Please forgive me for not posting sooner. As soon as I returned home to North Carolina from my 10 day Wisconsin road trip I jumped right back into loading and firing another kiln. Two days after the 18 hour trip, I started helping my friend Lara O'Keefe load her kiln out in Pittsboro.
I drove 2,180 miles to fire 65 pots in Joe and Christy Cole's kiln. Those of you that know me know that I'm not afraid to get behind the wheel in the name of pottery. I did several commutes to and from Penland during my 8 week concentration there. I also drove 3 days a week for over a year to Seagrove to work with Joe at Dover pottery (an hour and a half drive one way). In my mind, it's worth it. To learn something that you can't find close to home. It's a little extra time and energy, but well worth it in the end. Also, I wasn't just firing pottery, I got to hang out with my friends that I haven't seen in a long time. That part was great, we picked up where we left off. It was like no time had passed.
Fortuitously, I started my drive in time to enjoy driving through West Virginia during daylight. I always forget how beautiful it is there, in my head I started planning a rafting trip for the summer. I rafted the New and Gauley rivers a few years ago and it was one of my favorite vacations. I've also been to West Virginia in winter to ski. I didn't enjoy skiing so much, maybe if I had tried it before the age of 5 (when you develop fear of falling). Also don't try skiing for the first time with a bunch of Canadians, they only gave me 5 minutes on the bunny slopes. Not fair.
Nightfall approached as I was driving through Kentucky. I did see more of it on the trip back. Beautiful farms with the greenest grass. I also relished the bridge in Louisville while crossing the Ohio River. On the way home while crossing the bridge I viewed part of the Thunder Air Show for free.
I headed west toward Indianapolis, drove on the Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds Highway. I only heard 3 John Mellencamp songs on the radio before stopping for the night in Lafayette, IN (go Purdue Boilers).
I left early the next morning and headed northwest toward Chicago. I was anticipating "toward Chicago". As I approached I could see all the tall buildings in the distance. I thought to myself, "that's cool, really close to Chicago". As I drove the buildings kept getting closer and larger. This is when Double T and Double J had words. Bad words.
Double T, is my GPS (short for Tom Tom). I bought a GPS, for this trip. I figured I needed it since I was on my own. I didn't want to be holding up 15 pages of maps while driving and this GPS speaks the directions out loud. Also Steven's band can use it when they play shows outside the Triangle. A good idea anyway.
With 18 hours of directions, it's hard to see where you will be at hour 15. And let's be honest, I didn't read the entire instruction packet. Maybe there was a way to foresee the CENTER OF CHICAGO, but I was unaware. Unaware until I passed under Michigan Ave and by Cellular Field, the home of the White Sox. Next was Sears Tower, and O'Hare Airport. I swear something was on fire in the field outside the airport. I couldn't spend much time on that though since I was driving through the CENTER OF CHICAGO. Eventually I said peace out to Oprah and Chicago while Double T guided me out of the city. Double T owes me $10 in tolls and about 6 months off the end of my life. Technology.
After lunch near Chicago (where they apparently they have never heard of yellow mustard), I headed toward Madison. Wisconsin was an enjoyable site as well. The unique barns and dairy farms kept me entertained during this leg of the trip. Soon after Madison I arrived safely in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I got there in time to help clean out the first chamber of the kiln and kiln wash the floors to combat the random and unwanted foaming brick issues from Joe and Christy's first firing.