This is the last part and it doesn’t quite seem real yet that I’m done with my gypsy lifestyle (for a little while anyway.) My dogs don’t quite believe it yet, either. It does help that I am very obviously not packing things up, quite the opposite, but they get very nervous and sad every time I have to go somewhere and am not taking them with me.
After I spent some time visiting my sister in Flagstaff, with her adorable dog and cats, I headed east with a couple of pit stops. I took some time to check out the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. I’d driven right by them several years ago but this time I made the detour intentional and it was well worth it. It’s sad to not that so much of the Petrified Forest has been looted by visitors, so who knows what it used to look like a century ago. The Painted Desert was incredible, even at midday, and I’m sure is even more beautiful at sunrise or sunset.
The next morning we headed further east and it was my longest day of driving. The plains gave way to more greenery and we managed to get into Little Rock before Vanness closed for the day. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was just so excited to be near a cornerstone of the fountain pen brick-and-mortar stores in America that I got a little star-struck. I admired their enormous selection of pens and inks, and also baking supplies, before deciding that I really wanted another Lamy Al-Star Blue-Green. I lost mine in Afghanistan and have been sad about it ever since.
I picked a hotel nearby and when I checked into my room, it smelled awful and seemed really dingy. I’m not one to ask for a different room, but the smell made me gag. It turned out I’d mistakenly booked a smoking room instead of a non-smoking room. My non-smoking room was instantly much, much better and there was a Mexican restaurant in the parking lot, which was very convenient for dinner.
My last real stretch of the trip was Little Rock to Atlanta for the 2017 Atlanta Pen Show. One of the things I dislike about moving east is that I lose and hour every time I cross a time zone, and I dislike driving at night so it makes it harder for me to stay up later and get up earlier to get the driving hours in.
The Atlanta Galleria Wyndham was by far the nicest hotel I stayed at the entire trip and it was nice to cap the trip off with a bit of a splurge. The beds were soft, the toiletries smelled nice, and my dogs loved the floor to ceiling window overlooking the parking lot where they could watch the people go in and out. Although pet friendly, they had the highest pet fee of any hotel I stayed at. I probably would have gone somewhere else except it was the same hotel at the Atlanta Pen Show and the convenience was too much to pass up.
Now that I’m home, I’ve got lots to do before the movers come. I realized yesterday that, in a huge lack of foresight on my part, I had only packed two t-shirts. TWO. It’s over 80 degreees every day here. I don’t know what I was thinking. Once my washer and dryer get delivered I’ll feel more free to start working out since I’ll have a way to de-stink my clothes.