After a marathon of travel, I'm finally back in the states. I checked into the airport in Christchurch at 1:30 PM on Monday the 10th, and arrived at my dad's place in Colorado 27 hours later. 1.5 hours of waiting, a three hour flight, a three hour layover, a twelve hour flight, a three hour layover, a three hour flight... I was exhausted.
I spent one night at my dad's place, then hit the road for Montana. I drove as far as Billings the first night, then on to Helena to pick up Conan the next day. He was SO glad to see me! I was really feeling stressed on the way up, but couldn't put my finger on the cause. I suppose I was feeling guilty for leaving him, and was slightly worried that he wouldn't remember me right away. Fortunately, he acted like I had just left him for the weekend, and he had been waiting for me the whole time. He tried to jump out of his pen when he saw me-- a big relief.
He stayed with Daisy and Roper (his parents) for the last nine months. Daisy and Roper's parents, Wayne and Judy Carlson, did a great job taking care of Conan while I was gone. He looks great. I went back to Livingston to check on my house, and the weather drove me out. It wasn't too cold (about 50F), but the wind was whipping. After just being in balmy New Zealand and Australia for the last month, I just couldn't handle it. I left springtime, and found myself in winter. Yuck.
My house looks great (the renters have taken very good care of it). I really had no more business in Livingston right now, so I decided to take Conan on an epic road trip. I drove all the way from Livingston to Cedar City, Utah in one day. We drove from CC to Wickenburg, Arizona the next. I attended one day of the Wickenburg Bluegrass Festival, which was great. I'm not a big fan of country music, but Rhonda Vincent and the Rage were epic-- they did an all-bluegrass and gospel set.
The next day I headed up to Prescott, my old stomping grounds. I lived here from 1988 to 2005. Nice to be back-- it's been three years. Staying with a friend now-- I'm going to round up some old friends tomorrow.
The weather has been amazing. About 83F for the BG festival, and about 78F today in Prescott. It is hard to beat winter weather in AZ, though that's about 10F above normal temps in mid-November. I'm glad I came down-- I still need to thaw out a little more.