July 23, 2005

Never a Dull Moment

On our way back to Durango we hit a few detours. The first was in Chicago. Now if you draw a straight line from Cincinnati to Durango you do not go through Chicago so this was an unplanned detour. We were just outside of Indianapolis when Dan’s mom called to inform him that he may need to go to Thailand. Dan’s sister, Tracy, had had a bad accident in her home there and needs his help to come back here for further treatment.

On this occasion I am reminded how proud I am of my husband's chosen profession, he is a paramedic. The doctors in Thailand only agreed to release Tracy to him because he is a medic and can care for her on the return flights. One problem however… Dan’s passport expired on June 20th. Public Service Announcement: NEVER let your passport expire. Many calls to the State Department, US Embassy in Thailand, an entire day in the Chicago Federal Building and Dan has a new passport.

Special thanks to Marc and Heather, our friends who put us up on three-hours notice and held our hands through the trains and throngs to get us to the right office. To our other loved ones in the Windy City, please accept our most humble apologies for not seeing you too, but I know you’ll forgive us given the circumstances.

Once that task had been handled we entered a “hurry up and wait” phase. Hurry to get into Colorado so that if Dan had to fly out I’d have a place to stay, and wait because we didn’t know when or if he’d be going. By Monday we still didn’t know so we detoured to Aspen for some job interviews. Tuesday at noon we got the call and raced to Durango, one more hectic preparation day and he was off. This morning he left for the 26-hour flight to Bangkok where he will meet his sister in the International Hospital there, help her settle some details and lovingly return her to her family, where she can heal and recover. Thailand is her home however, so she won’t be here for too long I don’t imagine.

I am resting in the veritable lap of luxury that is our friends’ Bob and Sherry’s house. You may remember them from the “Mexican Prank Wars of December 2004”. Bob is a dentist and he and Sherry are off charitably donating their time to help those in need of dentistry in Peru, before hiking the Inca trail and otherwise touring the country. While they are gone we are house sitting and watching after their oh-so-lovable dog Mailo, who is my protector while Dan is away.

It would be repetitive to gush yet again about how amazingly generous everyone is to us, so instead I will just say thank you.

Assuming all goes smoothly for Dan and his sister, he and I should be moving to a new house and beginning new jobs (thus ending this chapter), by August 1st.

July 13, 2005

Beginning of the End.

The beginnings of a plan are starting to take hold. After two weeks in Ohio, we are ready to hit the road again. And where are we heading, you might be asking?? Well it isn’t very original but, we are off for Colorado. Seems home for us lies in the Rocky Mountains and no matter how we try and rationalize it, we love Colorado more than the opportunities that a new place might present. Tomorrow morning we hit the interstate for the 30-hour drive west.

We will be traveling for the remainder of July, then the trip money really has run out and we must settle back into a more conventional lifestyle, for at least a little while. For me this isn’t a sad time, a bit crazy and unsure, but not sad. We have always been very task oriented. We set out to travel for a year and accomplished that goal. What an amazing year it has been. So instead of being sad, this is a celebratory time and I intend to keep that theme throughout my last remaining posts.

Over the course of the next few weeks, it is my intention to reflect upon our trip, perhaps list some mistakes, some triumphs and even a few humorous antidotes that will help to close this chapter and perhaps help one of you begin your own. Who knows, maybe we still have one or two more adventures left to enjoy before we find our new home.

Let me take this opportunity to start thanking those who have helped us along the way, beginning with all of you who read this site. It seems that I failed miserably at being unemployed, so I created a job for myself along the way. Maintaining this site has been so much fun for me. I thank all of you for keeping me motivated and helping to create this lasting record of our journey.

The generosity shown to us by strangers whose acquaintance we made only through emails, has been overwhelming. Over forty people emailed us with offers of free lodging, meals or Pabst Blue Ribbon. Many offered advice, solicited or not, but always read and considered. Some of you taught us things we really needed to know, like how to go clamming, how to repair our fridge, batteries, and heater, where to camp and where to avoid. You even helped us decided where to move.

And in the tradition of Bud Light commercials… We salute you, faceless travel blog reader. You aren’t afraid to correct our spelling and historical errors. You freely offer advice and are willing to wait days or weeks for a reply email. You click the ads and you, faceless blog reader, have helped us to stay on the road and realize our dream. Thank you.

July 06, 2005

Back Home in the 'Nati

Dan and I near Tupper Lake, New York. Our Neighbors that night, Paul and Kathy, took this photo and emailed it to us.

Clouds at Tupper Lake

Last Tuesday we entered Ohio, my home state. Our first night was spent in Geneva on the Lake State Park, where we watched a gorgeous sunset and took a nice dip in Lake Erie. Unbeknownst to me then, 55 years prior my grandparents had come to the same place for a few days on their way to Niagra where the spent their honeymoon. Wednesday we arrived in Cleveland to visit my grandmother. Gram, Dan, myself and my cousin Jamie had a fabulous visit. Visiting my older relatives like Aunt Kitty and Gram make me wonder how many more times I’ll get to enjoy their company. This though makes me a bit melancholy, and reminds me to call, write and visit more often.

Me, My Gram and cousin Jamie.

Before we got to Ohio we visited Niagra Falls.

The Canadian side of Niagra Falls- also known as Horseshoe Falls.

Niagra Falls

Niagra Power Plant.

Association Island Campground Sunset.

In a thinly veiled attempt to trap us in Ohio my father went and broke his leg. I can see through his cast and pain to the underlying coercion within. Sure he thinks we’ll feel obligated to stay longer and help him in his hours of need, sure he’s testing our caretaking abilities for the future, and defiantly he is testing my mother’s patience with us all. Due to Dad’s injury we hurried up and got to Cincinnati on Thursday.

When I was eleven I began attending a summer camp which always fell during the first week of July. After that I moved away and as a result I have not been with my mother on her birthday in 21 years. So this year we threw a big party for her and denied her nothing. Daddy bought a giant tent for us to erect and we felt like carnies again. We would have decorated the entire block given the roll we were on, but the festivity preparedness came to a screeching halt when we learned of the helicopter crew’s fate in Durango.

Despite our best efforts to put on brave faces and enjoy the party a deep and all encompassing sadness had taken a hold of Dan and I and our productivity level dropped to almost nonexistent. Despite our zombie-like behavior the revelry continued on and we bucked up enough to enjoy the company of our friends and family who were in attendance. My mother had a ball.

The band, also known as my father, Jude, Jan and Ron. I am very blessed to have a ton of musical friends, and they like to play all the time. They even wrote a song for Dan and I and performed it at our wedding, and from time to time they play it for us and make me cry because I love them all so much and have known them my whole life.

For the fourth of July holiday we attended parties, parades and fireworks displays. Somehow the mere sight of a fire truck was enough to bring tears to Dan’s eyes and once again we are unable to shake the loss of the two brave men who Dan had the great fortune of working with, and the pilot of the helicopter who was a friend to them.

Dan is back in Durango today, attending the first of three memorials this week. For now all of our plans are on hold. When he returns we have some big questions to answer, like how much longer do we travel for? Maybe this is a good ending point for our trip, just head back to Durango from here and call it quits. Kind of nice book ends really, we left from Dan’s home town and finished in mine. Beyond that we wonder, what jobs will we be getting and where will those jobs be? And I wonder how to put a nice neat bow on this website and give it a happy ending.

But today none of these questions can top the big ones we are struggling with, like why those guys, why that day and that way, why so young? Take a minute and think of your loved ones, let me remind you that you are not promised another day with them and may we all be better friends, spouses, and children, so we don’t have to regret the things we forgot to say and the love we forgot to give.

These beauties are Ruby and Essa Britt, daughters of one of my oldest and dearest friends.

July 02, 2005


Once again we are overcome with grief and as such I will not be making a normal post today. Thursday afternoon two of our friends were killed along with a third Durango man when the Careflight Helicopter they all worked on crashed. Dan was close with "Pod" and Scott, as was the entire Durango EMS family. Dan will be returning to Durango on Monday to attend memorial services and to be with his friends while they all grieve. We feel so far away from home right now.