GOING HOME-THE EXPERIMENT IS NEARING THE END
Note to Everyone
This is more a letter to home for my HubPages friends who have not seen me here in a few weeks. I have been very busy putting together my exit from my present home as I prepare to return to my hometown. This is taking up lots of time because there is much to be done, so much to "close" while also dealing with property in both places. the lives of those who will be deeply effected by this change and the animals I love dearly. So, my absence is a result of dealing with a huge life change...again...! I've missed everyone here and am so sorry I haven't been able to keep up with all your wonderfully fabulous writing. This story will continue over several hubs, I suspect; and will probably take a long time to write as I have so little time right now but, i wanted to 'talk to you' in this way, to let you know that I am not ignoring your beautiful creativity. Kathy
Flying Away - Leaving Home
To my friends in California and Kansas and HubPages
My latest self challenge is nearing an end..at least this leg of it! I left California in February of 2007 destined for SE Kansas in search of a new way of life, Hoping to find a part of my country which is less effected and affected by current events, a small town where people "knew each other's name," and an atmosphere condusive to a more relaxed, natural and unpretentious day to day existence. I found most of what I hoped for in Independence Kansas.
Leaving my hometown where I had built a nice, comfortable life, I felt the need to escape the ever increasing "road rage" of congested streets and highways, the rapidly expanding growth in population which caused extensive building and outgrowth of city limits into pristine countryside and a political leaning which no longer resonated with my own beliefs. Though I loved the beauty and gentile lifestyle of my native home and knowing that I'd miss it terribly, I decided to dare myself to take a chance and explore middle America; to see if I would find those things I felt were quickly disappearing in California.
Searching the internet, I found beautiful, stately homes available for a fraction of the cost I'd grown used to and thought was "normal." Large colorful homes on huge lots hosting mature shade trees of Oak, Maple and Chestnut were plentiful on website after website, along with the beautiful "redbuds" native to the area. I was amazed at the glory of the past which was everyday accepted in this part of the country. Wide streets and downtown buildings which survived the '70's "Urban Renewal" plague that spread across the country ruining many an old town; turning inner cities into ghost towns. So many of the communities I saw online still boasted thriving downtowns which offered a warm and heart stirring welcome to this part of our country, America's Heartland.
I found all this and more as I searched the demographics of several areas, watched 'virtual tour' after virtual tour of lovely homes for sale and scanned information on city databases about average temperatures and topography. While doing this, I knew I'd sorely miss the Pacific Ocean, the rolling hills and small mountains of my hometown since the area in which I felt the most drawn to consisted of plains; mostly flatlands with a very few very small mounds some might call 'hills. (later, I'd find that even these were not officially 'hill' as their length was not quite long enoug to qualify for even that small a designation!) Still, the allure was there so I scheduled a flight to Tulsa, Oklahoma flying out of Oakland, Calif. and rented a car for a week long tour of SE Kansas; Independence in particular and outlaying areas.
We flew in the first time during the fall of 2006, in October. While looking for lodging prior to our flight, I should have known that something was up because we could not find a room in any of the local motels or small hotels. (More on the reason...NEEWOLLAH...check out my hub "Neewollah is Halloween spelled backwards") Everything was booked for the very week we planned to be there. We were amazed and surprised..and in a fix! What to do and where to stay?
Again, searching the WWW, we found a remote and 'under construction' hotel touting itself as historical and with a railroad influence! Well, of course, I was interested in this one because I LOVE trains, revel in their past colored history, am excited by the hugeness and power of locomotives PLUS I've had many experiences both on passenger as well as Freight trains. There were pictures of the completed rooms with a caveat that most of the structure was being actively worked on and that there would be "dust and noise." But, because of this inconvenience, those who dared to stay would be given greatly reduced rates! The photographs of the completed areas as well as the exterior of the old brick building along with the huge stairway near the entry way with high ceilings and glorious woodwork appealed to me greatly...just the type of place I love. I used to visit a town in E. Oregon called Shaniko; an old ghost town to whcih I was deeply drawn and returned several times. I'd stay in the old corner hotel with the long, antique oak bar peopled by folks who had probably never left the area. I, for some reason, am very attracted to odd places; rarely traveled destinations which offer weird and off beat experiences. The Leatherock Hotel wasn't quite that eerie or strange but, it was vastly different from my usual overnight accomodations experiences. Hey!..this looked like a win-win in my book.
So, I considered this to be a lucky day! A fortunate find! My best friend, Al, and I gathered additional information about the Leatherock Hotel in Cherryvale, Kansas and proceeded to make reservations for our weeklong adventure. Now, Al was a little reticent about the 'under construction' part of the ad we found online but I had no fear.
"Kathy, we might run into a real mess, how do we know what it's like?"
"Oh, Al...it looks like fun and there isn't another place available, anyway."
"Yeah," he said, "but, what if....what if??"
"oh, let's do it! The price is right and you know how much I love old places and TRAINS!"
I, always being up for a challenge and dare and in love with the unexpected and unpredictable, convinced him that it would be ok and that we'd have fun!
I'd done this sort of thing before. On a motorcycle roadtrip with a friend, we'd taken a detour from the usual super highway route and chosen a road less traveled. Along the way, we came upon a small, historically significant, town called Downieville. After having camped out for several days enjoying the serenity, beauty and clean, clear rivers that intersected and flowed through the town and the 'gold rush' lore of years past, i promised myself I'd make special effort to return. Years later, I did just that and ended up buying the "Downie Cabin" formerly owned by the town's name sake, Major Downie, who was credited with founding and establishing the town years earlier. Because of this, the two story home with it's additional cabin were considered extremely important and thus, listed on the Historical Buildings register. I owned a piece of history! A beautiful one. For 12 years, I could call it my own but, sadly, never had the opportunity to live there. I visited regularly, staying in the smaller cabin while the larger home was rented. A bona fide buyer approached me about purchasing the property and, after long consideration, I decided to accept his fair offer.
What started out as easy as pie ended up the same way. A kind of 'meant to be' situation that was, yes, a "win-win."
So, with the same devil may care 'dive in head first' attitude, I urged Al that we surge forward, unafraid of the unknown and anticipating a 'however the chips may fall' trip!
We called the hotel and left a message. Soon afterward, the owner, Wayne, returned our call and said 'yes, indeed, we have the Santa Fe room open. We quickly sealed the deal and, when we hung up the phone, looked at one another in awe! We had actually made the second step in our plans. The first, of course, was securing flights to and from flying out of Oakland, Calif.
As the date for departure drew near, we became more and more excited even as we began to wonder 'what the heck are we doing?'
"Are we really going to do this?" asked Al
I met his query with the same query..."are we?" Hmmmmmm.
Packing up my life in N. Calif. was a little scary, a little more sad but very very exciting.
STAY TUNED...MORE TO COME IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS AS TIME ALLOWS!