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Published: August 5th 2016
I've made it back home now, after driving over 4500 miles in the past 19 days. I enjoyed the slower pace of the past 48 hours. Once I got to the Cincinnati Reds game on Tuesday night, the trip really became a leisurely affair. Isn't that how vacation should be? I guess we tend to try and pack as much into our off-time as we can, and sometimes that makes us even more exhausted than when we left. I was glad to have the time over the final two days of my trip to wind down and feel a bit more relaxed. Now that I'm back in Athens, I have a lock-in with the youth group tomorrow night from 6PM-8AM and then have to be on call for Sunday School the next day at church. So I'm even more grateful for the chance to slow down and be more intentionally restful for a couple of days before all that. But most of all, I'm grateful for the chance to reconnect with some friends on the ride home. I hadn't seen a familiar face in about 2 weeks, and I'm always amazed at how much more enjoyable that can be when you
don't have it anymore. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose.
Just a quick recap of my final 2 days on the trip:
I stopped by Union Terminal in Cincinnati before crossing the Mason-Dixon Line. It's art deco and I've been wanting to see it for a while. They've turned it into a museum, but there was so much construction going on around it, I couldn't get very close (at least I couldn't find a way to get any closer than I got). It was beautiful.
Next was lunch in Lexington with Andrew, a former camper-kid from the summer camps we take our youth group to every summer - Passport. He's not from my town, but we always seemed to end up there the same week every summer. He was on staff this year, so we got to know each other better, as always. He's a sophomore at the University of Kentucky now, and I figured I'd stop by for lunch. He suggested a place called Ramsey's, a local favorite known for their southern food. I was not disappointed - the country-fried steak was perfect, and so was the sweet tea and all the fixings. Yum.
My final stop on Wednesday was Middlesboro, KY, where my friends Kristy and Zach reside. They were kind enough to allow me to sleep in their guest bedroom. It was good to catch up with them, watch some Gilmore Girls
and the best Stephen Colbert bits from his coverage of the political conventions (I was thankfully out of the country for a good bit of all that, so I missed the fun). Since it was Wednesday night, I got to meet some of the youth group that Kristy now works with and even got to sing with the church choir, which sounded very good despite sight-reading most of the music. On my way out of town the next morning, I stopped by Lincoln Memorial University, where Kristy works, to say my good-byes and get a cheesy picture together.
My lunch plans were for Knoxville, where I had arranged to meet some high-school kids from the local church at McDonald's. I went to seminary with their entire church staff, which is really quite extraordinary when I think about it. Anyway, after a short delay, we enjoyed our greasy food and had a few laughs before I moved along. The
car trip back to Georgia was uneventful. I even managed to avoid most of the Atlanta traffic (though I hadn't intended on going through there, the GPS said it would be quicker since most of the 'rush hours' would be over by the time I hit it). And now here I am. Excited to sleep in my own bed, pillowtop and all. And not wake up at ungodly hours because the sun is already up. True blackout curtains are one of my favorite inventions ever.
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