Driving down the dirt roads for the second day, it occurred to me how much I was thoroughly enjoying driving with my camera in my lap and stopping whenever I wanted. Horses by a fence, stop and talk to them, pet their soft noses and take a few pictures. Bird on an electrical wire or pole, grab the camera and take pictures while letting the car slowly creep forward, ensuring that I will either scare the bird away or get a close enough picture to be able to identify it later. Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle, avid birders, I’m no longer content with a bird just being a bird, they have to be identified and marked off in the back of my Peterson guide.
One of the adventures slated for the day was to ride my bike through some open range. I was hesitant to do so, knowing the cows weren’t behind any fences, but I parked the car, grabbed the bike and rode. I did meet up with some cows who seemed to be, at first, taken aback by the bicycle, but then decided to run along beside me. Having a herd of about 30 cattle running right next to me while on a bike was definitely something new and I kept hoping they didn’t suddenly all decide to take a quick right and run me over. Just as the thought crossed my mind, they all stopped running. I often talk to cows when I see them on the side of the road, but since they have never talked back, I’ll never know if it was because they were bored, tired or saw something more interesting.
I was glad to be out of my car for while, even with the windows down you don’t get a full appreciation for what the country has to offer. I still felt like I was missing something, so I parked my bike and just sat there for a while, watching the birds hunt and listening to the bugs and critters who wisely refused to show themselves. I could have sat there all day, but I hauled myself back onto my bike and headed for the car. 10 continuous miles of open range was waiting on me.
Arriving at the high point of this stretch of open range, I realized I was up close and personal with the view I’ve always admired from I-35. Hills and valleys as far as you can see in every direction. Perhaps the slowest 10 miles I had traveled at this point, there was just so much to see, I couldn’t bring myself to drive more than a few feet at a time before I was stopping for yet another photograph. I was paying attention to only the view on the right side of the road when I heard a strange noise. Sure that my car was responsible and pondering what to do with a broken down car in the middle of nowhere, I looked to my left and realized it was an oil pump. This is Kansas oil country and the roadside is dotted with oil pumps chugging along, slowly relieving the land of it’s crude oil.
After a second day with only my thoughts for company, I realized how much my life has been a go with the flow kind of life. Very little boat rocking, trying not to upset or disappoint people. Staying when every part of me is screaming to go; whether in a relationship, friendship or job. Not doing what I want to do because it would mean going alone. Now that I’ve conquered that last one, I can hardly wait to see what is on the horizon. It’s clear to me this is the beginning of a new journey. Big and scary, at times, but exciting and I’m happily looking forward to every step along the way.