“Take care, kid”, he says. Worry wrinkles crease between his eyes.

“I’ll try”, I answer and walk out of the gas bar.

It makes me feel little.

I’m the girl covered in grease, pulled up at the rest station with the car hood up, clothes sticking to her back, and yes, that is a tattooed biker helping her diagnose that strange noise under the front axle.

He had a nice tattooed wife, although at that point I wouldn’t have cared if he was alone, wore an eye patch, and carried a 44 mag, as long as he offered to help.

In the last 50 days I’ve driven over 180 hours—70 of those hours alone.

In reality, I only suffered two significant breakdowns, at least car related, which is almost a lifetime record.

I guess God isn’t really calling me to be a mechanic, or marry one, like I had begun to suspect.

50 days ago I was leaving Slate Falls, while the rain filled the potholes, and I prayed to make it out without getting stuck.

Since then I managed to graduate, feel the Mississippi heat, sip sweet tea in Virginia, canoe the Ontario wilds, stick my toes in the pacific, and hike the Idaho Mountains.

Possibly I’ve been home a total of 14 days. I’m not exactly sure.

Now, 50 days later, I am packing again for Slate Falls. (yes, indeed)

This time for at least 6 months.

Guess what?

The emotions in the last 50 days are even more varied. (no, duh)

Guess what else?

I think that is okay.

This month has been insane with learning to love all the ups and downs and “yes, Lords”.

 More than anything I want to be dramatic in my determination to grow, even if it means loosing all the answers and the things I protect myself with.

And if God takes that to mean leaving me stranded on the road by myself or calling me to work in the far, cold north for a while, than so be it.

If that didn’t make any sense, just leave it.

I tried to quit coffee cold turkey yesterday and this morning woke up to realize the great stupidity of such a thing, translated into subtitles by a throbbing headache.

So much for all my haughty snides about coffee addicts.

Next thing you know I’ll have to wean myself down to one energy drink a day, sipped while laying in a tanning bed and reading Karen Kingsbury.

All’s fair in Love and Loud Opinions.