightly better about the whole thing than I did the day before when Jim was driving. No doubt in my mind that this road was way worse, but there is something about being in control that eases the mind a bit. I could speed up, or slow down, or turn the wheel as my reflexes demanded and wasn’t holding my breath or clenching my jaw nearly as much. Jim was very supportive and encouraging and we made it. I knew once we were there, that was it for me driving that road. I got us there, he would have to get us out.

The next step of our little day 2 adventure would be attempting to explore the park. He brought big rubber boots for us both and we donned the supplies we purchased that morning. The story would not be complete without me mentioning that I thought I could go without the boots and we went about a quarter mile before turning back to the car so I could change. Part of my issue were that the boots were not meant for me and they were quite large. Size 8. Well, actually size 8 and 10 and 11. He threw what he thought were matching pairs into our chariot when we packed up to leave without realizing that he did not, in fact, have matching pairs.

So I wore one 8 and one 10 and he wore the other 10 and the 11 and he also had two left feet. None of that mattered much because 1.) We were out in the middle of no-where with no other human beings within probably 30+ miles and 2.) When it’s cold and wet and muddy and you just need protection for your feet, anything would do. They were actually perfect for the task.

The trail was supposed to be a self-guided. From where we stood, there was no trail. Everything was covered in snow and there were only little streams cutting through the area to provide any sense of which way one could go to get around the rocks and hills rising up at steep angles. I knew something glorious was on the other side. Some Pulitzer Prize winning photo op or other life-altering view. We tried to go one way and got blocked when the path became too steep and too narrow. We doubled back to the base of a larger stream and went the other direction. Arriving back near the start of the so-called trail, we spotted some wood posts sticking out of the ground in various places, and figured that was supposed to be the trail and we tried to follow that.

After two or three posts I was certain that the rushing stream we were criss-crossing over again and again WAS the trail. The scenery around us was beautiful and also quite not what I expected. Of course I didn’t expect snow covered trails on May 21st. I had this picture in my head of the Badlands of South Dakota and I had imagined it would be something like that. Perhaps it is, but not right now.

We explored around for a while and came to the edge of what was humanly passable under the conditions. I followed the stick markers up and around a bend and got to a place where I could see the next one, but there was no way I could find to cross over the ravine to the other side. Again, I supposed if it was dry and it was just rocks, you could climb down and up again, but it was slippery and muddy and wet and my fingers were beginning to freeze.

It’s an interesting phenomenon that despite my freezing fingers, I continued to take my hands out of my pockets to take pictures with my phone. That means that I would rather risk the freezing cold gnawing at my flesh than miss that one picture that I somehow felt was monumentally important. One of about 100 pictures I took that afternoon of course.

The cold getting into my bones was eventually what made me decide to call it done. We backtracked the way we came and eventually got back to the car where I promptly took off my mismatched boots and climbed into the passenger seat and cranked the seat heater as high as it would go. The drive back was still stressful, but I was warm and satisfied with our time at Toadstool.

The rest of the day can’t quite compare to that. We drove a little more west and south and wound our way to Alliance Nebraska, home of the world famous “Carhenge”. By then the snow had gotten worse and the highways were covered in slush and ice. Jim had never been to the spot of painted and stacked cars in a formation similar to the rocks in England so we made a stop there.

As one might imagine, with the blowing cold and snow approaching blizzard status, we didn’t stay long. I tucked myself behind a car to block the wind and took a few pics of the area. I had been before, with Matt, and that made my desire to stay anymore than absolutely necessary quite minuscule. I would have stayed for as long as it took for Jim to be satisfied with the experience. As it was, we were in and out in about 15 minutes.

The Holiday Inn Express was our resting spot in Alliance and when we arrived we cranked the heat up, laid all our wet socks and shoes across the heater, and drew the shade on the window closed. No need for a view of the highway and a reminder of the freak May snowstorm that had become the focus of our journey instead of just something noteworthy along the way. Instead of looking at the map and asking what was there to see tomorrow, I found myself putting tomorrow’s destination into the weather app to check the forecast.

Next Stop.. warmer temps and blue skies over Kearney,

~Miss SugarCookie

2019-05-21 Discovering True North

Yesterday we drove to the edge and walked to the edge and looked out beyond the edge to see what we could see. At the edge, in that quiet space of nowhere and solitude and cold and uncertainty, I thought I heard music. As I walked, in my too-big rubber boots and three layers of socks, I could hear the crunching of snow and frozen plants and the distinct sound of music traveling over the rocks to find me. It was as if there was a car in the parking lot, impossibly far away, blaring music from their stereo.

But there was no car, it was only us. And there was no music, only something bubbling up in my imagination as I pushed my body to the edge of what had previously been capable. I stopped, to allow the silence to permeate the air again. Standing completely still, facing the opposite direction of the wind and snow, I strained to hear the music, but there was nothing. Only us.

I spent time lingering back or rushing ahead so I could feel completely alone in the middle of the nowhere we had traveled so insistently to get to. I wanted to get to that place where my thoughts could roam free, unburdened by life, in all of it’s many forms. I knew once there, I would be able to uncover the stark beauty of existence and peer deep inside my soul to reveal my own true north.

In the end, I came to the edge of what I was looking for. It was more than I could have imagined.

***

There is much to say about the second day of our Nebraska adventure, but were already pressed for time to begin our third day and I need to get busy living it! I picture is worth a thousand words though, so I’m including one that reveals the contrast between expectation and reality.

Next Stop… Scotts Bluff and Chimney Rock,

~Miss SugarCookie

Toadstool Geologic Park, operated by the National Forest Service unless it’s 32 degrees and snowing, in which case it’s operated solely by Mother Nature.

2019-05-20 Nebraska Day 1 – Road Trip Shenanigans

Let’s see, what we I can remember now that we have made it to our Cozy Econolodge Motel (Room 133) with Kitchenette in Lovely Valentine Nebraska?…

We got on the road about 8:30AM, just as we had planned and headed west out of town via Maple street, past Elkhorn and Valley and Fremont and North Bend and bypassed all the northbound roads (still closed from flooding) until we hit Columbus. Among our many plans was to stop at historic landmarks along the way because we would not have pesky teenagers groaning about frequent stops. And so we did.

At Columbus we went North, at Norfolk we went west taking random snaps of things from the car window. Jim had the route marked on the atlas with notes next to towns with potential sites. Apparently L. Ron Hubbard is from Tilden Nebraska (not verified), but there was no posted sign that I could see when we passed through. Apparently not all press is good press. I suppose the only thing that proves is that Crazy can be born anywhere.

By the time we got to Neligh (which I am not sure how to pronounce), I was ready to get out of the car and see something. There’s a historic mill there, the first in the state I believe (not verified) and we parked and walked around a bit and it really wasn’t much. I’m less into history and more into just being outside in nature and seeing beautiful things. It was also cold and damp and the car was nice and toasty so we were quick to agree to get back in and keep going. We went north from there to our first real destination of the day, AshFall Fossil Beds State Historic Park.

We took the turn off and drove north to find the entrance road with a modest barrier across it and a chain with a sign that said “Closed”. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. Of course. We know all the roads that are closed due to flooding because that was pat of the planning process, but we do not know that one of the sites we intended to visit is closed on the day we intend to visit. Super! When we headed back down the road Jim says “There’s some great pics of it online, I can show you when we stop.” Hahaha (by the way, one of the first things he did when we unloaded our stuff into the motel room was connect to the wi-fi and show me the pics as promised. Very sweet).

By the time we hit Orchard I had started a little game of “guess the population”, with the person who is the closest being the winner. The winner gets a whole bag of nothing, but it’s fun to be right (I’ve only been closest once so far but Jim did far more research to prepare for this adventure than I have). One town on the map did not even exist and two others, Norden and Sparks, were unincorporated (whatever that means). Approaching Valentine, our stop for the night, we had a lot of daylight left, a lot of rain coming down, and a lot of growling in the stomach for food.

We stopped at the first restaurant that came up on google maps, The Coachlight Cafe. I had a cheeseburger, of course, and it was, how shall I say, less than delightful. I’m gonna drop a 2.25 out of 5 rating right here and leave it at that. Let me tell you, that is tough to do with a cheeseburger lover who is hungry (things always taste better when one is hungry). 2.25 is probably pretty generous. It was served with a bag of plain lays potato chips. Very classy. /Deep sigh.

After that we got gas and then doubled back to the Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and river valley. We saw bison really close to the road and there were several scenic overlooks that were shrouded in clouds and rain and made more beautiful by the grey mist settling itself over the horizon. Looking out over the valley it was as if God in Heaven was reaching down to earth to touch the land with a soft grace. It was magnificent.

We drove on some really sketch roads to get to the places we wanted to see. After the Fossil Bed Fauxpas, Jim was hell bent on getting us down to Smith Falls. I gripped my door handle and held my breath as we slid down muddy gravel roads to the park entrance. It was still pouring rain and the quarter mile walk to the falls would leave us soaked from head to toe. The falls did not disappoint. Due to the rotten weather, we were the only souls (save for a flock of goldfinches) for miles around. The quiet and solitude mixed with the loud rush of the falls was pretty amazing.

We lowered our umbrellas for a few quick kisses and a few quick selfies and then it was time to head back to the car. The drive up and out was slightly better but we were both visibly relieved when we were back on the paved highway. By now it was getting late and dark would be on us early as there was no sun in the sky to set. We drove into town again and found our motel and promptly removed all our wet clothes.

We cranked up the heat and Jim tried to get the TV fire stick to work with the sub-par WiFi while I started writing about our day. We never got the streaming working and just sat and talked instead, drinking our dinner and cross checking tomorrow’s forecast with the places we intend to go next. 100% chance of rain and SNOW everywhere. I didn’t pack appropriately.

Tomorrow the adventure continues as we press west. There’s a lot of nots scribbled in the atlas along our route, most of which I can hardly read. We’ll see what we can make of Day 2.

Next stop… Alliance,

~Miss SugarCookie