10,000 Miles (or so)

The road warriors have returned. We could credibly sing the old Johnny Cash song, “I’ve been everywhere, man, I’ve been everywhere…” with a whole string of little towns in Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York.
I’ve put up photo albums, with some shots from each of our stops, on the main blog page, right-hand column. The travelogue? We flew to Austin at the end of July, briefly saw Rusty and Lyn, then drove to Dallas and spent the night with our dear friends the Turners (from HBS). Next day we saw Sandy for brunch, then drove on to Amarillo. Keep in mind this is Texas, folks, with Texas-sized spaces between these cities! We spent a long weekend with Paula, her housemates Pam and Cindy, and Grandma Great Rollings, whom we hadn’t seen in ages. Then we took another day-long drive back to Austin– actually to Marble Falls, a small town on Lake LBJ– and spent the week there with Rusty and Lyn (and their dog, Scoot). We flew back to Boston on Saturday, did laundry and repacked Sunday, then the kids and I drove to Ohio on Monday. We spent a week with my family, then drove the 800 miles back to Boston Tuesday– just in time for the kids to start their preseason team practices this morning.
There are lots of cute travel stories, of course, but I’ll be darned if I remember a single one right now. I do remember that in all our Texas driving we saw: llamas, camels, horses, longhorn cattle, cows, goats and elephants (according to Quinn, though they did look suspiciously like more cattle to me). We tipped our caps to Amarillo’s “Big Texan” restaurant– home of the 72oz steak-for-free-if-you-can-eat-it-all in an hour (Chloe thought about giving it a whirl, till she found out she’d have to sit on a stage to eat it). We saw huge windmill farms spread across the horizon, with oil rigs still pumping in the same fields. I wish I’d been able to get a picture that does it justice. We drove through Sweetwater, TX, which continues to host the annual Rattlesnake Roundup– the kids never fail to be impressed that Clay once attended it. And we did homage to the Austin children’s hospital that little Chloe wound up in all those years ago when her appendix burst.
On the way to Ohio, we hatched a scheme to sell anti-Pennsylvania bumper stickers on that state’s stretch of I-90, which is clogged both directions with massive construction delays. In Archbold we ran and ran, conditioning for Will and Chloe’s sports preseasons ahead. I was the evil coach, pushing them along; but no one would let me have a whistle. I’ve decided since then that I really do want a whistle. Just think how helpful it would be in keeping everyone in order around here.
Though I didn’t come home with a whistle, we did bring home some other souvenirs– such as the mermaid pool toy (Ariel, of course) who is currently thrashing loudly in Quinn’s toy barn. Apparently farm life doesn’t agree with her. Or maybe she is embarrassed to be completely out of scale relative to the farmer and all his animals. We’re talking giant, terrifying mermaid here. (Trivia question: who played both a giant and a mermaid in two separate 80s-90s movies? Be the first to answer– winner, winner, chicken dinner!)
Back to souvenirs. Will’s favorite from Texas is his Opie’s BBQ t-shirt, and since our latest visits to the family’s favorite barbeque pit (yes, we went twice in three days) we’ve been thinking of naming our dog Opie. Cooper, after a rival BBQ joint, is another possibility. Of course, first I have to organize getting a dog, and then we have to realize he or she will probably already have been named by the kennel. Details.
Since the level of discourse here is clearly in a free fall, I’m going to sign off rather than rant on. Don’t forget to check out the photo albums, they tell our story much better than I’ve managed to tonight. Maybe I’m still too tired to think clearly? Or maybe my brain is clouded by all this Olympic cheering we’ve been doing. Don’t forget to cheer for Marblehead’s own Shalane Flanagan in the 5000m Olympic track finals Friday night (she already got bronze in the 10K!).
Love to all of you. We miss you.

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