May 14 – 17
Upon our return from Cycle North Carolina I prepared for my last few days of working on campus and on Wednesday went there to be one of the featured speakers at the retirement celebration of a valued co-worker and friend, Jim Kay. He was one of our most important hires for the new Student Union in 2009, as he would direct the maintenance team and over the course of his tenure, helped us to bring the building to full functionality and then ensured during his time there that it would look and operate as if brand new.
The speech went well but as I exited the stage, more than 18-inches off the ground and with no steps in place, I landed awkwardly and felt a searing pain in my left knee. Barely able to walk for the next couple of days I made a trip to see my doctor a week later and after examining it, he felt that I hadn’t torn anything, advising the RICE treatment, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Medical websites have advised that recovery can take 2-4 weeks and so we decided to go forward with our trip and hope for the best, with some needed adjustments to the itinerary. Obviously, my knee wasn’t in any condition to ride continuous multi-mile days plus we’d not been training, so I quickly went about eliminating the Katy Trail, cancelling all of our reservations.
This was time consuming as we had six different hotel/B&B spots and a shuttle to take care of. But it all went smoothly, having to only absorb one cancellation fee. Next up was to figure out to do with the time to fill. We contacted our Airbnb in Nashville and added a day there, added a day to our stay with Beverly and then because of a serendipitous remark at a social occasion, made reservations for two nights in Sikeston (near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers) followed by four nights camping at a KOA in Branson, Mo, because, who doesn’t want to visit Branson?
Here then would be our itinerary for the month of May:
|Monday||May||14||1||Nashville, Tn||Airbnb – Nashville Charm|
|Friday||May||18||5||Sikeston||Best Western Plus Sikeston|
|Sunday||May||20||7||Branson, MO||Branson KOA|
|Thursday||May||24||11||Colony, Ks||Casa Beech|
|Tuesday||May||29||16||Dalhart, Tx||Best Western Nursanickel Hotel|
|Weds||May||30||17||Santa Fe, Nm||Santa Fe KOA|
|Bold/Italic/Underlined = Camping|
This trip, given our desire to camp as much as possible, ended up being much more tightly planned than usual as we had to make campground reservations well in advance, particularly in State and National Parks. Plus the additional complexity of staying with family and friends made for little, if any, flexibility in our schedule, the exact opposite of our Europe adventure last year. This is not a good or bad thing as each trip has its own sense of place.
Here is the breakdown of the types of lodging we’d be using:
|Lodging||# of Nights||%|
|Total Hotels and Airbnb||26||26.5%|
|Total Friends and Family||35||35.7%|
Judy would be housesitting for us again, a welcome relief for many reasons, with an additional new one just before we left, an invasion of Carpenter Bees at the top of our brand new front door. We had them treated prior to our departure and returned the first week of the trip. She let us know and we asked for treatment again. Our bees could be with us all summer and if so, we’ll hope we have a front door to return to.
And so, we were set to go. The day before our departure, Sunday, was Mother’s Day and along with her sister Nicole, we took Joanna’s Mom out to Carpe Diem to celebrate. They had a special brunch menu (they are only open two afternoons a year, this day and Easter) that was imaginative and tasty, and we enjoyed our last meal, for a while, in Charlotte.
We returned to a quiet evening at home; Judy came over to spend the night and chatted with Joanna while I watched the last couple of shows I’d recorded on the DVR. Our drive the next day would take about seven hours and we’d gain an hour by changing time zones and with the car all packed, there was no need to rush. We were ready to roll.
Carpenter Bee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpenter_bee
Carpe Diem: https://carpediemrestaurant.com/