“Almost dead” is an exaggeration, but the allergy thing morphed into something wicked like the flu and I limped into Deadwood for sure. Then spent the afternoon and all night in bed. Also the fire alarm went off TWICE. This is a casino. Staying here for the (cheap) nice rooms, but otherwise — it’s a casino. When I checked in, the woman asked me what brought me to Deadwood. “A fan of the show,” I said. “Are you an anthropologist?” she asked me, which, in my delirium struck me as funny.
I’m feeling 90% recovered this morning. The Black Hills are lovely. I have a black hills gold ring from my mom that’s very dear to me. The change in scenery was especially welcome after driving through the flat, yellow prairies all day. I would have gone to a couple museums here had I been well yesterday. I will just visit the Mt Moriah cemetery on my way out of town (where Wild Bill, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock are buried) and then off to an AirBNB cabin on the outskirts of Yosemite, where it is supposed to get a little snow tonight. I am a little anxious about this, but the Subaru will do fine. Snow! It was 75 degrees yesterday.
Started “Life after Life” (Atkinson) on tape yesterday. So many people have said they enjoyed it.
Allergies and a cranky laptop plagued me today. I also wanted to get on the road early and do a longer day of driving to get back on my westward schedule. So catch up here:
Grand Hotel, Mackinaw
I loved Mackinaw Island. Always interesting to be in a car-free environment. (Lots of horses and bikes.) I easily exceeded my 10K steps walking up to the Grand Hotel, which looks amazing as you’re coming in on the ferry. The cupola room has a full view of the lake.
Then a half day trip around the top of Michigan to Green Bay, the lake on my left for hours, with many beautiful homes. I set out from Green Bay this morning, and tonight I’m in Sioux Falls, SD. Eastern/Central Wisconsin is lovely, slowly morphing into flat corn fields. My northern midwest journey begins. I think my marathon driving today will mean I won’t have to drive another whole day.
I am moving faster than my travel planning. Cramming today for Deadwood, SD tomorrow. (I’ve watched the TV series through twice. Would not miss.) Not a bit interested in Rushmore, but I’ve never seen Yellowstone. However, I’ll be back this way next year for my nephew’s wedding in Montana, so perhaps I can get by with a drive-through this time.
Meanwhile, I am a drippy mess. I should probably go out for some meds or at least some whiskey.
I finished “Big Little Lies” today on tape. She made me laugh frequently, despite some very serious themes. I’ll miss the reader a lot: Caroline Lee. SO much work breaking in a new book…
I take my whiny self off to bed soon.
I’m weird about writing. I have to be alone. And here I am with this view. Sublime. Since I last posted I’ve had some incredible soul time – with my friend Jilly in Erie, and with my beloved cousin Paul and his family in Ann Arbor. Much to unpack. Paul and I stayed up late looking at family slides. The formidable aunties, their neutered husbands, the pre-Raphaelite beauty of my late cousin Wendy, Paul’s sister. I was born in Ann Arbor and it’s a super civilized place. I should really see if I could hack the winter, which, they say, is not what it was. Hmm…
This morning, I am in St. Ignace, just north of the Mackinack Bridge in the upper peninsula of Michigan. There is a truck convention, whatever that is, and about 100 super shiny cabs took over the main drag yesterday evening. Much burliness in the breakfast room this morning.
Off to the island (Grand Hotel – Somewhere in Time) and then I REALLY MUST HEAD WEST. I hope to make Green Bay tonight:
I am mostly in a great frame of mind. My life has such simple goals and routines. I feel healthy. Underneath, there are deep thoughts moving like large fish. I have a good vantage point for watching myself change. However, the thought of being home is a great pleasure. A lot will hit me there emotionally, I know. I had a dream about it last night. But to see the pups, see what the garden has done. Yes, that will be nice.
Again and again I am astonished by the beauty I find everywhere in this country. After hearing it my head for days, the old Simon and Garfunkel song came up in the shuffle yesterday: “They’ve all come to look for America.”
I had a fleeting concern that Monticello would be less interesting to see after having just visited the Biltmore Estate. But Tom Jefferson is an infinitely more interesting persona to spend time with than a Vanderbilt, I imagine. And through the house and gardens at Monticello, you are interacting with a Mind. A positive, problem-solving mind. The garden tour will stay with me for life.
This window view resonated with me again when I visited the Gettysburg battlefield, where all the contradictions of Jefferson’s beautiful, flawed existence were manifested in blood. Quite a thought-provoking day at Gettysburg, though I get weary of the war-worship and the battle of the monuments.
Today, to Erie to shelter with a Very Kind Friend:
Asheville is completely easy to love. Berkeley-esque street scene. Deep foodie/bookstore/music and every other kind of sub-culture. Those lovely mountains looming off in the distance. Rivers. A sizeable enough city so that anonymity is possible but small enough to be easily navigated. Definitely in the running for future home.
Enjoyed my visit to the playgrounds of plutocracy today, even if I looked at it with a somewhat jaundiced eye. The gardens (I think I did look at every plant in my several mile walk!) brought tears to my eyes. Just so beautiful.
I picked a quiet spot on a trail today, under a tree, and talked to the ex for about a half hour. Stayed off anything inflammatory. A little parenting. A little wrinkle with the property escrow that I’m hoping will be quickly resolved. Wasn’t devastated afterwards. It’s great *not* to be part of any effort to facilitate this man’s happiness anymore, because that is a hopeless project. My pivot (to detachment) is holding. He sounded jealous of my vagabonding.
Tomorrow, off to Monticello.
It’s time to leave again. I’m finding this the hardest thing about my current existence. Saying goodbye. Uprooting. Of course, it’s “hello” to the next (beautiful) section, but this morning, saying goodbye to Em is quite difficult. We had a bittersweet visit to see my friend at Lake Sinclair. She is caring for her dearly beloved husband who has a form of dementia and is slowly leaving her. In the midst of this situation, she still dispenses her love and counsel. A precious friend indeed. We all sat on the dock as Em kayak’ed — a fairly mild last day of what’s been a great visit.
Mentally preparing my “Polonius” speech to Em, but she is a fine young woman and probably doesn’t need me to talk about fiber 🙂 I love her more and more and more.
Hoping I know what I’m doing I will aim for the Richland Balsam Overlook (I’ve been advised that the Smokies are not to be missed) and then down into Asheville, where I will have dinner with a WELL friend tonight.
Hunter museum – Chattanooga
Em and I went up to Chattanooga for a day and were charmed. The downtown is hilly, bridge-y and whimsical. One of the bridges has a semi-transparent pedestrian walkway. The river (the Tennessee) is wide and beautiful, with steamboats. I dearly love steamboats. We had a nice seafood lunch. There are also a fair amount of homeless in the area, and some doubt about how things are, out beyond the successfully redone art district. But overall, it was a place I could see coming back to and staying a month. We knew there would be (hurricane dregs) rain coming and just after lunch it arrived. STEAMY rain. Love it. Forgive me for enjoying something that is bringing down all this horror a bit farther south, but water in any form makes my Californian heart beat. I don’t think I’ve ever experience warm tropical rain like this.
I had an emotional “righting” — a pivot almost. I may have reached the end of the deepest hurt (though I am sure there will be relapses) and arrived more in the ‘fuck you’ area. I have had, sequentially, “theme” thoughts and my latest is: “I no longer love or respect you.” I feel this is healthy — certainly better than weeping. Phone session with my therapist today. Perhaps hearing how clueless he was at that dinner with W was actually helpful.