Posted by: Judy | October 5, 2017

There and Back Again Day 1

I debated how to write this. Should I make one long write up? Or break it up?

Coming home to around 700 emails (spread over several accounts), I appreciate the short posts, so short it is.

I attended the ALEP 4, also known as 4LEP. I attended the first ALEP (A Long Expected Party) nine years ago. They occur every 3 years. The following 2 events occurred when I had deadlines. When I realized I’d have no deadlines for the 4th event, I began planning, almost two years ago.

Friends at the first event invited me to attend, offering to share a room. I registered last year, in July, as soon as it opened. One of them, L,  later asked if I’d drive with her, from Texas to Kentucky. With my back, I hesitated. However, Goggins had become a part of my life, and I decided to do what I needed to do to make it possible. I upped my workout so I’d be ready and said, “Yes!”

Thinking about it as a vacation was stressing me out. I knew it wouldn’t be relaxed. It would be busy. Things would go wrong. It’s a Lord of the Rings event. I made the mental connections and declared, “I’m going on an adventure!” Completely changed my perspective.

Then L asked if we could bring a guy along, J. I knew them all from a previous LOTR event. Sure. Her husband had wanted her to bring another woman along so she wasn’t alone. I appreciated having a man along. Three was safer than two. Then it was decided we’d pick up a fourth friend, S, in Georgia.

Austin, Texas, to Dawsonville, Georgia: 1,013 miles or 14 hours and 46 minutes. Dawsonville, Georgia to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, a bit south of the Shaker Village: 331 miles 5 hours and 45 minutes. Almost 22 hours of driving, after my 2-1/2 hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to Austin Texas.

I was all in. “I’m going on an adventure!” It wouldn’t be comfortable. It wouldn’t be perfect. It would be worth it.

I wrote lists and checked them off and wrote more lists. I made purchases. I sent a list of things for L to buy so I wouldn’t have to worry about packing them, things like shampoo and conditioner, etc. We texted and messaged back and forth about our plans. I was as prepared as I knew how to be.

Sunday morning, 23 September, my dad woke me at 3:30 AM. My alarm was set for 3:45 AM. He was excited for me and didn’t want me to be late. Check in was at 5 AM for my 7 AM flight on Southwest (my favorite airline and the only one I’ll use).

I worried about security. I hadn’t flown since the increased security. The TSA agent informed me I’d already been cleared for Pre-check! Woohoo! I didn’t know where to look on my ticket. The agents were helpful and didn’t harass me about my nervousness. They did have to check my suitcase as the x-ray machine showed beans. Why beans are a problem, I don’t know. Doesn’t matter. The man opened my suitcase, and I explained that the bean-filled stuffie was my aromatherapy dog. His look was doubtful. I explained that it smells like lavender, and I sleep with it close to my face. Understanding replaced confusion and I was sent on my way.

The flight was a little late. Maintenance. My first reaction was panic. I couldn’t be late. People were waiting for me in order to head east.

“I’m going on an adventure!” Give the battle to God and praise Him in the storm.

The problem was cleared up in a few minutes, and we were on our way. I arrived pretty much on time. Since I only did carryon, a bag and a backpack, I was outside in no time, and we were on our way.

Austin to our first stop. Lunch at a steakhouse L wanted to try, only it wasn’t a steakhouse anymore. L had asked me what type of food I wouldn’t eat. Mexican because it almost always includes peppers of what kind or another, to which I’m allergic. What had the steakhouse become? Yep, Mexican food. Best Italian pasta I’ve ever eaten. I took notes. Do I know where they are? Nope.

From there we headed for the loop bypassing Houston. My friends pointed out the water line on the trees, from Harvey. Garbage was still stacked outside many homes. Houston to the other side of Baton Rogue, it was dark and we stopped for the night.

The first picture I took on my adventure. Somehow I failed to take a single picture the first day. This is day two, and it’s raining. I took the picture through the front windshield in the comfortable 2002 Suburban. L drove during the day. J drove when it was dark. I navigated.


  1. Awesome start to your adventure. 🙂

    • Yes, it was. 🙂

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