Dateline: Vernon

Jackson resumed his duties as forward lookout with aplomb.

Incredible as it seems, we are home. All of us. Me, Mike, Jackson, and of course, Jack Teagarden. We are all very tired, and there’s still much more to do. But the first leg of this incredible journey is over.

We drove from Indianapolis to Vernon today. It was a long, difficult, and uncomfortable trip, but the closer we got to Texas, the better we felt.

Mike contemplates the smell of two guys and a moose in a truck cab for over twenty hours.

The best advantage to starting early in the morning is that we got to see some amazing scenery for most of the day. Our only real traffic tangle happened in St. Louis, but gave us two opportunities: a chance to eat real food (as opposed to something we picked up at a Stucky’s at a dead run, as if we were participating in the Cannonball Run or something), and the chance to take this lovely snapshot:

As usual, I shot twenty of these to get one nice one.

There were lulls on the road, of course. Jackson wanted to sing folk songs, but we dissuaded him from starting anything in a round. We mostly talked about the funny signs we saw along the way; billboards that proclaimed “Two Antique Malls and a Yarn Shop,” for example. We imagined the conversation going something like this:

Fred: Hey, looka there, Hon. Not just one, but two, two antiques malls!

Midge: Oh, Fred. You imbecile. If you’ve seen one antiques mall, you’ve seen them all. Now, what I wouldn’t give for a real, honest-to-goodness yarn shop, like they are always showing in the movies…

Fred: (spying the billboard) Hey, Hon, guess what? You just got Christmas in July!

Jackson grabs the camera while I'm distracted counting license plates.

So, to recap: from Canada, to Michigan, to Indiana, to Illinois, to Michigan, to Oklahoma, and finally to Texas. The collection is fine. It was expertly packed. Tomorrow we’ll unload and store it, and then we begin the next phase of the project. I’ll have some wrap-up thoughts about the trip, as well.

I’m tired, but I’m so very happy. We did it. We brought Jack home.

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