what kept me going, though, through all of it (besides the idea of family waiting for us on the other side) was the planning and dreaming of the cross country road trip home. portland, oregon to atlanta, georgia, by way of the 101 down through california then across arizona, new mexico, texas, oklahoma via old route 66. at the end of my longest, most emotionally brutal days, this is the thing I curled up with. two weeks on the road, with nothing to do but stare out the window as the landscapes gradually, magically change. the planning/dreaming began the minute we knew atlanta was a real live happening thing. can I tell you? nothing makes me happier than the planning of road trips. if I could do this for a living? in a second, a nanosecond. I love to research, hash out possibilities, calculate mileage, determine budgets. make no mistake, I leave loads of room for spontaneity but I am hardcore with the planning. I have orchestrated many a road trip in my time but this one. this one was/is my magnus opus. pretty much magic from beginning to end, save for the occasional hiccup (i.e., fairly tame backseat arguments, soggy breakfasts eaten from coolers most mornings, the time we learned spicy cheetos and windy roads do not mix). but so much spectacular, I don't even know where to start. so much road magic, it doesn't feel real. did it really happen? did we actually do it? we did. and already, I want to do it all over again.
if you don't mind, I'm going to share the heck out of it here. I'll take my time with it, as I am wont to do, but there's a lot. there are pictures. there are so. many. pictures. and there are words. and now, finally, there's time.