First, let me say a bit more about the San Antonio area. It was an attractive area. I found myself trying to remember going through there two years ago, and I absolutely can't! Isn't that odd? Perhaps I was really tired or something. Anyway, it is hilly, a cross between the rugged cliffs of the Southwest and the tree-covered rolling hills of the Ozarks. Interesting! I was surprised, and wondered why I couldn't recall it from before.
I mentioned in the previous post about the haze. It really looked as if it had rained, but I'm pretty sure it was not that, but a heavy humidity. The sky was overcast for the first three or so hours that I drove today. It was right down gloomy.
I stopped for a break at a rest stop near Sonora, and we all took a brisk walk. It felt really good. There was a rather brisk wind blowing, making it feel cooler than the 70 degrees that were registering on my thermometer. The combination of temperature, moisture and wind made it nippy. I was reminded that I was heading back into a normal winter climate, and I was glad I had kept my jacket and sweater in the car, not in a suitcase!
The speed limit on the interstate west of Kerrville was 80. And I thought I'd fall in with the other traffic, getting us home just that much sooner. So we breezed along for a couple hours like that, and I noticed I needed gas. Hmmm. Seemed that I was using a lot. So I punched the computer to see how my mileage was doing. GASP!! It said 12.2!!! Shriek!!! What happened to my 18 MPG??? Oh, yeah. Going up in altitude at 80 MPH isn't economical! Oops! I dropped back to 70 and watched the gas consumption begin to very slowly ease upward. It is so tempting to fly when we can, but it really sucks gas out of the tank! And just about there, I passed over ... are you ready for this?? ... Eureka Draw!! I'm not kidding!
When I got to Ft. Stockton, TX, my heart leaped. I was about half way home and here I made the significant turn to the north. Yessss!
It dawned on me that I hadn't gone through the immigration check point. I could have sworn that it was in the area between Ft. Stockton and San Antonio, but apparently not. And now that I think of it, it makes more sense that it would be between Ft. Stockton and El Paso. That is the area that is flat, wide open spaces and desert where it would be easier for people to sneak across the border. I didn't have to go through it after all!
Sherry asked about this, wondering why there would be an immigration check point there. If you check a map, you'll see that there are lots of wide open spaces, desert and actual bad lands, areas that are hard to patrol. The checkpoint Is supposed to give a chance to check cars for illegals. It is much like coming back into the US at the border. They stop each car, look inside, ask about citizenship, and if there are any suspicions, the whole vehicle may be searched.
Along the highway in Texas and New Mexico along US 285 I saw dozens of antelope. All of them were just standing in fields, grazing. It was just amazing seeing them in those numbers! They are beautiful animals. It made me think of the many animals I saw on this trip that had been hit or run over. I can't tell you how many, and each one made me very sad. I wish we could come up with something to protect them from the devastation of the highways. :'(
Just as I crossed into New Mexico, I was feeling almost giddy, and only about five or ten miles in a roadrunner ran across the road ahead of me. I took that as a sign of Welcome Home!!! I'm sure the forces of nature came together, just for me, and shoved that roadrunner across the road, just for that purpose, don't you agree? LOL! It surely felt good to be home. I also saw some deer crossing the highway ahead of me near the edge of Capitan where Allan and Gail live. A few miles farther a wolf darted across the road ahead of my car, and just before I reached the house an elk did so! What a homecoming from the world of nature I was given today!
My next good moment was when I neared Roswell, that place where I can see the Capitans. I looked off to my left, the West, and being able to see them rising out of the desert made me feel that surge of joy at being so near home. I remember times when I've come home to other places and felt that same feeling coming over a hill and seeing the lights of my home city. This is the same kind of feeling. Knowing that "home" is that close. Knowing you'll feel the comfort of the familiar surroundings in just a short while. Coming home.
As I got in range to see it, I was delighted to see that there is snow on the mountain! Yay! I knew it snowed while I was away, but I was not sure it would still be here. It is just on the top, but it is snow!!
And it is home. When I opened the door, the dogs just ran from one end of the house to the other crazily! The outside temperature was just 33 degrees, but the house was nice and warm. It felt like home. It smelled like home. It is home.
This trip has been wonderful, every moment of it. Yes, even the rain during the camping trip! But home is the best.
~ ~ ~ ~
Finally, I want to let you know that I finished another book on this last leg of my trip. I listened to The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. If you haven't read it, do so. If you have been married for many years and your relationship has lost some of that specialness, you need to read this book. If you are in a relationship and it is good, you need to read it. If you're thinking about marrying, you should read it. I think it should be required reading for couples applying for a marriage license.
The Wedding is about a couple who have drifted apart in their marriage and what happens as they try to put it back together. I don't want to say more about the plot. But as I listened, I was sobered by the similarities to the situation and some in my own life or the lives of some others in my circle of loved ones. And I thought about how good it would be if everyone could have the foresight to do some things to improve their relationships before it reached the point of no return. Making small changes to save the marriage before it needs to be saved would be so much easier than putting it back together after it has a gaping crack in it. And far easier than going through a divorce. The book talks of things that we should be doing along the path of a marriage, things so simple that it is embarrassing to realize that many (most?) of us overlook them or just don't take time to do what is necessary to keep a marriage strong.
OK, the book probably wouldn't save marriages. But it certainly could make people think before it is too late if they are open to it. I'm afraid we all take relationships for granted.
Life is beautiful!!!
And I'm home!!!
And I'm home!!!