The drive out was a lot greener and a bit more interesting than the last few times we've been; not only has it been a very wet year, we're usually heading out there more in the winter. We saw a lot of sorghum that was an interesting red-brown color.
We left around 11, which got us there right around 6 pm. Grabbed a salad for lunch in Byers, switched drivers in St. Francis, just over the Kansas state line, and gassed up in Atwood. (The distance to St. Francis is now "half a Pamble-get", since we drove there and back to meet my parents and pick up Mr. Panthro-kitty, who is sometimes "the Pamble".)
They had us stay in the fifth-wheel, which was quite comfortable at this time of year. (It can get a little chilly in the winter.) We opened the windows and ran the fan the first night, and that worked pretty well, except that the hose for my APAP kept collecting water and waking me up. (Probably because I had the humidity turned all the way up for arid Colorado, and it was way too much for Nebraska; I turned it down to 2 on Saturday night, and that worked a lot better, although it also ran out of water.) The second night, we cooled the fifth-wheel down in the afternoon with the AC, then kept everything closed up because a big front moved through and it rained a fair chunk of the night, and we both slept better.
It was a pretty low-key visit with a lot of down-time. We went for a walk with Mom & Squirt and saw all the progress they've made on renovating the former restaurant into a bunkhouse for visiting hunters. Helped Mom pick tomatoes and thin out the plants; Jerry got a great picture of a big ol' bumblebee harvesting nectar from an artichoke thistle. Took down the birdhouse on a big pole and helped cover up the boat and a bunch of sacks of cement in the back of Larry's truck. Sunday morning we helped move a big refrigerator from the bunkhouse back to the house, to be swapped later with one of the smaller fridges.
We drove down to the lake and had a look at how far up the water still is. A lot of campground and boat dock stuff got flooded this summer, and the water came all the way up to the road on the bridge (and was still way up when we drove over it), although the lake was only at 25% of full flood-prevention capacity.
The building across from the bunkhouse has partially collapsed. You wouldn't think a big solid brick building would be vulnerable to just falling down, but the mortar erodes over time, allowing things to shift around, and then wind comes along and puts stress on the whole strucuture, and the bricks start to fracture, and then a big chunk of wall comes down.
Mostly we just hung out and chatted about nothing of much consequence. We showed them our honeymoon pictures. Paid lots of attention to the cats and the dog: Toodle is a sweet boy who loves scritches, Bobbi is soft and affectionate until she gets fed up, Squeaker is still too spooky about strange humans to do more than scurry across the room, and of course Squirt was very excited to see us.
We took Hanshin Tigers t-shirts and a bunch of ice-dyed handkerchiefs; Mom sent us home with a bunch of tomatoes, a salad grabber, frozen ground beef, the diet peach soda and ginger ale she didn't like, some jars of jam, a bunch of chai teabags, and a carpet cleaner. We managed to avoid bringing home the strange gilded cat statue a 6-year-old huckster at an auction sold her. (6yo: "What would you like to buy? How about this?" Mom: "No thank you, we already have three cats at home." 6yo: "Well, the more the merrier!" Mom: "I guess I'm buying a weird cat statue.")
We took off after lunch on Sunday and got home at 6-ish. The I-70 mess was mostly cleared up by the time we were passing up, so we only had to endure a few minutes of slow-down. We got home in plenty of time to unpack, go grocery shopping, refuel and wash the bugs off the car, reassure our kitties that we were in fact home now, and get some relaxation before bedtime. It was a nice trip.