“how-to” part two

6. Find friends and family to visit and take a very roundabout trip west. (Leave more of your things at your boyfriend’s parent’s house, due to lack of space in your car.)

Our trip took us from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Lexington, Kentucky on the first day. A trip that we had made before in 9.5 hours took us 11 (a little rain, a little traffic) this time, but I was fine with it. We spent a day and a half in Lexington, enjoying time with the family I nannied for while living in Lexington, a gathering of friends into the later hours of the night, and plenty of Catan and Canasta with Jeremy’s family. (We also stopped by the local “John’s Run and Walk Shop” to buy shoes for our marathon training, see the link to the right to sponsor my running in the LA Marathon in March by donating to Love Without Boundaries.)

From Lexington we drove 6.5 hours to Springfield, Illinois to visit my roommate Laura from college and her husband Jeremy. It is always so great to spend time with the very friends who helped you become who you are today. The evening included an Irish pub, where the only thing I could order off the menu was a double-decker grilled cheese sandwich (no worries there, I love me some grilled cheese), watching their dog, Connor, fall asleep with excitement about carrots (have YOU ever met a narcoleptic dog?), seeing Jeremy’s (clearly Laura’s Jeremy, not mine) live sports broadcast on TV, and making some ridiculously fattening and ridiculously delicious apple tarts while “Failure to Launch” was on in the background (at least Zooey Deschanel’s character is fun to watch). I was sad to say goodbye (early) the next day, but a 16-hour day of driving ahead of us meant not enough time with some of those who we love.

Springfield, IL to Laramie, WY was our longest driving day of the trip. Luckily, it was on a Sunday, so traffic was not a problem. Driving through the states of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska did not prove to be entirely exciting, but there’s always one of those days. We were still fresh and happy and not worn out yet, so it was a good day for those 16 hours on the road. And as we were on the way to see my best friend from college, driving 16 hours was the least I was willing to do. (And Jeremy was behind the wheel for 13 of them anyway …)

Wyoming is my “most favorite place in the world.” (Quotations due to bad grammar and a clichéd but true statement.) We got in around midnight and so were not able to enjoy its beauty until morning time. There’s something about the sky there. The reality of the world is so apparent. I love being able to see storms from miles away- storms that you may never even feel. To see an entire cloud in the distance light up with a stark lightning strike. Blue skies with white clouds for as far as you are able to see. The effect of a sky so large that you can see the shadows of the clouds rolling over the mountains. The wide-openness of everything around you. That is Wyoming and that is what I love.

A Monday spent with the lovely Becki in beautiful Wyoming was better than I could have asked for. Some hiking in the mountains, homemade ice cream in Centennial, WY (population 100), lunch at a vegetarian restaurant (in Wyoming, really?!), Farkle and Bananagrams. The hours passed by too quickly and the reality of a goodbye was not fun. However, I left my heart there, which can only mean that I will return.

Early morning goodbyes in Illinois

Wyoming storms

Wyoming sky

See, no lies.

Friends in Wyoming

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