One-Hundred Twenty-Six

Council Bluffs, IA

Closing the accounts is like the close of the Rebellion. — Gen’l Grenville M. Dodge, quoted in “Nothing Like it in the World”

Tonight I made what are – theoretically – the last two hotel reservations I’ll need on this transcontinental circumnavigation. By Sunday I should be visiting friends in Chicago, then with family in central Indiana and then back to familiar eastern confines by Wednesday night. Things are winding down. The mad dash is still in full force but my mind is turned to the future again. Harsh reality is closing in. The idea of not living life – pissing it away at work – is particularly revolting, while, at the same time, a little bit of routine would be entertaining for a little while.

After four months of tracking pioneers, I’d like to do a little pioneering of my own. I’d like to walk across the Great Plains. I’d like to ride horses through the Davis Mountains down in Texas. I looked at the Union Pacific website yesterday and saw some job openings in Green River, Wyoming. Maybe I’d like to spend some time fighting the clock and mother nature out in the alkali desert?

Or maybe I ought to just swallow hard and get a job and shut the hell up. Maybe I ought to finally become a teacher and use the extended vacation to do some modified version of my travels every year? Christ, I don’t know. I wish I had a week or two to stand on the bridge over the Missouri River and look for answers in the muddy, swirling waters. I wish I had a month to watch the seasons change back in the American River valley in California. I wish I had a stocking cap to keep gravel out of my scalp so I could stand on the windswept Wyoming plains and seek answers in the broad sky. But I don’t. So, that’s that. Now what?

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