– Cheyenne, Wyoming to Denton, Texas –

We’re home! Today was certainly a long day, and I can’t say that we did many interesting things, so I’ll keep this one brief. Later on I’ll do a few posts talking about the trip logistics, a recap of what we saw, and things we’ve learned, but for now, let’s just talk about today. All of our pictures will probably go up on our photodatabase later this week.

Today started at 4am in Cheyenne. We showered, took the dogs out for a potty break, and hit the road. Mom and Dad took the first driving shift, and Mark and I took turns napping in the back. From Cheyenne, it’s really not far into Colorado and on to Ft. Collins. We stopped outside Denver for gas and breakfast. All the gas station really had was Krispy Kreme donuts, and so that’s what Mark and I had. Boy, did I miss Tim Hortons. Those things tasted like sugar bombs. Ugh. Next time I’ll just have cashews and banana chips instead. That’s has been my go-to gas station breakfast on this trip. I’m glad I didn’t run out of banana chips.

Colorado was hot and clear, and we were through it in only about 4-5 hours, which meant it was only around 10am when we made it to New Mexico. We stopped again in Raton, where we took another break. Stopping in Raton is a very popular thing to do, it would seem. I guess, coming from the other way, Raton is the first thing for miles. If they’d just wait, Trinidad is a little better. We switched drivers there at the gas station and Mark bought us some Reese’s Sticks. I hope I’m not voicing an unpopular opinion here, but those things were terrible. Mark didn’t seem to mind too much, so he ate what I didn’t finish of mine. I think he was just looking for a little energy since he hadn’t napped enough while Dad was driving.

Gas in Raton
Gas in Raton

The featured image is of a bunch of contrails in Colorado. We saw so many today. I have to wonder if some of them weren’t from the same jets, even in separate states. Those things can move pretty quickly, so I bet they were. Somebody was definitely out having fun with the expensive toys today, either way. I guess the weather was nice or something. We thought it was hot after all of our rainy and cool weather up north.

From Colorado, it didn’t take us long to make it across the little slice of New Mexico that takes us back to Texas and Amarillo. We’ve driven this way so many times on so many trips that we can name the little towns in order and in our sleep. We even recognize the gas stations and know which ones have nice bathrooms. We made it to Texas without incident. It’s funny, but when you’ve gone so long without smelling cows, Texas really smells like cows. I guess that means cows smell like home. It’s a disturbing thought, isn’t it?

Welcome home!
Welcome home!

When we came across the “Welcome to Texas” sign, I was the only one that Mark could convince to get out of the car. Since I was a terrible wife on out last morning in Canada and refused to hug the Tim Hortons sign for it, I tried to make up for it by making the silly hand signs he requested at this sign. He seemed satisfied when we were done, so I can only hope that I’m back in “good wife” territory.

The time changed when we crossed into Texas, and we lost an hour. It was a little depressing, but we survived. We were finally on Texas time (some people like to call it Chicago time, but who are they, anyway), which meant we were that much closer to home. We were really pushing trying to finish our book by this point, and I was reading as much as I could. It was hard to tell if we would finish or not, since we were just close enough that it seemed reasonable. I’m not sure if I even mentioned, but by now we were reading The Testament, by John Grisham. If I’ve already mentioned that, forgive me. Exhaustion is setting in.

Contrails in Texas
Contrails in Texas

We stopped for Sonic in Dalhart and changed drivers again. The only thing Mark and I can eat at Sonic is grilled cheese, but we didn’t really have any options. I hated it just a little since I’d already sworn off grilled cheese. I guess I spoke too soon. Hopefully the next time I eat a grilled cheese won’t be until this winter. At least they added tomato for us.

The Sonic bathroom looked terrible, so Mom and I walked next door to a gas station to use the facilities. Mark had to hold Sabre and Ripley, which can be a challenge. Ripley wants so badly to play with Sabre, and she doesn’t understand that slapping Sabre with her paws is not a fun time for the tiny little thing. Sometimes Sabre encourages her, which makes me feel terrible when I have to tell Ripely no. I swear she’s looking at me like, “But Momma, she wants to play!”

There was a tiny dog loose at the Sonic, and no one seemed to own it. It didn’t have a collar, and Mom and I were fretting about her being hit by a car the entire time. I really hope she belonged to someone nearby and was just at Sonic begging for food. She was much too little to make it on her own, and she was hanging out pretty close to the highway that runs through town.

The last grilled cheese...
The last grilled cheese…

Past Dalhart, we were like horses that had just spotted the barn. We drove and drove while I pushed hard to finish our book. We stopped at another gas station for drinks and a break, and before we knew it we were past Wichita Falls. We switched drivers again on the far side of town and Mark and I took the front seats for the final leg of our journey.

By now, Ripley was incredibly sad every time we put her back in the car after a break. She didn’t want to get back in her seat. She was just sure it was time to stop and stay somewhere for the night. She couldn’t figure out why we kept getting back in the car and driving some more. If she could’ve used “the people words,” as Mark likes to say, I think she would’ve sounded like a little kid. “Are we there yet?”

Goodbye, travel companions.
Goodbye, travel companions.

We dropped my parents off in Gainesville and unloaded their things as quickly as we could. Their other dog, Django, who didn’t get to go on the trip, was so happy to see us that he was nearly faint with joy. We were too tired to drag out the tripod and take the family photo we’d originally planned for the end of the trip. Mark settled for taking one of just my parents as we left them on their porch and sped off towards Denton.

And now we are home. Home at last. Tomorrow looks like a lot of cleaning and laundry. We really need to go the grocery store; we don’t have any food at all. Well, except for Ripley. She will be just fine. ┬áMark is backing up the pictures, and we will have them online soon enough. That means I will have over 8,000 photos to metadata. When you get back from vacation, everything looks like work.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our trip to Alaska. We certainly enjoyed taking it. I promise a few more posts about this trip before I’m through talking about it. Just don’t make me do it tomorrow. Please?

– Trip Total : 10,533 miles

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