#HOGWild18: Day 3 – Memphis to Knoxville, Tennessee

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The alarm went off this morning at 8:30. I pretended I didn’t hear it. I was exhausted after our day-long ride the previous day, plus all of the anniversary-ing. Scott really knows how to party.

I was dreading today’s ride because I knew it was going to be a long one. And the temperature was just shy of Satan’s armpit. Needless to say, we spent a little extra time in prayer this morning before heading out. You can see from the picture below that it helped immensely.

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That’s Scott’s, “How do I get out of this?” face. Don’t worry. He figured it out, and we loaded up the bike and prepared to make the long trip to Knoxville. We made this video. I still wasn’t quite awake.

 

As I’m prone to do, I like to have a plan for the day. Before we were struck down with contractors and sickness, I had the most beautiful schedule ever created. I had routes mapped and hotels booked. I was still able to use some of my hard work, but I’ve had to make a plan on the fly the last few days.

The first leg of the journey took us to Shiloh Battlefield National Park. Once we got off the highway and into the park area, there was a nice breeze and ample cloud cover. I said a lot of, “Thank you, Jesus,” when those clouds came over. Because it was hot.

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We made our way toward the visitor’s center so I could reprogram the GPS to take us to our next destination. When we got off the bike, I noticed the cemetery just across the way from us. I decided it was worth a picture since we’re sharing our adventures with you. Scott told me he wasn’t waiting.

So of course I walked across the parking lot and down a little slope to take this picture.

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It took less than two minutes, but when I returned to the parking lot, the sound of the motorcycle was already in the distance. One of us thought that was hilarious. I was not the one.

Because I’m not a dummy, I went into the air conditioned Visitor’s Center and waited for Scott’s return. You’ll be glad to know he did return, but what he didn’t realize was that he’d re-started the GPS I’d programmed for our next destination.

An hour-and-a-half later, I realized that something wasn’t quite right with our location, but by then it was too late to turn around and make it to our next stop. I’ll confess I was aggravated, hot, and hangry (because it was after 2:00 and we’d not had anything but water all day).

Fortunately, Scott read the signals very clearly and found a McDonald’s stat.

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This is a picture of Scott AFTER we ate. We were both in much better moods.

We made an executive decision to just get to Knoxville as quickly as we could, and abandon any and all backroads and scenery the rest of the way. So we set out on the remaining four-and-a-half hour trip.

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(After I had my Big-Mac the clouds came again and the temperatures cooled, so the smile came a little easier).

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It was a gorgeous ride, but there was nothing better than finally seeing the Knoxville skyline. We’ve both been to Knoxville before, but I somehow missed the fact that they have a mini Reunion Tower. (For those of you who aren’t from Dallas, it’s the big ball in the Dallas Skyline)

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We checked into the hotel, showered, and went down to the restaurant to grab a bite to eat (and have dessert). Scott took a picture of both of us together in the elevator, but I didn’t look good in it, so I vetoed posting it for this blog.

The next couple of days we’ve got some more laid back mountain rides ahead of us as we head into Asheville, North Carolina. The important thing is we get to sleep late in the morning, so don’t text us early, okay?

Until Tomorrow,

Leah and Scott

 

#HOGWild18 – Motorcycle Cross Country Adventure Starts Soon

Hi All,

We’ve put some fantastic miles on the bike since our cross-country adventure last year. It was such an amazing experience that we’re doing it again. Except time we’ll be heading east from Dallas.

When I think back to just a year ago, Leah & I were so excited and nervous about doing this. We asked for and were blessed with so many suggestions about what to pack that I think we incorporated them all. It was a big list and we probably looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.

We feel so much more ready this time around. The big lesson was that it wasn’t about the technology or the gadgets. It was about the road. As each day passed last year, we became unconnected to the world, and closer to God and each other.

Come along this year and we’ll try our best to post after each day’s adventure. We had a ball taking turns sharing each other’s perspective on alternating days. Sign up or click to follow the blog, and check us out at Marriage Matters while you’re in the Like clicking mood.

We’re praying for a similar experience this year. We’re also packing fewer miles into most days so we can spend more time enjoying the locations and meet up with friends along the way. There might even be a Harry Connick, Jr. concert along the way. If you’re along the route, let’s connect if possible.

We’ll be heading toward different terrain than last year, so if you have good advice or experience, we’d love to hear about it. We’re connecting with friends from our church’s small group. It’s a married group of motorcycle enthusiasts from Gateway Church. They’re introducing us to cool places like the Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap, TN and Blue Ridge Parkway, so please pitch in suggestions about these and more.

Here’s a tentative schedule. Let us know if you’re on the route. We head out for June

God bless you,

Scott & Leah

Check It Out:

Dallas to Hot Springs, AK

Hot Springs to Memphis, TN

Memphis to Nashville,TN

Nashville to Fort Knox, KY

Fort Knox to Lexington

Lexington to Charleston WV

Charleston, WV Seneca Rocks, WV

Seneca Rocks, WV to Skyline Drive VA (Shenandaoh Nat Park and Blue Ridge Pkwy)

Blue Ridge Pkwy to Washington Nat Forest to Beech Mountain to Cary, NC

Cary, NC to Asheville

Asheville to Charlotte

Charlotte to Bryson City to Chimney Rock to Blackberry Farm

Tellico Plains to Memphis, TN

Memphis to Monroe, LA

Monroe to Dallas

Give us a LIKE if you enjoyed – #HOGWild18 – Motorcycle Cross Country Adventure Starts Soon

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Piney Woods of Texas – Day 2

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It’s day 2 of the ride with our small group at Gateway Church, and kickstands were up at 8:30 this morning. We showered last night, and I went to bed at 8:45pm. Our alarm went off at 7:30am and we still hit snooze three times.

As most of you know, Scott and I don’t keep regular hours. We’re usually going to bed about the time normal people are waking up to start their work day. But it works for us, and we get more work done with that schedule, so we’ve stopped trying to be “normal.”

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Anyway, we said a quick prayer, threw on some clothes, and were in the parking lot by 8:15. As you can tell by the picture above, it was another scorcher of a day. Scott is full of all kinds of interesting tan lines.

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It was a gorgeous ride to Palestine, which was our first stop of the day. The roads were winding and tree-canopied. Unfortunately, I missed some really good photo opportunities, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you about them. The first photo I missed was of a dog jumping on a trampoline. Trust me, it was awesome. Scott and I both saw it at the same time and laughed hysterically.

The second picture I missed was one of the historic cemeteries we passed. There was a big banner sign stretched across the gothic iron gates that said “Homecoming Party, October 2nd.” Scott was like, “I ain’t going to that party.” I also found this hilarious.

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We stopped in Crockett, TX for lunch at Arnold’s Bar-b-que. I forgot to take any pictures of it or the delicious brisket I had, so I thought I’d post a picture of these cows instead, since it’s generally the same thing. There are a lot of cows in this part of Texas.

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We stopped for gas along the way, and Scott took about a billion selfies on my phone. Are y’all as surprised as I am that his beard still fits in his helmet? Seriously, it’s going to take forever to delete all those selfies.

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We got back on the bike and it was still hot. But the ride was amazing. Truly a beautiful part of the state. We did a big loop for another couple of hours, and I missed a great picture of a man in a horse drawn buggy. That’s pretty much the story of the day–me missing all the good photo opportunities.

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Did I say gorgeous?

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And hot? This was the stop where I dunked my shirt in cold water and put it back on.

The hotel was a welcome sight after a nine hour outing, and the good Doctor and I headed straight for the room and a nap. Which means he took a nap, and I thought about napping, because I’m not a good napper. And then we showered and put on clothes that weren’t covered in road grime so we could head to dinner.

I’ll admit that the food has been outstanding on this trip. Y’all know we pretty much live to eat. I’m glad I brought only stretchy pants.

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Dinner was at Clear Springs Cafe in Nacogdoches, TX, and I had chicken fried ribeye. Yes, you read that right. It was life-changing. I also had peach cobbler. Scott had cheesecake like usual. The company and conversation was as good as the food.

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to posting this and going to sleep. We have another 8:30 kickstands up in the morning. This trip has been so much fun and has been such a blessing. We prayed for a group to get involved with and get close to, and God gave us this one. It’s been awesome.

Scott’s up for the next post (we’re heading to Louisiana), so we’ll catch you tomorrow!

Leah

#HOGWild17: Day 8 – Great Falls, Montana

Huh?

It’s day 8! I think.

I don’t know what time it was when we got up this morning, but the sun was pretty high up in the sky. it’s all blurry in my memory, but I know I slept like a baby and Scott’s lip was swollen when I woke up. Sometimes these things happen. Also, this is my blog post so I can retell the day how I want to.

Once we’d prayed, showered, dressed, and taken full advantage of late checkout, we headed to Beartooth Harley-Davidson. I have to say, this might be my favorite HD yet. Before Scott tells you I “shopped” again, I’ll confess that I bought a couple of shirts. But so did he, so I’m not taking the heat all by myself!

 

Bears Everywhere

Beartooth HD was filled with bears. Scott was scared of the big one and wouldn’t stand too close.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping at HD was pretty taxing, and since it was past lunchtime at this point, we mosied down the street to the Cracker Barrel. Yes, the same Cracker Barrel we ate at last night. There’s only two in the whole state of Montana, so we wanted to take advantage.

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I saw this sexy man on my way into the Cracker Barrel and he bought me a meatloaf lunch, so I’d say I started the day off “winning.” Also, I’m digging the cut-off shirt. It reminds me of The Outsiders. What do you think?

The meatloaf really was delicious.

Montana is really big. And really hot. Like…super hot. We left Texas thinking we’d come north and spend a cool month of July cruising the highways. Well…we’re cruising. But today it was 106 degrees, so we haven’t experienced cool yet. Montana is gorgeous. And the roads are long. There are stretches of hundreds of miles with nothing but highway and hay bales.

But there’s a reason they call it Big Sky. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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Also, the wind was brutal. At one of our gas station stops to refuel and guzzle some water, Scott had to hold down my hair so we could take a selfie. It didn’t work.

I think motorcycle living has changed us. We’re not sure what day it is or where we are most of the time. Scott and his jeans are one with the road, and my headbands are covering growing gray roots. Our bodies are patchwork quilts of various and unusual tan lines. But the journey has been incredible as we approach the middle half of our trip.

We got to Great Falls, Montana late in the afternoon and were greeted with this beautiful sight.

By the time we got to the hotel, we were hot and thirsty. I think Scott is planning something nefarious in this picture. We talked about putting on our swimsuits and getting into the pool to cool off, but we ended up facetiming the kids. Then Scott decided to work out because he’s an overachiever, and I decided to lay on the bed in my underwear and eat Bugles because I’m on vacation.

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We eventually drummed up enough energy to head to dinner. The lady at the front desk recommended a place called Jakers Bar & Grill. It was delicious. And I could’ve eaten a dozen of their rolls by myself.

This is what greeted us on the way back to the hotel.

The entire day can be summed up in one word…gorgeous. This country is so beautiful, and we’re so blessed to see God’s creation and meet some incredible people who are on journeys of their own.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Whitefish to stay for a couple of days and rest up, and also meet with our friends John and Kristen. We’re looking forward to beautiful scenery and great company.

See you tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

#HOGWild17: Day 5 – Rapid City, South Dakota

Can I say one thing about today’s ride? It was hot. I mean really hot. Actually, it was hotter than hot. I told Leah once we settled in for the night that had she told me it was 103, I’d might have stayed in Sioux Falls,

Instead, we clipped over 600 miles along the open South Dakota plains. But before we headed out for the Badlands, we made two quick stops in SFalls.

Oh, and yes, we did pull off a Badlands #PromPic. Let’s see your locational #PromPic

You have to visit the local Harley shops, so we rode over to J&L Harley Davidson and picked up a few shirts. Of course there’s zero room for extras but that didn’t stop Fancy Pants.

Now, some folks might think it’s weird, but Leah and I both fell in love with the Duluth Trading Company. She’d bought me a pair of their rooster booster underwear for Christmas as a joke. It was no joke. They are incredible. Now, it’s about all I trust my rooster to.

We found a store and just had to pay them a visit. I guess we felt like they’d recognize us from our purchases, or our cool undies. Instead we met a few great staff who we enjoyed talking to. They said to tag the Duluth Trading Company’s blog and say we met Jim and Dale.

Hear that Duluth blog? We kicked it with Jim and Dale in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They also said a store was coming to Texas (Please consider Dallas.)

So after Fancy Pants bought even more clothes and shoved them on top of the other stuff there was no room for, we headed out across rugged, but beautiful terrain.

This is our Facebook live broadcast from the Badlands. My beard is longer than the hair on my head. It’s out of control, but I’m not touching either until we get back to Dallas.

We met a guy from Iowa who was driving his teenaged daughter back to the Badlands area. They’d already run over 400 miles and still had a few hundred to go. Poor kid was red faced but looked like she couldn’t be happier than hanging onto daddy.

A few days ago, Leah said how she loved meeting folks on bikes because everyone was on a journey. Most enjoy sharing their stories. I’d love to know they made it home okay.

We were determined to make it to the Badlands National Park before the evening. I didn’t know much about the area other than always having heard the term badlands. It always made it seem so intimidating. I can tell you that after exploring the area, it actually is very intimidating and beautiful.

We’d stop at lookout points, and you’d feel the tug at your spirit, but without the ability to express it in words. I think I said, Wow about a thousand times. I felt sorry for the folks in cars (other than having AC) because the motorcycle allowed us to experience it so much more intimately.

We even came to a halt as what looked like goats or rams stood in the road to graze on the shoulder. They were beautiful, and it was easy to identify the mom and babies and then the big daddy who walked up. I guess he was making sure our Harley Davidson wasn’t some sort of alpha animal.

Once I was sure, he wasn’t going to pull Leah off the bike and eat her, I cruised on past them. It was so cool being that close. About a mile up the way, we stopped again for a single deer. It too, was close enough to touch, but Leah decided to yell, “Haya.” Why, I do not know.

Okay, I’m going to give you a marketing tip. Stop wasting your time and money on that interweb thing. Instead, do as Wall Drug has done for decades and string hundreds of billboards over thousands of miles. You don’t even need wifi or internet service. Just a few poles in the dirt and a funny slogan on paper.

After the Badlands, we were obsessed with visiting Wall Drug. It was like a moth’s flame. It’s all we could think about thanks to those old school billboards. We both love them. They remind me of family vacations as a kid. They were so exciting to read.

After supper there, we zipped over to Rapid City for the night. We’re resting up for a giant day at Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park. I’m so excited to see Rushmore. It’s captivated me my entire life and I’m less than 12 hours from realizing that dream. I doubt I’ll sleep.

We’re going to get some rest after mashing a monster day on the bike. My longest day ride was 525 miles, so when we clipped 600 miles, I was happy to tell Leah we’d broken a PR. She wasn’t so excited. She’s more focused on prepping for the next day. I’m not in any big rush to break that personal record either.

Well, please keep us in your prayers for continued safe travels.

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild17: Day 4 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Happy Independence Day!

Whew! We got a super late start to the day due to the fact that Day 3 wore us out. I tried to wake Scott up in time to see the sunrise, but he grumbled something impolite and rolled back over. In a show of solidarity, I went back to sleep too.

My favorite times with Scott are just after we go to bed, and when we wake up in the mornings. This is when we talk about anything and everything. It might take twenty minutes or it might take hours.

There has been many a night when we’ve fallen asleep mid-sentence just before the sun is about to rise. All I know is that by the time we got out of bed this morning, it was noon. And by the time we showered and managed to drag our tired selves down to the bike, it was after one. Thank goodness for late checkout.

Since it’s July 4th, we dressed appropriately in our America shirts. I also accessorized with a red bedazzled headband and my favorite red lipstick.

Hangry

Now, those of you who have followed us for a few years know that I need to be fed at regular intervals. I get what’s universally known as “hangry.” Did I mention we were in Iowa and there’s not a whole lot going on for long stretches of time?

Fortunately, Scott had to stop for gas, and I think the Lord must have told him where to exit off the highway because there was an Arby’s right next door. When Scott prayed for us to have a safe day of travels during our morning prayer time, God understood it wasn’t just the motorcycle ride we needed safety for.

With full bellies, we begrudgingly left the air-conditioned restaurant and back out into the heat. Now, we’re from Texas, so this isn’t really “heat,” but the heat still works on you after you’re on the bike for a while. After pushing an all day ride yesterday, we made a smart choice in making the one today quite a bit shorter.

The Border

Before we knew it, we’d crossed the border from Iowa into South Dakota and were met with rolling hills, endless green fields, and blue skies. We listened to Johnny Cash, and I got four new book ideas sitting on the back of the bike and watching the clouds go by.

Something else we found particularly exciting about South Dakota was the speed limit. We finally found one that kept up with our normal speed.

Our final destination for the day was Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The motorcycle alerted us that there was a Harley Davidson in Sioux Falls, so we pushed the button for the navigator to lead us in that direction. We also saw a billboard for Duluth Trading Company, which has a local store. You guys know we love Duluth. Scott particularly enjoys their Rooster Booster tagline for their men’s underwear.

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Unfortunately, the HD store and Duluth were closed for the holiday, so we’ll make a stop at both stores tomorrow before we head out. With nowhere left to go, we headed to the Springhill Suites (Yay for Marriott points!) to get settled for the evening.

I’d already been thinking about dinner at this point (see my previous statement about being fed at regular intervals), and I saw a Johnny Carino’s billboard. Italian food sounded like just the thing to hit the spot. The only trick was whether or not Scott would want to get back on the bike to go eat.

Things didn’t seem too promising when the first thing the did when we got in the room was take off his pants and lay down on the bed. In a show of solidarity, I did the same. It was hot after all. And after a short rest and Facebooking, the subject of dinner came up.

By some miracle, our legs managed to find our pant holes and we headed out to Johnny Carino’s. It was delicious. We’re still full.

This is the look of a satisfied man.

Kick Back

We’re back at the hotel, the road grime showered from our bodies, and we’re watching a special about the eighties on the TV. Tomorrow we’re heading to the Badlands, which we’ve decided sounds dangerous and intimidating.

Do we have to fight our way out? Do I need to buy brass knuckles at the Harley Davidson store? We’ll report back tomorrow in Day 5’s report.

But for now, have a safe and happy 4th of July! Scott and I are so blessed to get to see so much of this beautiful country, and at every turn we’re witnesses to God’s magnificent creation.

God bless and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

 

 

 

 

 

#HOGWild17 Pages To Track Days: START HERE

This Is Happening

Hi All,

I’m trying to be organized. No promises though. Each day will be detailed after the day is done (obviously), so keep track and I’m hoping for an undamaged Mac and lots of wifi. In the Menu I set up #HOGWild17 with a drop down for each day.

CLICK HERE to follow the drop-down journey day by day.

This is our proposed route below. I say that because our goal was to be in bed early for a fresh morning start. It’s well after midnight and we haven’t finished packing yet. Things may (will) change along the way.

This is also our official image just above, so when you don’t see us, you will see them. They look happy don’t they? Leah picked it out. It’s not like I’m actually going to offer two pigs ripping across the roadway as the image for our travels, right! Plus, he’s got ink and she’s sporting leather.

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Proposed Route

Day 1 TX to Ouchita National Park via hwy 71 to Fort Smith / 6 hours 4 minutes

Day 2-3 Pig Trail Scenic Byway highway 23 through ozark national park to brashears to Eureka springs – 2 nights July 2-4)

Day 4 Fort Leavenworth Kansas 4.5 hours (July 4-5 fireworks at Ft Leavenworth)

Day 5-6 Lewis and Clark scenic byway to Omaha to Sioux Falls, SD

Day 6-7 Sioux Falls to Badlands to Rapid City area 5 hours

Day 7-8 Rapid City to Mount Rushmore to Deadwood 2 hours – 2 days need reservation)

Day 9 Medora, North Dakota 3.5 hours

Day 10 Lewistown, MT 4.5 hours

Day 11-13 whitefish, MT 5.2 hours (go north through Glacier)

Day 13 Butte, MT 4 hours

Day 14 Red Lodge, MT 3.5 hours

Day 15 Beartooth Hwy scenic road  WY 4 hours

Day 16 Grand Teton National Park to Rock Springs, WY 5.5 hours

Day 17 Rock Springs to Steamboat Springs 3.5 hours

Day 18 Trail Ridge Road, CO Scenic Hwy to Denver to Colorado Springs 5.5 hours

Day 19 Colorado Springs to Trinidad 1.5 hours

Day 20 Trinidad to Woodward OK 5 hours

Day 21 Woodward to Home

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Smithsonian Castle and Steve Berry: What Could Go Wrong?

Smithsonian Castle and Steve Berry: What Could Go Wrong?

In early April, 2017, Leah blessed me with a fantastic birthday gift. I love Washington DC, and although we’re friends, I’m still a big fan of author Steve Berry

All of Steve’s novels involve a lot of truth wrapped around a fictional cast. Reading his work is like a lesson in geography, world history and current affairs. If only high school had been this interesting. His latest book, The Lost Order was associated by plot with the Smithsonian Castle.

In conjunction with the book’s release, Steve held a private fundraiser for 50 people to support the Smithsonian foundation. It included an after-hours private tour of the Castle led by Steve and the curator. It also included a signed copy of the book, which I’d already pre-ordered on Audible.

Jillian, Scott, Leah, Steve and Benji

Our challenge was that we flew back from an event in Orlando the night before. We had a pre-dawn flight out of DFW and into Reagan National that was scheduled to arrive in time to catch our breath, eat, change into fancy duds and head over to the Castle. oh, and we had to fly back the next morning so I could fly to New Orleans to pick up Max.

This was the jist of our chat after about 2 hours of sleep over the last 30-something hours:

“Fly early,” she said.
“We’ll sleep when we get there,” she assured.
It’s 2:00 pm and we’re still sitting in hotel lobby waiting for our room to be cleaned.
“Don’t be grumpy,” she pleaded.
Yeah, good luck with that!
Best to make the best of it.
“Don’t push it, lady.”

4 hours spent on this plush couch at the Mandarin Oriental while waiting for our room.

We did eventually get into our suite at the fabulous Mandarin Oriental, Washington DC. It was just in time to change clothes for our event. Our friends, Benji and Jillian Stein were meeting us at the hotel right before heading over.

I wasn’t happy about having to don the dress clothes and jacket. I’d worn a uniform over the course of my 25 years law enforcement career. One of my retirement “demands” was that I’d only dress up if I absolutely had to. I guess according to Leah, I had to.

Despite the days of flying and zero sleeping, the tour was incredible. Steve led the group around the castle and would read scenes from his book that occurred at various locations within the museum. It was a cool Q&A with other fans and friends. I truly appreciated Leah making the effort to do this for me.

The funny thing was, we had just spent the week with them prior to an event in Florida. I guess I could’ve gotten the book signed then and skipped the Castle. Are you kidding me? This was one of my all-time favorite adventures.

Since we had an early flight home, it was early to bed without a chance to see much of DC. I always make it a point to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial while in town. I have 8 friends’ names who were killed in the line of duty carved in those granite walls. This trip wouldn’t allow the time.

Uncharacteristically, we Ubered out to Reagan National with time to spare. We arrived and quickly moved through the airport looking for our gate. It wasn’t to be found. We’d flown into Reagan but our departure flight was out of Dulles. Needless to say, we weren’t happy with tacking another 45 minute drive in hopes of not missing the flight home. Remember – I still had a round trip to NOLA to make!

Faces of People Leaving the Wrong Airport

I’m not sure how, but we made it to the gate in time to be whisked off and back to DFW. I was sleepy, happy with a well-worn t-shirt and of course, my signed copy from Steve.

The lessons learned are many, but the most important thing to remember is that if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. There were a thousand reasons not to go to DC, but Leah only needed one reason to go. She loves me and wanted me to have this experience. For that, I’m grateful.

Adventures involve risk, but not all of them are life-threatening. Having a good plan with lots of flexibility are keys to a fantastic experience.

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What was your last great adventure?