Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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The Empty Nest Trip

So for the last couple of weeks, we've been prepping Jet for his Colorado Music Ambassador's to Europe trip. He's going with Voyager's, a group that solely sets up high school bands, orchestras, and choirs for trips to Europe. Yesterday, we managed to get Jet checked in and off through security with 500 other kids. It was pretty crazy, and took four hours to get through the whole thing....

... and then we packed the Eurovan, got our stuff together, and this morning we headed dead North along I-25. We've just driven from 9am until about 9pm with stops for lunch and dinner, and a few bathroom breaks and gas stops, and we're now in Harlowton, MT at the Country Inn Motel, which is superbly clean and comfortable for only $55 a night for the two of us.

Best Ice Cream in Montana
We had lunch and an Arby's and dinner in Billings, MT, at the Montana Brewing Company and then the most important meal of the day, dessert, at Big Dipper Ice Cream. We'd only ever seen one of those further West, but it was cool to see that they've done well enough to put a branch in Billings!

The ride has been pretty straightforward, freeway all the way north to Billings, and then two-lane highways out of there up to there. We're headed toward Calgary and then further...

The weather in Longmont was a little crazy, it hit 103 F (39.5 C) the day before we left, and seared my sugar snap peas. The tomatoes are burgeoning, though, in that kind of heat, and the zucchini are super happy, even as the basil, spinach, and lettuce all tried to bolt all at once. *laughs* It's cooler up North, with the same clear skies, and the later and later evenings that we once enjoyed in Seattle. It's 9:30 and still really light outside.

I'm truly out of the church stuff, and I jumped right into a TF2 community situation that I really hadn't expected. I went from new member to staff member on that particular community in less than 3 weeks and now have Steel, Gold, and Platinum comp team members on my friend list (which is really bemusing... especially after having been head-shot seven times in a row by the Platinum sniper... that was quite the introduction). And I've found some people with enormous hearts, iron clad integrity, tremendously trained skill, and a patience for newcomers that is pretty awesome.

They're in the throes of some problems as a whole community, and I can't save them, I'm realizing. It's really not for me to do, and not something that's even possible. So I'll keep the friends I've made, see how it turns out, and probably move on to another community or two that might fit more of what I need, which is fellow players in the US, not just in Europe, and maybe just stay as a common member for a while until I can find my feet...

Though it amused me to tell three long-time friends about my TF2 adventures only to have them all shake their head at me and say, "Well, that sounds like you..." In a way, this trip is also an enforced time away from all that, as they decided what they need to decide on their future together. And it's time for me to let my hands and upper body heal from several weeks of doing a great deal of TF2.

John really wanted to see Glacier, and whatever we could see as far North as we can get in to Canada. And then we'll slowly work our way home as best as we're able and see what we can of the Rockies all the way down. Not much more plan than that, but it's enough for us, and we'll camp and use hotels as we're able.

It's also time without Jet. Which is new for both of us. *laughs* Jet was really happy and excited about the trip, and we did a lot of prep with him so that he felt confident and ready for pretty much anything that it was going to be. He had two and a half days solid of practice with the band he's playing with, there are two concert bands, one orchestra, and a choir all going. And he's really confident about the music, the people he's playing with, and the friendships he managed to make in just those few days. He's happy about getting to meet a lot of nice kids that are all interested in music, and he really wants to explore while he's there. We also spent a lot of time with him about what to pack and why, and he felt really good about how much he prepped for the travel, so there are no fears for him there.

So it's all good. He's growing up fast, and taking it all in stride, which is all a mother could hope.
Tags: coping, travel

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