There’s no place like… Kansas

I’ve been waiting to write this post until we got out of Kansas… It’s Saturday July, 10th and we’re on the road to Denver, but we’re still in Kansas. I’m writing anyway.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (the 6th, 7th, and 8th) were big work days for us and I can tell you that having a meeting at a campground is much better than having one while you’re barreling down the highway. I pray that my team has the patience to deal with all the disruption and chaos of the rattling RV and spotty WiFi.

The Kentucky butterfly funeral

Tuesday night we got to General Butler state park in Carrollton, Kentucky. The girls had a butterfly funeral for a swallowtail that got stuck on Dolly’s grill. Hazel sang amazing grace. Wednesday Eric produced his podcast and wrote an article about the trip so far, and I had meetings. The girls spent the day asking if they could go to the pool. They painted rocks and amused themselves until the afternoon when we finally took them swimming. This was the day hazel had the big meltdown I mention in the last post (the girls are learning that a work trip is different than a vacation. They feel a little hoodwinked).

When a thunderstorm ended our swim, we got back in the RV and drove through Indiana, ending up at a really nice KOA in Grayville, Illinois.

Thursday morning, after a few morning meetings, we hit the road for Lawrence Kansas, the home of some of my colleagues at Mindful. We pulled into my CEO Bryan’s Kansas ranch a little after 7:30 (they were kind enough to hold dinner for us). It was nice to see familiar faces, share a meal around a table, and toast to seeing each other in-person (not just in the “zoom” squares).

That night we got back to our RV and as soon as we opened the door we hear the sound of running water. Dolly?! What now?

Dolly Springs a Leak

We traced the sound to under the sink and found that a plastic pipe was broken clean off. Water was spilling out and seeping through the bottom of the RV into the storage compartment below. Luckily we only had some tarps in there. We turned off the pump and, since it was late and there was not much we could do, tucked in for an unsettled night’s sleep. The girls were scared. We slept uneasily, listening to the sounds of the three great pyrenees (Sam, Hobbs, and Sally) who protect the ranch fighting off coyotes periodically throughout the night.

Friday morning, we woke to the sounds of roosters. I stayed in bed for a while, not quite ready to meet the day. Eric got up and called about 20 plumbers until he found one who would come out and help us. When we finally got on the road again, it was after 11am.

On the road out of Kansas we found out Eric’s mom was admitted to the hospital for low white blood cell counts. She’s having chemo and insisted she’d be furious with us if we canceled this trip “to shuffle me to my appointments” she’d said. Leaving her, even though she’s got the support of family and friends at home, who all want us to be out here, is the hardest thing about this whole trip. We also found out my Dad was finally accepted into a skilled nursing facility. (Those stories are for another blog, another time.) I cried a lot on the road out of Lawrence. I looked up flights out of Denver. It’s Saturday as I write this and I finally got to hear her voice. She sounds good and won’t hear of me coming home. Of course, I’m not going to tell her if I decide to do it.

A Hemp Event in Kansas

After Lawrence we were headed to a hemp event in Great Bend, Kansas, hosted by Southbend Hemp, a 4th generation farm that just got a big machine called a decorticator, allowing them to process hemp fiber and making other Kansas and regional farmers more likely to grow hemp because there’s somewhere local to process it.

Eric set up a table and got to meet some farmers who’ve been listening to his podcast in order to learn the ins and outs of the industry. The girls helped him give away hats and t-shirts and newspapers. I did my best to have friendly conversations, in between calling the hospital to check on mom.

We left the event late so it was dark when we set off west — we had an hour and a half drive ahead of us to our campground in WaKeeny Kansas. As we drove, we could see lightning off in the distance to our right in the northwest. The winds started blowing Dolly around on the long flat roads of the dark Kansas night.

You can’t outrun a Kansas storm

I checked the radar and saw that a big storm system was heading our way, a solid line of storms traveling fast from the northwest, heading southeast across the state of Kansas with high wind gusts and hail. If we gunned it we might be able to make it through a hole in the storm line before it crossed the highway we were on. As we raced the storm, trying to beat it past the town of Hays, large streaks of lightening streamed across the expansive sky to our right.

The girls were quiet, watching the storm. As we approached Hays, we saw our first crack of lightening on the left side of us, too. Clearly we weren’t going to beat the storm.

So, without the normal guffaw of exasperation and disappointment Eric usually displays when us Hurlock girls wax poetic about the reasons it would make sense to stay in a hotel (we are traveling in a beautiful RV named Dolly, after all … tho I’m trying real hard not to rename her Folly) we pulled off the last exit in Hays and found what we were told was the last room in town.

Currently, we’re back on the highway, heading west… we just checked out tire pressure and we’re low. We’re all buckled up, making our way to an RV service center in Oakley, Kansas.

There’s no place like…

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