Moving to New York, Part 1 | SC to IA | August 12-15, 2016
Curtis’ graduation wrapped up around 10:30, and after a few final logistical things we went to pick up Charlotte (who was being watched by our kind hosts and friends!) and said a few final goodbyes to our neighbors. Our first experience living on a military base was a great one, mostly because of all the wonderful people we met here! Admittedly, we do a lot of things on our own, and not as much with others. However, during the weeks while Curtis was in school, I was happy to find that all I had to do was take Charlotte for a walk and I’d either see a friend or meet someone new, and I was continually reminded that I’m not alone in this crazy military wife life. (That is, the life is crazy, not the wives! 😉 ) While it’s really sad to think that if we ever ended up back here, all new people would likely be living in these houses, I know that this is the military and there’s always a chance we can run into our friends some day. Until then, we have social media and technology to keep us connected. 🙂
And finally, we were on the road by noon, headed West! It rained off and on throughout the day, but cool clouds and rainbows always make up for that. The heat and humidity stayed with us past sunset in Tennessee, but I’m happy to report that after the first day, the weather stayed cool and significantly less humid. We’re free of the Southern heat!! (Watch me talk about how much I miss it in 3 months, HAHA!)
The first day we made it to Hopkinsville, KY for the night, after grabbing Culvers for dinner in Clarksville, TN. The drive in general went super uneventful, besides construction in the Smokies causing about an hour delay. (More time to stare at mountains, am I right?!) We crashed at the hotel at about 10.
The next day, we started bright and early with going a little off our path to Jefferson Davis’ birthplace where the tallest cement obelisk now stands in memory of him. We walked through fresh cut grass wet with morning dew to read all the plaques and try to fit the whole structure into a picture. We grabbed a letterbox for the area then went on our way.
Our next stop was a little over an hour later in Paducah, KY to see another Whispering Giant statue. This easily became the highlight of the trip (after seeing family and friends, of course!) because not only did we find the letterbox associated with the statue, but we also MET THE CARVER OF THE WHISPERING GIANT STATUES!! Peter Wolf Toth has carved 74 statues, at least one for every state, along with some in Canada and Europe. He just so happened to be there in Kentucky doing some repairs on his statue. Curtis recognized him right away and said “You’re Peter Wolf Toth!” He was pretty surprised that we recognized him, but he was super cool and talked to us for a bit, gave us some info sheets and a list of all his giants and their locations, gave us his autograph, and took pictures with us. So as you can see, there was quite a bit of fan-girling going on on our part. 😉 Do you ever think about how you might react to meeting a celebrity or someone you admire? I always thought I’d be one to play it cool and maybe even ignore them, but this was different. We just couldn’t contain our excitement, and he was probably not used to people reacting the way we did. Anyway, we were on a high for the rest of the day. I still can’t believe this happened. We’ve been finding Whispering Giant statues across the country since our honeymoon and had even talked about visiting his studio in Florida one day. To think we were fortunate enough to run into him at one of his own statues?! So cool!
After that, we were back on the road, driving through Illinois through a heavy storm, then into Missouri and St. Louis under clear skies. We stopped here for lunch because one of our good friends from Arizona, Austin, just so happened to be there! We had lunch at a local joint near Washington University and had fun catching up for a couple hours.
Finally, we finished up the first part of our drive, making it to my family’s home in Iowa that evening. My happy place! We stayed for 2 full days and were able to spend all that time just getting caught up with everyone. Even Curtis’ family happened to be in town that weekend, so on Sunday morning we got together with his parents and younger sister & brother for breakfast at Perkins. It was a quick reunion, but we’d see them again in a couple days! On Monday, my brother also came back from college for a day to see us, and my grandparents came up for a couple hours. We did Iowan things like have sweet corn in season, eat fresh produce from my grandparent’s very successful garden (#goals), and play Pokemon Go at Noleridge Park & Gardens. The only restaurant that was on my mind this time was Taco Johns so we had some real authentic Mexican from there. 😉
I feel like the past several times that we’ve returned home have all been during times of transition. We’re homeless, on our way to our new home, and full of questions and uncertainty. But going home is so grounding for me during these times. It reminds me of what truly matters to me, and where my heart lies. It reminds me of all the ways that God has worked in our lives, and that He will continue to go with us and use all things for His glory. So even if home isn’t necessarily “on the way”, I’m so glad we had the chance to return and be around the people we love!