So I made it home after 1300+ miles and 26.5 hours of driving. But what have we learned, Charlie Brown?
1. Gas early, gas often… This one is really a no-brainer, but I obviously failed this one, almost a little more spectacularly than might be a good thing. I did just fine on the way out, but the way back? Meh…
2. Deeper weather research… To be fair, when this was first planned, it was supposed to be to a different region of the state. That said, almost every trip I’ve taken thus far has been plagued by rain. Of course, if I pick a weekend two weeks out or more, I can’t predict what the weather will be like. But I can monitor as it gets closer and possibly change routes based on it. Maybe I can finally avoid all this rain I’ve been writing about. Then again, my old friend might need some use…
3. I’ve hamstrung myself… I didn’t realize how difficult I’ve made this challenge for myself. About a month ago, a couple of caching buddies did 40 counties in one weekend. I can’t do this because, with my side focus of visiting county courthouses, I have to take some time in every town instead of grabbing any cache in the county and then heading on. And in a big city? I lose tons of time getting to the center. Further, I’m restricted to daylight hours. I can’t exactly photograph at night, can I? These short winter days have really slowed me down. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m looking forward to summer’s return from a caching perspective.
4. Content Generation… I’m not a natural photographer. I don’t even take pictures of things in real life unless my daughters goad me to do so or there is a good reason. I’m visiting all these places and I should be taking more photographs of them. What’s the point of all this if I’m not documenting it? Besides, how else am I going to keep my adoring fans sated?
5. Keep my passport close… There are several places on the border that I’m going to visit. No reason not to pop across. Del Rio, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Brownsville and others… I hear there are some reverse caches in Laredo that are pretty cool. Yes, it’s a distraction from the greater mission, but I think it’s worth it.
All this said, most things went right. Sure, mistakes were made, but a lot of miles were traveled and a decent amount of caching done. Some of you might think that I didn’t get all that many. Then again you may not realize how big Texas really is. You can drive 4 hours away from Austin in any direction and still be in Texas, except for the two and a half hours to the Gulf of Mexico. And when you get into West Texas, it’s big flat country except when it’s not. The movies don’t entirely do it justice.
Eleven counties taken care of, another country visited, and I only have exactly 200 counties left to visit. I look forward fondly to it. I even dream of being back on the road. But home has its allures, too. And, for now, this Journey to the West is concluded.