3,906 miles

A few weeks ago we went on a 3,388-mile road trip. That was a blast, and just the first of three epic road trips we’d planned for the summer.

This time, my final destination was Carthage Missouri, where my good friend Dirk had recently moved. He was hosting this year’s “convention” of the Magnificent Seven (although only five were attending). Air travel is such a drag these days, so I decided to give the Tesla some exercise. Our first stop was Utah, where we stopped to visit with some Colorado friends who had moved to Utah only a few days earlier (making them, I suppose, ex-Colorado friends?). We’re a good-looking group:

Although of course this is more our speed:

After a day to see the kids, I left Pepper at the Villa and headed east alone. The first stop was Denver; I hadn’t been back there since we moved away three years ago, which means I hadn’t seen my friend Dave and his family since then. We enjoyed a long dinner at Maggiano’s (boy, I miss that place!) and sat around chatting for hours. When it was time to go, we posed for what felt like some kind of formal portrait.

And then cracked out the real poses.

Onward to Kansas! The I-70 corridor through the middle of the state was exactly as I remember it. Flat.

Somewhere along the way, I picked up a guest: when I stopped to charge the car I noticed a two-inch pin of metal jutting out of the tire. Yikes.

I struck out twice at tire shops around the small town. “There ain’t really any Teslas ’round here,” drawled one of the tire guys. It was starting to look like I’d be spending the night in a hotel while I figured out how to deal with the tire. Luckily a third shop was still open– it was after 5pm by then– and could replace my tire immediately. My wallet was $250 lighter but I could continue on my way to Wichita, where I met up with my college buddy Brad and his family. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of decades, but we had a good time catching up.

The last leg of my journey took me into Carthage, which is a dinky town in southwest Missouri. In many ways it reminded me of Bigfork, although the population is at least four times larger so there’s a bit more to the place. For the next five days, the Magnificent Seven Five hung out and had an absolute blast. We’ve all known each other since we were about thirteen, which means we have an endless list of inside jokes and “remember that time…” stories.

We also played board games. A lot of board games.

There was poker (of course) as well as many, many hands of Sparts. And every night we stayed up far too late talking and laughing. Finally the convention came to an end, and we went our separate ways.

We’ve already tentatively decided next year’s convention will be in Las Vegas. Another road trip? Probably.

There was still a lot of road between me and home, so I headed back toward Utah. Along the way was another stop in Denver to see Kendra and Glen, my college friends.

Continuing west brought me across the Utah desert, which is always beautiful in a desert-ey way. A magnificent storm was brewing on the horizon, bringing much-needed rain.

Back at the Villa, I had a few days with the kids. I’d been on my road trip for nine days, and Pepper had planned to spend those days visiting friends and family in the area, and hanging out with the kids. As it turned out, she spent most of those days in bed feeling terribly sick. She was better by the time I returned, and we were able to have a bit of fun.

There were some board games, of course. We played Sparts and Here to Slay and even Sheephead.

How about that hair on Zack? He’s decided to let it grow and see what happens. It’s pretty impressive.

The time flew by, and eventually we had to say goodbye so the kids could get back to their jobs, friends, and the start of the new college semester.

3,906 miles and three weeks later, we pulled into the driveway. The trip had been awesome. And in a month there’ll be another.