Well, after 17 years of whining and complaining at each other, Mary and I FINALLY took a much needed way too long overdue vacation. Since we are both NASCAR nuts, we decided Daytona Beach looked good. After all - it is NOT a cornfield! I know some of my Iowa friends might take exception to that, but the hard reality is I am used to seeing trees, mountains, oceans, scenery. I mean, a cornfield smells pretty sweet in the summer (almost nauseatingly sweet!) but to a farmer that's just the smell of money, and I am not a farmer. Same goes for the smell of hog lots, cattle ranches, and chicken lots. To farmers its all about the smell of money. ME? I'd much rather smell the fresh ocean air, or the smell of lilacs in the spring, or maybe even the smell of roses in June in Oregon.
We learned a lot of lessons on this trip. The hotel was not exactly stellar. In fact, it was about the worst one I have been in. We stayed in Jacksonville to stay away from the race crowds, but in the end even that turned out to be a mistake. Our truck started having some brake issues coming into Atlanta from the Cumberland Mountains, and trying to find an english speaking mechanic was next to impossible. By the time we made it home, my patience with car dealerships and mechanics was all but gone. In the end a faulty seal on the fluid reservoir seems to be the culprit, but it took some time to locate the problem. We did have fun, particularly seeing Dale Jr. win, but looking back, we found a lot of problems we did not anticipate. We are starting to plot a trip for next year, just not sure where we are headed. Plenty of time to plan those nightmares!
Took some time on the bike after we got back. Needed a little ME time, after all, I had been with my wife for a week, and my bike had been safely tucked away in the garage 1200 miles away. Ran up to LaCrosse, Wisconsin, then over to Rochester, Minnesota. It was a beautiful ride, well over 400 miles in a day. My biggest issue: the seat on the bike is getting, well, bad. I had about the worst case of saddle sore on my tukus! Well, after using up our savings on the trip, I guess a new seat will have to wait until next riding season as will the motorcycle luggage bag I wanted. The trip to Florida was immensely important and I put off some things to help pay for it. I guess maybe I should find a pillow for my tail end for now?
Life, as it seems, has a funny and often peculiar way of reminding us that we are just not in charge of our lives. No matter how much we want to control the direction we go, it just never seems to work out the way we planned. This year is no different. During our trip to Florida, Mary and I discussed our future and what direction we want to go, and after some wrestling with finances and trying to figure out this that and Melissa, I decided the next step for me was to get some idea of how far I am towards my Bachelors Degree. With the housing market slowing more than expected, and not getting any contract work I am used to seeing, it seems the right time to at least apply and see where I stand. Stay tuned for further details, but if it works out, maybe that goal I set in 1993 might get put on the front burner!