I finished teaching a 3-day workshop in Newton, Kansas yesterday afternoon, and today I drove south from Kansas to Bartlesville, Oklahoma so I can teach another workshop for the next 3 days. Kansas was a blast, and deserves its own post, which I'll write later...But today...
I have recently fallen in love.
You know that TV commercial where the men fall in love with their GPS systems because "she" finds them golf courses and great Chinese food? Well, I'm telling you, that ad's not that far off the mark! My cell phone is my GPS navigator (through Verizon wireless...it's called VNavigator) and my nephews and I decided last week that "she" needed a name. We decided to call her Nora, but her full name is Nora K. Best (the "K" stands for "Knows".) She gets me everywhere stress free. I really can't begin to tell you what a relief it is to get into a rental car in a strange town with Nora in hand. No more panic, stress, fear or time lost being lost. I love her.
So this morning, I left my Kansas motel to head south on I-135. The sun was warm, skies blue, breeze was light...a perfect spring day, and I was immensely looking forward to the 2 and a half hour drive to Oklahoma. I hopped on the freeway and as my speed hit 60mph, I started to hear a rattle to end all rattles. By 65 it was a rattle/vibration/buzz saw...and at 70 mph (the speed limit on the freeway) it was DEAFENING. Not to mention a tad bit scary.
I'm not going to bore you with all the mental machinations I went through in trying to decide whether or not to continue on my way, or to turn around and drive up to Wichita to turn it in for a replacement rental car...
Suffice it to say that I decided to keep going south since as long as my speed was around 55, there wasn't a peep out of the car.
Here's the cool part. Driving virtually empty roads at a leisurely 55 mph on a sunny spring day with Nora at your side is like....like a......like a gift. Normally I'd be speeding along, pushing 5 miles over the limit, just because I could, all the while in a mild state of panic that my MapQuest directions aren't right, and have I already missed that turn off???
I enjoyed every minute. Lots and lots of grass and flat. Lots of lines of trees with graceful bare branches. Lots of cows. I turned off the radio and rolled down my windows and heard birds singing. Pulled the car over once to watch a huge flock of some kind of white bird way, way, way up high in the sky. At 73 mph, I'd never have even noticed them.
By mid-afternoon, with no breakfast or lunch yet, I was hungry so I pulled over in charming Caney, OK at the Snak Shack for a cheeseburger and ate it on the bench in the grass in front of the joint, right along the main drag. The hamburger patty was hand-formed - by real human (I suspect female) hands and the bun was grilled and the onion rings had never lived inside a box in any freezer. It took 10 minutes to fix and she brought it outside to me in a pure white paper bag without a hint of a cool logo or branding on it anywhere.
Half an hour later I was in Bartlesville in my hotel - safe, sound, rejuvenated and happy. Nora and her calm, confident voice got me here without a single wrong turn.
I can only hope that once I get back home to Seattle I find that my own little Ford Focus has picked up a nasty rattle of its own. It was a genuine and surprising pleasure to slow down for a change....