Since fall is here, it seems appropriate to talk about summer. Go figure that logic. There’s a small thread of it, trust me. I am excitedly waiting to experience my first fall. I’ve never lived any place that had seasons. Already the leaves are beginning to change, the corn fields are being harvested. I even changed my blog banner to reflect one of local fields I drove by the other day.

At the same time, I can’t help but reflect on the season that just ended. It seems odd to have summer ending in September. Normally, where I’ve lived we don’t get cooler weather until November. But it’s been quite a summer. And since I didn’t often have time to blog about it, bear with me while we do a little retrospective…

End of May, beginning of June

The day after Memorial Day, Michelle flew into Phoenix to drive a moving truck containing all our worldly possessions and towing my Jetta to Indiana. Jenny came with me to meet Mich at the airport and to give us hugs and prayers for the journey.

Mich and I got a late start because we had to finish packing the truck in 90 degree heat. It was probably 110 inside the truck. The Jetta had the pet supplies and an ice chest, in addition to every piece of electronic equipment and anything else that we could stuff in there. The cat was in her carrier under the truck seat, and Charlie was supposed to sit on the floor. Supposed to being the operative word. The 85-pould Lab thought he should be a lap dog instead. I had the claw marks on my thighs to prove it. In between Mich and me was a box that held Red Vines, Sun Chips, trail mix, and a small cooler of Diet Coke and water.

Finally we hit the road and made the long drive up the grade to Flagstaff. This was the slowest leg of the journey because we couldn’t make good time going up that grade. We had hoped to get to Alburquerque that night but didn’t even make it out of Arizona before crashing in the little town of Holbrook. We made about 300 miles in 8 hours. Ugh! Doesn’t this look like something that inspired Cars?

The next day was better. After we finally got Charlie to sit on the floor on his bed and look out the little wing window life was a lot more comfortable for me. We were basically doing Route 66 backwards. I tried to sing the song backwards but couldn’t manage it. However, we did pass through every town mentioned in the lyrics, with the exception of Kingman, Barstow (been there lots), and San Bernardino (the town next to the one I grew up in).

Mich and I listened to Jeremy Camp and some other CDs, singing along. We talked about writing and God and listened to Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. We also managed to stop somewhere in every state to get souvenirs for the kids. Other than the fact that Mich had a hard time reaching the pedals and I had to keep my feet propped up on the dash because the seat was so close there was no room for my legs, it was a fun, if tiring day.

Around 11 PM we pulled into Oklahoma City to get coffee, snacks, and gas before pressing on to Tulsa to spend the night. Mich got in a “discussion” with a truck driver about how far it was to Tulsa. Mich used to be a truck driver herself, so she had some issues with the fact that the guy didn’t know miles, just time and some other things. She muttered most of the way about how wrong he was. And she was right. She showed him!

The next day was the longest, 17 hours in the truck, but the final stretch home. We crossed the Mississippi. Did I mention Mich doesn’t like bridges over water? I think the last 5 hours came close to torture for both of us as our backs were hurting from the truck seat and we were sick of the junk food we’d bought. We pulled into her yard at 3 AM. After letting the dog go pee, I fell into the sleeper sofa–fully clothed and sweaty–next to my kids, who, even in their sleep, cuddled up next to me.

I was home.