When I last wrote, my adventure was just beginning, and now it’s coming to an end. I don’t like endings!! While I will be happy to see my husband, sleep in my own bed, choose my clothes from the closet instead of the suitcase, and not be tempted by scrumptious yummies that someone else cooks for me, I will miss laughing with Justine, taking photos of this beautiful country, meeting new friends from all over and reconnecting with old ones, and trying and doing new things – foods, roads, museums, buildings – you name it!
I am grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to do all of these things, none of which would have been possible without our pixels2Pages teammates and their families! Justine’s husband and three daughters shared her with us for a long month, and I know that wasn’t easy! Mary, Anne, and Tameka spent time away from their homes and families, too. Our other partners have been holding down the fort, making sure the website stayed running, that things got posted, questions got answered, shout outs got made, and business went on as usual. Thanks, y’all!
I’m not sure where to start, but I can tell you that it seems like it was yesterday that Mary and I were driving to Florida from Texas, giddy with excitement to see Justine! And now I’ve been to fourteen states and by the time I get home I will have covered over 6600 miles (over 10,500 km). We’ve been from the 26th parallel to above the 45th parallel. I’ve crossed the Mississippi three times, with one more to go. We saw and rode on (and Juzzi swam in) the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Huron and Lake Michigan (no swimming here for anyone!). While we enjoyed mostly warm, sunny days, we saw fog, drizzle, overcast skies, downpours, hail, cold wind, and downright chilly (big BRRRR for this Southern girl in Mackinac!) days and nights. We were spared the scary winds that caused so much damage and heartbreak across the heartland of America, although we did walk out of a restaurant in Memphis Wednesday night to hear the tornado sirens going off.
We met people from all over the country – Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, DC, New York, Maine, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Kentucky – and from Canada, too. We shared some of our knowledge about StoryBook Creator, photography, digital scrapbooking, and pixels2Pages. We met Creative Memories Consultants and customers, and even a few husbands. Juzzi met my kids and my granddaughter, as well as my husband and sister and nephew and some of my growing up friends. We missed seeing Pixies Kim and Jeannine, but we spent time with the rest of the US crowd. We met p2P fans and hopefully turned some of the people we met into p2P fans!
We saw lots of American icons, from the sublime (Biltmore Estate) to the ridiculous (the Peachoid) and lots in between: Vanderbilt Beach, Hotel Galvez, NASA, Bourbon Street, Mammy’s Cupboard, Talladega, the Varsity, Duke Chapel, Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Great Smoky Mountains, Grove Park Inn, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Sunsphere, Neyland Stadium, the Grand Ole Opry, the Tennessee State Capitol, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, the Indiana State Capitol, the Grand Hotel, Superman, the floodwall murals in Paducah, the National Quilt Museum, Graceland, Beale Street, the Peabody Ducks, and the Gibson Guitar factory. I’m sure I left out something, but that’s a pretty respectable showing, I’d say!
We ate and drank lots of things, many of which were new to Justine: iced tea, grits, American bacon, gumbo, sausage and alligator cheesecake, blackened redfish, beignets, Sonic ice, diet cherry limeade, fried green tomatoes, bread pudding, smoked turkey, crawfish, tableside guacamole and homemade tortilla chips, pico de gallo, po’ boys, okra, Kuerig coffee, chili cheese fries, NC barbeque, fresh picked strawberries, KY barbeque, Kilwin’s ice cream, frozen custard, Southern fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, biscuits, cornbread, cobbler, hot chocolate with butter shots, barbequed chicken flatbread pizza, pimiento cheese, catfish, pecan pancakes, Tabasco sauce, Mulligatawny stew, and way too many other good things to mention. Let’s just say we’ll be eating salads and exercising a lot….
But now Justine is on her way back to Australia, where her three beautiful daughters and her handsome husband are anxiously awaiting her arrival. My sister and I are heading for Birmingham to meet up with my husband and then we’re all off to Texas. Life on the road is about to return to life at home, and I’m sure there is plenty of work waiting for me! I am so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way since I first became a Creative Memories Consultant back in 1994. My life has been enriched by scrapbooking, and I look forward to documenting many, many more joyous jaunts and fantastic adventures.
Until next time!