It’s hard to believe. Rich has finally retired from the Navy after 29 years active duty and one year “delayed entry”, for a total of 30 years career. No more alarm clocks ringing at 4.15am. No more white t-shirts in the wash. No more 24/7 being “beholden to Uncle Sam”. It is still rather surreal and I’m sure I won’t feel the full impact until he has been home 24/7 for at least a month once we return from our bike trip.
And that’s what this post is about – our Harley trip from Jacksonville, FL, through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Wisconsin until we get to north Minnesota where we will spend four days with good friends from Jacksonville in their summer home. Between Illinois and Wisconsin we will be stopping in Zion for lunch with some old friends from Naples, Italy. We will then swing down through North and South Dakota into Missouri where we will spend a couple of days with some more friends from our time in Naples, Italy.
After that we will head over to Louisville, KY, passing through Illinois (again) and even touching a tip of Indiana. we will spend three days with Rich’s family in Louisville, taking in a few hours at the State Fair and enjoying a Bar-B-Q with the family. We will then head south east to Asheville, NC for two days before going a little further east to spend two days in Fayetteville with LeeAnn, yet another friend from our Naples, Italy experience. At this point we will point Harley straight down I-95 south for the home leg.
Today is Tuesday 16 August. We left home yesterday morning about 9am and covered three hundred and eighty three miles, reaching our first night-over in Marietta, GA at about 4.30pm. We had an excellent day of smooth riding. There were no traffic problems, the weather was glorious, and we got to enjoy a lot of God’s creation along the way. Because we ate a light lunch at Subway just north of Macon, GA, we were very happy to see an old favorite, Cracker Barrel right on the door step of our hotel. We enjoyed a great dinner there before retiring early for a good night’s sleep.
This morning saw us on the road by 9am. It was perfect riding weather: slightly overcast yet warm and not a drop of humidity in the air. As we made our way through the mountains of northern Georgia and then on into Tennessee, we really enjoyed cool-warm weather with balmy breezes. Lunch time found us in Joelton, TN where we found a superb Mexican restaurant called Mazatlan. If you’re ever in the area try it. The food is really good and the service was excellent.
We arrived at our little B&B called “Escape” in Paducah, KY at about 4pm and we’re just relaxing down and chilling out before heading out somewhere to get some dinner. There’s a hot tub with our names on it in a room adjoining our bedroom. Hopefully along the road I will get to share not only about our ride, but will also be able to catch up on some other news that I simply have not had the time to right about in the past few weeks. Happy summer, happy trails!
I haven’t written anything for about a week now. I guess it would be truer to say that I have not been able to write anything during this time. Some people call this “writer’s block”. I like to think that my Muse needs a rest or a vacation now and then.
There are several different schools of thought on this matter. There are those who think that if you are a writer (or painter, or any other type of creative person), you should just blast through the block, force yourself to write something (or paint, or whatever), get something going. Others think that this is not natural and that if the creativity doesn’t flow, then leave it alone.
I happen to be of the second opinion. Even though it is frustrating for me to come to the end of a day with itchy fingers but nothing running around in my head, my heart, or my soul, I think it is right (for me) to wait until the Muse decides to come home from her vacation, opens her suitcases, and spills out whatever treasures she brings home to share with me.
I guess I need to clarify here that it’s not that my mind has been totally blank. I know I still have a writing to do about the glorious Cowboys game that we experienced in Tampa a few weeks ago (even though they weren’t so glorious against Denver last weekend!). To be noted that there’s another posting about “mentors” that’s creating waves in my heart. And my soul is contentedly nurturing a whole juicy article abut Zhanra’s, a restaurant in St. Augustine that is fast becoming my favorite Sunday brunch spot.
What happens for me, I think, is that my Muse needs head, heart, and soul lined up in some sort of synchronicity. They all need to be on the same page (no pun intended!), singing along in harmonious arcapella. And then, of course, I have that devious little fellow, de-pression, who hovers out in left field waiting to strike me out.
Yesterday, however, Rich and I drove up to north western Georgia with some friends. We are sharing a weekend with them in a gorgeous log cabin in the mountains. My heart and soul are both jumping for joy and sitting in serenity. Just to be in the mountains after living in the Florid flatlands is a gift from God. My soul is very connected to rocks and mountains.
As well as the mountains, we are also surrounded by woodlands that are made up of more than pine trees. (Trees are the next soul connection after mountains for me.) It is early Fall and the colors are creeping into the leaves. As I look out over the wrap-around porch that I am sitting on there are lovely shades of yellow and bronze with some soft deep pinks and russet reds here and there.
Just below the cabin there is a small lake and to one side of us I can hear the running waters of a creek that feeds into the lake. Birds are singing all around us and the squirrels are having such fun scampering up and down and in and out of the trees. From where I am sitting I can see three large squirrel nests.
As the evening closed in yesterday we lit a log fire in the outdoor fireplace on the porch. The night was still, the fire crackled, and all around us were the sounds of the night. Crickets and other insects formed the string section of the orchestra. Various frogs tuned up their woodwind instruments, and some unknown creature of the dark provided a strange soft trilling sound.
When the sky darkened into full night we were treated to a magnificent starry display. We are far from any major town so city lights did not spoil the effect of God’s night-time creation. As we gazed up we realized we were seeing the Milky Way and there were a gazillion other stars up there. I saw three shooting stars, one that was big and bright and seemed to cross the whole heavens on its journey to extinction. And I was reminded of another night, another starry sky in Umbria, Italy many years ago.
And as I sat and bathed in the beauty of it all, I felt a subtle internal shift. I knew that Muse was on her way home and that soon my itchy fingers would be flying across the keyboard. I am grateful for her return and, as if to confirm her presence with me right now, a watery sun is dappling through the trees to bathe me in a soft morning glow.