Unfortunately, they do come to an end. We had such a wonderful time that it was hard to pack up and come home.
As we did on the ride out, we loaded the kids on the car at bedtime and headed out (on time this time!) at around 9:00. Rebecca picked her shift first and we pointed the car east. We headed out through Elizabeth and Kiowa in the pitch dark, riding along over the rolling hills. At the crest of one of the hills, however, Rebecca was completely freaked out to see this:
It wasn't just a steady red, but all blinking in unison across the entire horizon. we couldn't tell how far away they were or what they were... We rode on for about 30 miles, getting closer and closer before we finally figured out that they were windmills! It was so freaky to see, especially from 40+ miles away.
Once we had that figured out, we rode on through eastern Colorado and Western Kansas quite uneventfully. Right around Burlington, CO, though, we started seeing lightning way off in the distance. No big deal, just a summer thunderstorm, maybe just heat lightning. By this time, it was 11:00 and I took over driving. I drove for more than 250 miles, all the time watching the lightning dead ahead, before we reached the storm. It's just stunning that we could see the storm that far away... Once we hit it, though, it was torrential. It was raining so hard, we couldn't see and the lightning was striking within 100 yards. We pulled off the highway, got gas and stopped for coffee and food, hoping the storm would move off, but it didn't, so we pushed on. Fortunately, it didn't take long to get out the other side of the storm and it was smooth sailing on through Kansas City, St. Louis and on until we got into Nashville around 5pm.
My sister and brother-in-law were gracious enough to let us crash at their place for the night, so we saved on a hotel for that night. We ate dinner at a decent Mexican restaurant and drove around downtown Nashville for a while. Who knew a town could be so busy on a Thursday night?
After a good (but short) night's sleep, we roused the herd at 5am and headed for home. We got home around 4pm and unpacked, cleaned up, put on our cow costumes and loaded everyone right back in the car for Chick-Fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day! Not bad, getting a free dinner after such a long drive.
After almost two full weeks in Colorado, it was good to be home, though we wished we could have stayed longer. The kids have wonderful memories of fun with their friends and we couldn't ask for more than that.