What a lovely, gentle day today was. Now, it wasn't gonna start out that way. Last night, Nick did something he hasn't done thus far--he was unruly. Of course, we made two strategic errors. (And any dog trainer will tell you that almost all dog errors can be traced to handler error!) One: we stayed in a motel near casinos. People were coming in at all hours of the night and, of course, slamming their doors. German shepherd must do his job and bark. And, boy, did he. Second, yesterday was a big driving day (7AM till 5PM and then too hot/humid in evening to do much substantive exercise). Dog had excess energy. So, at 11PM, after a bout of barking that was gonna get us evicted, Julie took Nick to the van and slept out there with him. And I use the word "slept" loosely. We are next to a highway. I now understand why communities put restrictions on trucks and jake brakes. Those puppies are loud. We survived, but if I'd have written the blog in the morning, it was gonna be called, "Game Over. We're Going Home NOW. Dad Crawley wins the bet." But we persevered.
Did laundry and washed/vacuumed the van this morning, in anticipation of increased camping the coming week. Then we headed south to Glenwood, Iowa, on the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. Gorgeous country. We so enjoyed our visit with Renee. She has a lovely farmhouse, with a big shady tree under which we parked Nick. He could see cats, goats, and sheep and be comfy in the shade. We then toured the area and had a lovely lunch in Malvern, Iowa, at a pretty little cafe. Ah, a Midwest pork tenderloin, pickle, and mustard sandwich. Bliss. I forgot to take my camera with us on the trip, so, I'm photoless. But picture a cute town square, tidy shops, and tons of green punctuated by zinnias and dahlias.
After lunch, we returned to the hotel where Lisa so kindly dropped me off for a much-needed nap. She took Nick and the rig across the way to Harrah's and dropped a big $7 on the slots. Apparently, we don't need to worry about her becoming a gambling addict. And when she asked a staff person at the casino where she could get change, the gal shook her head and said, "It's been a long time, hasn't it?" So, she had fun, I got a nap, and Nick didn't bark.
For dinner, we cleaned up and headed across the river to Omaha to meet my big brother's wife's mom--an amazing woman. We so enjoyed hearing her life stories and stories of the area. And we got present to the power of family ties, even when the parties haven't met in person yet. We're still connected. Plus she so kindly gave us tons of gifts--jewelry and beaded leashes for our glasses (and boy, did I need that--I'm forever misplacing my glasses!) that she made herself and my favorite--an illustrated history of Nebraska. We'll enjoy reading this tomorrow as we make our way all the way across Nebraska. Again, I forgot to get a picture taken with Virginia (doggone it!), but we did take some pix of the exterior of this great 50's steakhouse (which apparently Warren Buffet frequents. Mr. Buffet was not in attendance tonight.)
The heat is expected to be intense this weekend, so we'll make 500miles tomorrow and then Sunday beat feet into the Rockies seeking, if not cool weather, then at least cooler/drier air up in the mountains.
Think good thoughts for us as we double our regular mileage tomorrow on, we hope, a good night's sleep....