"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

South for the Winter

The Twist Family Big Adventure is well under way, thanks to my stepdad's valiant snow removal effort with his road grader.  We left Wyoming Sunday morning heading south and spent the night in Burlington, a Colorado/Kansas border town.  Sadly, we had to steer clear of Denver in order to be snow free.  (Sorry, Scott and Mandy - we'll see you in the Spring!)  It was great, though, to read the Denver Post and find out the Bronco's are in negotiations to hire John Elway as VP of Football Operations.  Welcome back, #7!

I digress.  Since the temps are still below freezing we are camping in cheap motels.  I used to find it odd, seeing an RV in a motel parking lot.  Now I know why and I sympathize.  We'll continue to stay in motels until we get south enough to thaw out the RV.  It will be lovely when we don't have to haul all of our freezables (boxes of canned goods and toiletries, etc.) in an out of houses and motels.

We arrived in Dodge City, Kansas yesterday afternoon.  Dodge City was built exactly five miles from Ft. Dodge, a fort built in 1865 to monitor Indians and offer supplies to pioneers as the traveled west on the Santa Fe trail.  Why five miles, you may wonder?  Alcohol was not allowed within five miles of the fort so the enterprising founder, in 1878, rode his horse exactly five miles away from the fort and built a saloon.  Soldiers were as thirsty then as they are now and the town grew into a huge trade center for buffalo hunters and cattlemen as well as outlaws.  In a town of 1200 people there were 19 saloons.  Cowboys trailed cattle a thousand miles from Texas in order for the cattle to be shipped on Dodge City's railroad.  Between 1875 and 1886 over 5,000,000 cattle were run through the town.  Drinking cowboys and soldiers and the inevitable gamblers and prostitutes contributed to Dodge's being called "the Wickedest Little City in America." 

Yesterday we walked where famous sherrifs Bat and Ed Masterson and Wyatt Earp fought gun battles against lawless gunslingers.  We crossed the railroad tracks that run east-west through the middle of town.  The north half, in Wyatt Earp's day, was fairly respectable but crossing over the tracks into the south side was to cross the "deadline," putting your life in danger.  I didn't feel my life was in danger as I did laundry over the "deadline" but I wouldn't have called it safe either.

Dodge Ctiy gives a generous nod to the long running tv show, "Gunsmoke" in which Marshall Matt Dillon is the law in Dodge and Miss Kitty runs the Longbranch Saloon.  Yes, my menfolk had a cold one in the Longbranch to rinse the travel dust from their gullets - Sarsparilla for the youngsters, bellies up to the beautiful, mahogany bar.

Dare I say it?  We got the heck out of Dodge this morning, nose pointing south.  We aren't sure where we will end up yet. For being such a planner, it's a bit exciting, not having a plan, just choosing a direction.  Donald chuckled when I relayed that thought and said, "That's how the gypsies did it."  To which I replied, "How did they manage without atlas, iPhone and income?"  He laughed again and said, "By the stars and stealing!"

It occurs to me there is a spiritual parallel to our curent travel method.  If my focus is pointed in the right Direction, the plan doesn't really matter.  God, as Cartographer and Navigator, will guide me as long as I'm looking in His direction.  Of course, you are all free to remind me of this when I start to get panicky!

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