Still on Loren’s cousin’s farm in Nebraska at the beginning of this week, she drove me by a house/what was once a Bed and Breakfast of their Aunt Hazel, and we reminisced over the names we could remember of Loren’s grandparents’ several siblings, like Weda, Alta, Martha… Then we were back to the regular work of the farm. I could do little but observe with greasing the heavy equipment or watering down an overheated newborn calf. But I was able to help with filling water buckets for goats, stacking packages of feed and collecting fresh laid eggs!
And, it was fun to try to photo the farm pets – twin gray kittens and a watchdog – who are all so active that it is hard to capture a still photo. Then there is the adorable house kitty.
So far their crops are doing well this summer – corn, beans, alfalfa for hay, though there is a threat of more flooding if the dam up stream continues to be opened. Farming is so dependent on the weather – having enough rain but not too much, nor experiencing the devastating hail that has already occurred in Colorado this year. But with the new tariffs imposed, the prices of what the farmers will earn for their crops are terribly affected.
Then I said my sad farewells as had to be on the move again. The first thing that I noticed as I drove the interstate west was a meaningful license plate, admonishing “Go Forth.” I found that the state of Nebraska is much wider than I had realized. After three hours driving I stopped at the Crane Trust Nature & Visitor Center, Grand Island, Nebraska. I could have easily spent a few hours here, though I pushed on after a good respite.
I made it to Denver, Colorado in time for dinner with more of Loren’s cousins in their lovely back yard. I was totally impressed with the homemade handiwork of our table!
Graciously hosted overnight, we had another nice conversation in the morning before I was once again on the road.
Driving north to Wyoming, I passed the Great Continental Divide – and again for a second time once I was in Wyoming as it turned out. I learned that this is one dividing line is separating the waters specifically that flow to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from the waters that flow to the Pacific Ocean. I also made a stop at the Bonneville Salt Flats, west of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Stopping here so reminded me of when Loren and I had visited Badwater Basin in Death Valley, California some years ago.
I did not have a next location booked to spend the night. I had intended to camp in West Wendover, Nevada which is half way between Denver and the San Francisco bay area. However, it was so light out and given that I had had coffee both in the morning and on the road, I was energized to continue westward when I arrived. A beautiful sunset and a meaningful audio book kept me company as I continued.
I then had set my sights on Reno to stop for the night. Yes, it was dark when I reached Reno, but, finding a place to stay in the glitz had little appeal. Sacramento was the next major city on the road signs, so I decided to push on. I have a friend near Sacramento who I was interested in contacting for a possible breakfast date. However, as I reached Sacramento, I realized how close I was to San Francisco, and not being sure I could see my friend on such short notice, and with the help of the coffee still energizing me, I pushed on once again to arrive at our AirBnB at about 4am or so.
It is wonderful to be reunited with Loren again! He has been spending nearly every day visiting his mother while I have been away. Sometimes he took her to a nearby lake for coffee where she enjoys seeing the geese. He has also treated her to a salad of cicoria – Italian for chicory, that he has fond memories of from childhood.
A fun book that Loren and I have been poring over this week is the Italian textbook his mother had saved from Loren’s independent study college course 40 years or so ago, which included finding a clarifying note of his.
I will finish this week with a quote from Papa Francesco/Pope Francis that resonated along my drive: Peace is not just the absence of war. It is a condition in which a person is in harmony with herself, nature and with other people.