Monday, June 28, 2010

Fast Forward to Kansas

A friend recently remarked that he couldn't travel all the time like we do, always on the road, always driving. But we really cover very few miles, and spend very little time literally on the road. We'd rather be playing outdoors or cozy in our home in a temporary location than en route to another. So we move slowly, and probably spend less time in our vehicle than the average commuter or "stay-at-home" parent.

March and April found us heading to Kansas. From Florida, we marched steadily through Alabama to Mississippi. When we don't particularly want to linger in an area, we'll drive a few hours, stay just one or two nights, then move on. Especially if the drives are longer and the stays are shorter, we are soon ready to stop and feel "at home" again before moving on. In Alabama we stayed a couple of nights in Oak Mountain State Park. In Mississippi, we stayed in Lake Lowndes State Park and had a visit from a relative before moving on to a longer stay at Great River Road State Park in Rosedale, Mississippi.

Well, technically only the boys made it to Rosedale. From Columbus, Mississippi, Meg took off with her brother on a whirlwind road trip through South Carolina to Maryland and back again. Joe doesn't often get a break from the whole family, but Meg takes side trips every few months, to help someone out, to attend an event, to visit, or just to get away for a few days. People often tell me they'd go crazy spending so much time in close quarters with their families. Well, I do go a little crazy. So I balance it with time away. (Other people could spend all hours with their family through all seasons, and some might even be slightly offended by my admission that there's such thing as "too much" family time. Oh, well.)

What about Joe? Does he get vacations? The mechanical demands of the trailer aren't completely outside Meg's abilities, but it's true that she hasn't ever driven the entire rig. She's never dumped the tanks, hooked or unhooked, or dealt with any plumbing, electricity, or mechanical/chassis issues. That said, there are places Joe could leave us comfortably set up for a few days or a couple of weeks. So far he hasn't taken advantage of the possibility. Maybe he'll get some time alone one of these days -- we'll try not to drive him crazy in the meantime.

While Meg was road-tripping, Joe and the boys visited our Rosedale friends, a homeschooling family we met at a state park in Florida a few years ago. Back then, they were living in their motorhome and we were on the road only part-time. They've now built a beautiful home on an old plantation homesite, tucked into a grove of ancient pecan trees, right next to the levee. I was sorry to miss the visit, and can't wait to get back by there and see the new house.

Meg caught back up with the boys in El Dorado, Kansas the day after Easter, and we've been roving the state ever since. Kansas in the springtime is absolutely beautiful, and it's a great time to visit the family we have in the eastern part of the state.

Kansas in the summer is a bit less friendly, but that's the best season for the kids to spend a little time with the friends we left behind in their "hometown" near Dodge City. The town kids are out of school, and the public pool is the center of our social life. It's where the boys learned to swim, without which we would hardly enjoy our beach stays as much as we do. The two weeks around wheat harvest are all a-bustle, but otherwise things have been nice and slow.

So now that I've caught up our story to the present, I'm going to try (again) to give more frequent updates and little stories from the road. Check back in a week or two and see how I'm doing!

[If you were looking forward to a post about our extended stay at Walt Disney World last winter, I'm going to hold off writing about Disney until the fall, when we're going back to get in a few more weeks of fun on our annual passes.]