50) Amarillo, Texas

These are the tears of things, and the stuff of our mortality cuts us to the heart.                 Virgil

December 22nd           1:30 pm

What promised to be a relaxing voyage across the Pacific Ocean, to be followed by a leisurely trek back towards the ranch, has been anything but.  It’s been a difficult 2 weeks.  Since most of you reading this are family, you will already know at least part of the story, so I’ll bring the rest of you folks up to speed. 

 About 5 days after leaving Tahiti on the Cap Capricorn bound for Oakland, the final leg of my Pacific crossing, my 86 year-old father took sick and began fading rapidly. When I left home back in May he was still driving and living on his own, but while I was away he had moved to assisted living, and then into the nursing home.  All of this under the loving and capable care and supervision of my brother Pat, and my wife Sandy, for whom I give thanks.

Since June, as his condition has progressed, I’ve been prepared to interrupt this trip to fly home if Dad’s situation warranted it. But when his situation did indeed warrant it, I found myself caught in the middle of an ocean, with 8 days to go before I could reach shore, and an airport. He held on far a few more days, then died 3 days before I reached California. I was fortunate to have access to emails during this period, but no phones or texts or any other communication was possible.

 The Cap Capricorn was to make port in Oakland on Wednesday afternoon, and I had made an 11:35 pm reservation to take a Greyhound bus from Oakland to Los Angeles to Texas, to be back just in time for the funeral on Saturday, May 23rd. Again, I have been prepared to fly if I can’t make the ground transportation work out, but while there is still a chance of completing my circumnavigation without getting on an airplane, I have proceeded with bullheaded, and probably selfish determination.  It hasn’t gone exactly as planned.

 As has been typical of container ship schedules, our Wednesday afternoon arrival was delayed and delayed until I was genuinely concerned that I would not make that late-night bus on time.  But I finally got off the ship Wednesday evening and arrived at the bus station Wednesday night, with a couple of hours to spare before departure. I guess any Greyhound Bus Station is a weird place to be late at night, but I suspect that’s especially true in Oakland, California.  You join a unique slice of humanity that you don’t get to hang with every day.

 The late night bus from Oakland was to arrive to Los Angeles at 7 am Thursday morning, where I would transfer to the 8 am bus headed for Texas.  But the bus never arrived in Oakland. They finally got another bus to the station 2+ hours late.  We departed Oakland at 2 am. After a 7+ hour bus ride, we arrived to L.A. after 9 am.  I had missed the bus for Dallas.

 My final overland option was to arrange a one-way rental on a car.  I took an Uber from the Los Angeles Greyhound station to LAX where I picked up the rent car Thursday morning at 10:30 am and headed east, with exactly 48 hours remaining before the funeral in Whitney, Texas.

 So, I drove 10+ hours on Thursday, stopping in Winslow, Arizona for about 5 hours of sleep, and then drove for another 8+ hours on Friday to Amarillo.  That’s where I am now. I’ve just dropped the car at the airport return in Amarillo, Texas and I’ll shortly be picked up by my son and his family, who are passing through here from Colorado on their way to the funeral in Whitney, and to Christmas, which has now been relocated to the Gap Creek Ranch. I’ll hitch a ride with them for the remainder of the drive to the ranch.

OK I’m gonna stop writing now, cause I’m pretty tired. Its 1:30 pm, we should get to the ranch around 8 pm tonight. I’ll get around to posting this later.

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