It finally began to sink in. The house saga is over. And we are free. This is a beginning. And what better place for that to set in, than Iowa with it's wide-open expanses of land? Iowa is more progressive today than California, after all, right? It's not that we're planning on settling here. No. It just feels good to be here.
Ever since Bob and I met, I have been fascinated by the fact that he grew up in such a small town - a farming community in (what seemed to me) the middle of nowhere. He's from Humboldt, Iowa. I really love coming here to visit because it's so hard to get a cell signal in places that you're forced to disconnect and just relax. That's what we're doing.
And today, in order to blog, we had to search out the only public wifi we could find at the Hy-Vee grocery store. So, picture me at a booth in a small town grocery store where the regulars have their own mugs lining the walls and the coffee is only .75 cents for a large.
Our Independence Day began in Lincoln, Nebraska where we got right back on I80 and headed East. Bob, luckily had the brilliant idea to get off of 80 in Omaha and drive through the Missouri Valley taking 30 towards his hometown. It was so pretty. Overcast and cool. Perfect driving weather. It sprinkled a bit. We could see the rain miles away across the open fields. The hills rolled and the countryside was very green. For a while we drove alongside a freight train.
The best part about our drive, though, was when we rolled into Logan, Iowa and I accidentally drove us right down the 4th of July Parade route. It happened before I knew it. There was traffic, which surprised us. It hadn't occurred to us that we were headed right towards a parade until we were in it. Technically, the parade hadn't yet begun. It was about to. And there we were on Main Street with townsfolk lining the road waiting for the real parade to begin. Some waved at us. Picture us with our car packed solid and the bikes on top.
Pablo was sticking his head out the window. Kids pointing at him and calling out: "Doggy!" This is what we saw:
As I'm realizing that I'm on the parade route, I'm trying to figure out how to get off of it when "God Bless America" starts blaring out of these giant speakers. It was so loud I couldn't think. Not to mention, I was laughing so hard it made it hard to drive. Finally, I made a right turn and got out of there. A block away and there was no traffic. That's Iowa.
We continued on towards Bob's hometown of Humboldt and made it with plenty of time for their evening parade and fireworks. The trained geese dressed in clothes were the highlight for me.
The next day brought a giant and wonderful family reunion and two birthday celebrations. Lots of food. Smoked chickens, marshmallow salad, deviled eggs. I was confronted by the fact that we really don't have a plan when asked, "So where you headed?"
"And everything you own's in your car?"
"Yep. Well, pretty much. Except for a small storage locker."
"Been there. Done that."
And that was that. There wasn't much more to say. Like all the food we've eaten the last few days, we're still digesting our experience. (too gross? Sorry.) For now, we're just watching the corn grow. With family.
Tomorrow we continue on to my hometown where we'll begin to form a plan. Our plan to climb our way out of debt. Yes, we sold the house. Yes, we avoided foreclosure. Yes, we still have a Mt. Everest of debt. And we're up for the climb.
This picture was taken moments before we pulled out of our driveway in Los Angeles for the final time. Pablo, packed in with all of our belongings.