Staying with family on days 2 and 3 was just what I needed. More and more of the nervousness seemed to dissipate with every hug, every good wish and every boost of encouragement. So by this morning, as I was leaving, that wave of panic that had hit on day 1 became a wistful breeze, that went by almost unnoticed. Coupled with that was being ahead of schedule, yes, you heard me right ahead of schedule. Of course it was the result of being in a different time zone and not any real feat on my part.
According to my GPS, my ETA in Hays, Kansas would be 4:00. Now that my GPS and I have become the best of friends, I knew I could shave some time off of that. Even better though, I thought it might give me some time to get off the Interstate and get a few pictures of Kansas. There was an array of different colors across the miles of fields. Some were overgrown with goldenrod while others looked golden with the corn stalks that remained tall and drying in the autumn sun. There is still plenty of green, but it is no longer all encompassing. Several times I wished I could have stopped to capture the colors, but that’s not a good idea on the highway.
Eventually I did pull off, it was the sign for the Oz Museum that did it for me. By then my ETA had become 3:30 and so I felt I no longer had to push forward as hard. As I headed down Rote 99, in Alma Kansas I spotted an old schoolhouse. I wanted to stop for pictures but I had someone behind me. A little ways up the road, after seeing more sights I’d love to either paint or just take pictures of I pulled off the road onto what I think was someone’s driveway, but it was long and unpaved and I only pulled in a little ways so I’m not sure. To my right was a wonderful barn on a hill, the foreground was an fence of aging wood posts and framed with wildflowers. I wanted to pull my paints out right there but I had to settle for photographs. And as I took my pictures, making sure to get everything for a future painting, I knew this was why I had made this trip. Any lingering doubts were now gone.
Before I got back to the old schoolhouse for pictures there was another stop, a couple of horses had caught my eye, they needed their pictures taken as well. The schoolhouse was a great treat and I know there will be at least one painting from that stop. I haven’t even gotten to Colorado yet and the inspiration is already pouring in. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.