Home again, home again jiggity-jig

Our Southwest travel adventure has ended. We are back in the North Country in late March, the month we can expect alternating thaws and freezes, rain and snow, mud and ice.

The first night home, two inches of wet, slippery snow fell, winds increased, and the temperature dropped to 24 degrees. But all the snow melted over the next two days, and soon it will be spring.

We arrived just in time for the last snowstorm of the winter, We hope.

Why did we not delay our return until April? Perhaps next year, we will.

We arrived home late in the afternoon, backed the Scamp camping trailer onto its gravel pad, unhooked and disconnected all the links to the pickup, and went into the house to bring it back online: electricity, water, propane: everything was in good working order.

The only misery was the mice that had free run of our old, limestone foundation, log-construction farm house for the seven weeks we were away. If anyone has suggestions for this plague, please offer them. (No cats or rodent poison; those “solutions” are worse than the mice.)

The much-traveled Ranger pickup washed, waxed, and ready for the mud season.

Now, let the vehicle repairs of the trek to New Mexico begin. Camping trailers, we have learned, are not maintenance-free. Neither are pickup trucks. Three or four sand storms, three snow storms, and the bumps and thumps of 3,000-plus miles of travel to have taken their toll. Nothing major (except a microwave oven that came detached from its bracing), but much clean-up and minor tinkering.

Will we venture forth on this winter sojourn to the Southwest again? Yes, yes we will.

We saw a lot, learned a lot, experienced a lot, and had a good time. We’re even planning some summer camping trips.

And we timed our return north to Nebraska’s Platte River Valley so that we could see the sandhill crane migration. I will not even try to describe that amazing experience. You should most definitely travel there in early March to witness it yourself. Five million cranes spend a few days resting and recuperating along the Platte Valley on their migration route north from Mexico and the southwest states to Canada, Alaska, and even Siberia. The two days we were there, an estimated one million cranes were in the rowcrop fields along the valley.

An Old Coot recommendation: donate to the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center near Wood River, Nebraska, https://cranetrust.org/

We’re home, and oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home!


About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
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