I've been saying to myself that I was going to post about our return trip for 3 days now. I am definitely more nervous about the way home. There will be AMAZING stuff to be sure, which I will lay out, but there will also be many longer stretches of nothingness, and it's a longer stretch of just the kids and I.
Part of what is contributing to my nervousness no doubt is that I have been dealing with a brutal case of sciatica since March, which was brought on by a herniated disc. I have had two cortisone shots and am much much better, but sitting for extended periods is still, well, uncomfortable. Obviously driving hundreds of miles in a stretch involves a lot of sitting. I try to tell myself that a) I will get one or two more cortisone shots before I leave and b) the pain is SO much more manageable than when the injury first occurred and c) I have lots of "tools in my tool belt" about how to address the discomfort. Still, it's really hard that the excitement about the trip is tempered by my legitimate nervousness about this particular issue.
I did, however, have an epiphany yesterday. I was really freaking out about Kansas. I didn't even realize how much I was freaking out about Kansas. We were scheduled to drive from Estes Park, Co to Topeka, KS in one day. That's about 600 miles. If I was just doing this in a car, that would be about 8 hours of driving, because apparently one can tool along those Kansas highways right quick. But my car will be towing a pop up camper, which means that we're topping out at about 65 MPH. That means that the drive across Kansas would take us 10 hours, not accounting for stopping and walking around time. How in the hell was I going to do that, and do that ALONE? And then I realized I don't have to drive across Kansas in one day. I can CHANGE MY PLANS.
OMG - amazingness. I looked at the map and thought about what makes sense and yes, it means another night in a random Kansas hotel, but it also means that I'll drive about 500 miles one day, but with a substantial break around mile 100, and about 400 miles the next and that is SO. MUCH. BETTER than driving 600 miles across the open Kansas prairie in one day,
Clearly, I am a planner. I have been thinking about this trip for an entire year. But I also need to keep in mind that it is possible for me to be flexible, I don't have to do things just because my epic log book of things to do says that we're going to do them. Being able to "go with the flow," be present in the moment and adapt to what life throws at us is going to be a huge part of this trip.
I think we're going to learn a lot more than we originally planned on. And that's a good thing.