I’M HOME AND I FEEL GRATITUDE

Day 79  August 8 Fairfield, IA to GRINNELL, IA the final 94 miles Total trip miles to date: 16,186   Today was a special day for several reasons. I stayed over in Fairfield, IA, which left a short hop to Grinnell.  Overland, one of my sponsors, wanted me to stop in for a photo shoot for their fall catalog.  I saw the layout and was impressed! We took the pictures and I was off to see the American Gothic home made famous in the famous Grant Wood painting in Eldon, IA.  It was just a short ride off the highway to Eldon, so I stopped, took some shots, and saw a nice video on Iowa’s own Grant Wood. His unique style made him famous, and the American Gothic painting, his best-known work.   As I was getting back into the Spirit to leave, I received an e-mail that I had been hoping for. A gentleman by the name of Charles Hughes e-mailed that he had been running along the Blue Ridge parkway near…

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Simplify. Less is more.

Day 78  August 7 Springfield, IL to Fairfield, IA 258 miles Total trip miles to date: 16,092 One of the themes of this trip is "Simplify. Less is more."  The trip touched on this theme many times.  Whether reflecting at Walden Pond in Massachusetts, seeing the Abby of Gethsemane (built of simple materials...yet beautiful and timeless), or reading Lincoln's Gettysburg Address today in Springfield, all reflect the "simple is better theme".  This resonates with me, and is reflected in the vehicle I chose for this journey.  The Morgan 3-Wheeler is a simple vehicle with no extras or accessories.  Just simple, basic, minimalist transportation. It was the perfect choice for me, and it clearly resonates with all who see it for the first time. The Lincoln museum and library are an excellent way to understand the 16th President. His background was not one of money or a top education.  Born of poverty in Kentucky, he educated himself. He was a true self-made man. His style and his speeches resonated with folks.  He got to…

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From Abby to Abe

Day 77  August 6  Danville,  KY to Springfield, IL 422 miles Total trip miles to date: 15,836 What a morning! We got off early with sunshine. The heat was already a handful at 8:30. This was likely to be the longest drive of the whole trip. With stops, it would take 12 hours, but I made it to the goal destination for the day, Springfield, IL. The drive up through Northern Kentucky was beautiful. Two lanes, little traffic, and lots of Kentucky bluegrass.  My first stop was to end up being one of the highlights of the trip. I’ve long been a fan of Thomas Merton’s writings, the famous Trappist Monk who lived his last 27 years at the Abby of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY (near Bardstown). He was not afraid of tackling social issues in his writings, and even supporting the great religions of the East. A bit of a rebel, I have always identified with him. In his last 4 years, much of his contemplative writing was done not in the Abby,…

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Roots

Day 76  August 5 Somerset, KY to Danville and Harrodsburg, KY 65 miles Total trip miles to date: 15,414 Somerset, KY to Danville, KY is just 55 miles.  It was a pleasant, sunny drive this morning and we found our way to downtown Danville to The Hub Coffee Shop for a quick lunch (a wonderful veggie omelet for brunch) and a frozen coffee drink with almonds and coconut flavoring. Unbelievable! New favorite drink! We drove around the beautiful Centre College campus and then got on the highway to drive the 10 miles to Harrodsburg. I stopped to take pictures of the homes where both my Mom and Dad were born and grew up. They were just 3 blocks away from one another. Both places had unique stories.  My dad’s birthplace home was a very unique multi-gabled house that is now on the national historic registry.   My mom’s house was where she,  her two sisters, and brother all grew up. It was a small place, full of love and support. Challenges back then…

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Back Home Again!

Day 75  August 4 Carrollton, GA to Somerset, KY 316 miles Total trip miles to date: 15,349 The day began with sunshine and a 7:30 appointment with Mitch at MSA Classics for an oil change. I made the 4 mile trip to MSA and Mitch was ready and waiting. He immediately jacked up the car and began draining the old oil and replaced the oil filter.  He also checked the rear brake and belt tension for me. I was impressed with his knowledge and how he worked,  a craftsman, and I could tell he takes great pleasure in doing things right. Very impressive!  I checked the tire pressures while he worked and we got it all finished in short order. I drove back to the motel only to find out that I had left the tonneau cover at MSA.  No problem as it's on the way up Hwy. 27. Thanks for quality work, Mitch! The drive up Hwy. 27 is beautiful through  Georgia, Tennessee, and KY. Rolling hills,  great views, and enough turns to…

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Florida, Georgia, and Jimmy Carter

Day 73 and 74  August 2-3 Gainesville, FL to Albany, GA to Carrollton, GA 433 miles Total trip miles to date: 15,033 Sorry for the late post today. Yesterday was a long, wet slog through northern Florida into Georgia on two lanes.  I needed to make some miles, and did.  I ended up in Albany, GA, close to my goal of Americus.  I wanted to be close to Plains, the hometown of President Jimmy Carter. I was just 45 minutes away, so, given my slowing down for the rain, I was happy to get as far as I did. This morning I awoke to clouds, but little chance of rain. I had a quick breakfast at Waffle House, where young Alexus, was my waitress.  Her friendly smile was a great pick-me-up.  Two cups of coffee also helped! I asked her if she grew up in Albany and she said yes.  I then asked if she thought she might stay in the town. She thought for a few seconds, and said she would like…

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Memories of a Special Time

Day 72  August 1 Gainesville Total trip miles to date: 14,600 How things change.  Back in the day, the UF track was open to all.  There were no fences, you could park at the track for free and many used the track for daily jogging. It was a popular place where you could run on the same track while Olympians were doing their workouts. Jimmy Carnes had created an environment that was conducive to fitness, jogging, and community.  It was an amazing time. Fast forward to today.  We went to the track and had to find an open gate to get in.  The gate was only open because of construction on the track. Most of the time, the track is locked up tight. I guess liability is now the main concern. People are kept out. We were there just 5 minutes and parking control was already there to ticket us.  Geez! Times have changed. When we vaulted here in the 1970’s, the pole vault was right in front of the main stands.  For…

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Back in Beantown

Day 71  July 31 Vero to Gainesville 241 miles Total trip miles to date: 14,600 A mixture of weather hit me on the ride from Vero to Gainesville. Everything from hot sun to hard rain along the way.  Fortunately, it was clear for the last 60 miles, allowing me to nearly dry off. I got in by near dark, with the Cotton’s still out to a banquet dinner. I found the key and unpacked the Spirit and cleaned up while I waited.  Forty-five minutes later they arrived and we had a great evening after. I’m amazed at the amount of rain I have experienced since Virginia, pretty much every day.  I’m used to it now, a daily thing. I remember that it was like that much of the year when I was at UF.  It would shower almost every day in the spring and summer, usually at about the same time in the afternoon. It would get so humid in the late spring that, on days I would vault, I would go early…

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Kentucky to Florida

Day 70  July 31 Vero Beach Total trip miles to date: 14,359 I spent almost two hours at the beach yesterday. It was sunny, breezy, and relaxing.  We all know that being in the sun can have health benefits, there are a number, but one of them is to increase levels of serotonin, which helps to balance moods and increase happiness. It works!  I felt great after the beach visit!  I laid on the beach relaxing and reminiscing of the past and how I first came to Florida. In August of 1972, I flew down to Florida to go to school at the University of Florida. It was my first airplane flight and I left my hometown of Lexington, KY with mixed emotions.  I was leaving my older brother, and I had a gut feeling I would never move back to Lexington. I was leaving my friends behind, my many memories of growing up in that city, and with lots of questions about my future.  I had signed with the University of Florida…

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