When you have constant access to a roof and a microwave, it can be hard to get back on the road.
So I’ve been back in Nebraska for two weeks now, a full week longer than I intended. I have had a lot of business to take care of, but I have to acknowledge that I am a bit reluctant to continue my journey. Even though I know I will enjoy it once I start rolling, that first mile is always the toughest. (just like jumping into a pool)
One of the biggest problems is all of the wonderful people in my life. Were I surrounded by loathsome family and acquaintances, leaving would be a lot easier. So I would ask everyone I know: Could you guys just be kind of terrible for the next 7-ish months? That will make my trip much more manageable.
A bunch of things have happened, but I’ll just give a real quick run-down:
My time at home started with a family reunion at my Grandma’s farm (pictured above). 54 of the 59 family members were able to be in attendance. It was a great time.
Picking sweet corn:
Exploring the grove with my nephew, Calvin:
Teaching my brother, Smiley, to husk corn:
My family unit, minus the Canadians:
I spent a few days in my hometown of Norfolk:
I had the opportunity to feel like a true hipster while I was back. In 2009, I was strongly considering going to China to see a total solar eclipse. The intersection of the phenomena with physics, specifically the theory of relativity, has long interested me. Ultimately I decided that I would not take the trip, feeling called to a greater role at the homeless shelter where I was working part time. Ten days after the decision was made, I was offered a full time position and remained employed there for seven years.
One of the factors that influenced this decision was knowing that an eclipse was coming in 2017. I knew I would get a great viewing opportunity in my home state. To complicate matters, I decided to go on this crazy trip (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) so I had to plan my schedule around returning for the eclipse.
Forecasts were foreboding in the Lincoln area, which stressed me out quite a bit. We decided to head west, watching forecasts on the way. My parents came down for the event and my friends Kyle and Chris were along too.
Mapping and radaring:
We ended up on a dirt road in the Nebraska sandhills, near the town of Arnold.
Our view was absolutely perfect:
Back in Lincoln, my focus was on Annie. I did a bunch of maintenance, even straightening out radiator fins:
New brake pad, old brake pad:
I also decided that Annie needed a nametag. Some intricate knife-work before spray painting:
(I had a weird chemical reaction take place between my clear coat and some acetone, which caused some cloudiness on the lower part of the windshield.)
Sonic got reprinted and resealed:
I mounted an old hydration backpack to the frunk lid. I’ve struggled to find the best way to carry water. We’ll see how this works.
I also started a new tradition of having people sign Annie as I go. She’s been asking to get a tatoo for some time.
It will be fun to see it fill up with names.
What’s next? Northeast.
I’ll be heading up through Canada, checking off four stops in Ontario: Toronto, Faraday, Kinston and Ottawa. Then it will be up to Schefferville, the most isolated spot on my trip. There are no roads leading there, so I plan to take a train in. After that I will work my way down into New England and the East Coast.
Thus begins Chapter 2. Let’s put on our tough face and take on the East!