So I have been on a road trip.
A solo, me, myself, and I road trip.
The road trip of a lifetime.
And it was great. I could drive when I wanted, stop when I wanted, visit any strange attraction that I wanted, with no one to tell me we had somewhere to be.
I went to the Oz Museum (which was closed even though the sign said “Come on in! We’re Open!) and the Oz Winery. After visiting the winery I didn’t mind so much that the museum was closed.
I visited three presidential libraries. I traveled through nine states. I drove over 3400 miles and spend more than 68 hours in my car. Good thing I love my car. I listened to whatever music I wanted to listen to and I sang as loud as I could!
I had great times with friends and family.
I even saw Elvis. For those of you who have been wondering the past 30+ year – he’s alive and well and performing in the woods of northern Minnesota.
It was fast becoming one of my favorite vacations ever.
Then the fire started.
On June 26 around 1:00 p.m. mst. I was beginning the tail end of my epic road trip. Had just left my mom’s and was headed to my aunt and uncle in Iowa for some a real midwest supper. Crossed the border from Minnesota into Iowa and posted it to facebook. It was then I noticed all the chatter about the fire.
When I called and asked my husband about it, he told me there were voluntary evacuations in town but he wasn’t quite ready to run. We talked about what he would need to take out of the house. I asked him if I should just start heading home and he said no, stay and visit with my cousin, she would help take my mind off “things.”
Monday afternoon the hubs called to let me know that the evacuation had become mandatory. He send me a picture of the smoke looking up from our backyard.
By the time I got back to New Mexico it was Thursday afternoon. The fire had become the biggest in NM history in four days – over 90,000 acres. The boys and the dogs were staying in a single hotel room in Santa Fe. After getting no information from national networks, I thought for sure I would get the whole, real, true story from the local guys. Not so much.
Everyday there was a press conference where the police chief and the fire chief would tell us (the evacuees) that the town was not in danger but that they weren’t sure when they were going to let us come back home. WTF? If my town is not in danger from these fires, then why the hell can’t I go home? I haven’t been home in almost three weeks and who are you to tell me I can’t go home???
For those of you who didn’t know this, I have a bit of a problem with authority. Tell me I can’t do something and watch me try to do it. Tell me again I can’t do something and watch me explode!
Finally at 7:05 a.m. on Sunday, July 3, I got the reverse-911 call…the roads home would be open at 8:00 a.m. that morning. I pulled into my driveway at 8:13 a.m. (It’s a good 50 minute drive from Santa Fe) I’ve been told that the National Guard that had been patrolling our streets were at the bottom of the hill waving and holding up “welcome home” signs as people drove by. I’ve been told how awesome that was. I’m just thinking that I’m glad I missed the welcome wagon cause I probably woulda flipped them off.
I got home with two days to get ready to leave for Russia. I didn’t even have to unpack. It’s still pretty smoky and my house smells like a campfire. We’ve been having to keep the windows closed and it’s been in the 90’s. Ack! So I guess I’m kinda looking forward to spending 10 days in a hotel room with the boys. At least we’ll be away from the smoke, in a different country, being the ultimate American tourists.
Hopefully the smoke will be gone by the time we get back.