on the road again and again and again

On our recent roadtrip of 4,250 miles
(not that anyone was counting, right?
not that anyone’s proud of how far we traveled!),
at mile 471, we were with Amy in Charlotte;
at mile 884, we were with James, Laura and Sarah in Birmingham;
at mile 1,560, with Dorisanne, Adam and David in Waco;
between miles 1,675 and 2,260, back and forth
between Austin and San Antonio,
New Braunfels and San Marcos
with Art, Merrell Ann, Kent, Graham, Toby, “Grammy,” “Poppy,” and Grandma;
at mile 2,485, in Plano with Phil and Kelley;
at mile 3,500, at Lake James with the Preachers’ Camp gang,
at mile 4,250, back at home—

all the while celebrating family and friends that are family—
leaving loved ones to go to loved ones—
my most intimate community of loved ones
always right there in the car with me.

At miles not marked on our triptik:
we admired all the horses we saw and pretty much ignored the cows;
marveled at the vastness of the wide horizons of the southwest;
browsed through BookPeople in Austin
and talked to their knowledgeable staff and didn’t just buy books
but also collected recommendations for future reading;
climbed around on a couple of big live oaks outside Central Market;
toured the Alamo in San Antonio and cooled off with Haagen Daz;
Schlitterbahned away a water park day in New Braunsfel;
reacquainted ourselves with tex-mex cuisine in tex;
celebrated a half-birthday with ice cream treats
at a Braums on the side of the highway;
got a delicious meal at Boulevard Bread Company in Little Rock
and then drank coffee looking out over the Arkansas River
watching the girls romp under the pavilion out back—
ever so grateful to smart phones for the ability to search out wonderful food options
not out of the way, but also not marked on exit signage;
sometimes even located grocery stores in towns we drove through
and pushed a cart through aisles collecting fruit and nuts and yoghurt—
enjoying the so very familiar in the unfamiliar;
splashed and played in the pools of two different Hampton Inns;
bought a new Dripolator mug in Black Mountain—
to match the one we got years ago;
perused the Folk Art Center outside Ashville
and gawked at hand-crafted rocking chairs that cost more than our car;
sat in a car on the Blue Ridge Parkway in utter awe
watching two black bears meander by;
hiked out to Linville Falls;
picked from the rich selection of sandwiches at Our Daily Bread in Boone;
explored the Mast General Store;
watched the girls squabble and read and sleep
and work in their school workbooks on the lap desks we got them for this trip;
ate in the darkened Chalet Restaurant up on a mountain top
in Little Switzerland way past the girls’ normal bedtime;
took in the multi-layered horizons of the mountains;
pulled into way more overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway than we kept count of;
wandered and wondered through history at Mabry Mill;
fondled my wife in an aisle of The Floyd Country Store;
inhaled deeply at the Red Rooster Coffee Roastery;
ate for the first time as a family at a Thai restaurant—
highly recommended on our urbanspoon ap;
drove into the night playing games friends on the road recommended
we download on our phones;

all the time, on the way together—
within touching distance of each other in our enclosed space—
feeling like we had everything we needed
and could make do with whatever we did not have—

smiling at the deeper truth manifest in how far we traveled
and never left home.


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