Tuesday, 4/3/01 - Fallingwater, Webgrrls and Barnes and Noble
Took an early morning bike ride around the campground and realized after two hills that I was in the worst shape of my life. Panting, gasping, moaning and groaning. Still feeling out of sorts, back on the road, mixed up and anxious. Not the flowing, cool, calm and mellow self that I was the first time around. Not yet.
Made a reservation for a 12:30pm tour of Fallingwater and the drive took far longer than I had expected. Tore down the windy, hilly country roads like an RV out of hell until I finally stopped myself and asked "what the heck am I doing?" Then I called Fallingwater and said I'd be running late. They said not to worry, I could join the next tour. Problem solved. Human pace restored.
As always, being in a Frank Lloyd Wright space was otherworldly and spiritual. I was close to tears half the time, soaking up the immense power of genius, beauty, nature and awe-inspiring architectural miracles.
For those who are just joining us, my RVers "THEME" is visiting Frank Lloyd Wright buildings along my travels. In mid-May, I'll be back in Illinois and Wisconsin which are FllW mecca states. Recently, I was able to stop by to see the college in central Florida that he designed. Incredible.
After the tour, I had a quick lunch from the Fallingwater cafe and then headed for Kentuck Knob, another residence designed by FllW. Windy roads, engine-straining hills. Then I saw a sign that warned motorhomes and trucks to take an alternate route due to very steep grades. I realized that I wouldn't be seeing Kentuck Knob this time around. Both the Apache and my nerves weren't up to it.
I didn't have my "RV legs" yet. I wasn't feeling 100%. I was soft, mixed up and a little bit anxious. So I turned around and headed back to the Turnpike. It was time to get back to downtown Pittsburgh for the Webgrrls evening event. Of course, I chickened out about driving back into downtown and Diane, the local Webgrrls chapter leader, was kind enough to pick me up from the parking lot of the Barnes and Noble where I was scheduled to appear later that evening.
On the way there, I was paying a toll and asked the man in the tollbooth how to get to..."Don't interrupt me!" he barked.
Oh, that's right. People in Pittsburgh are rude. I forgot. I sat quietly in the RV as he cursed under his breath and recounted the change. "What?" he demanded.
I politely asked him for directions, and he basically waved and said "That way." Then I meekly asked for a receipt.
"If you'd just be patient!" he scolded, thrusting the receipt into my hand.
In a fit of insanity, I turned to him with glassy-eyed sweetness and said in a sing-song voice, "Have some patience and a wonderful, beautiful evening." Then I drove away.
The Webgrrls event was great - lots of enthusiastic, interesting women, good food and a nice pint of beer. A photographer from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette was snapping photos and everyone was super nice. Unfortunately, I had to rush out to make my bookstore appearance.
Got to Barnes and Noble about 10 minutes late. The manager said that four or five people had been sitting and waiting but they had all left. Diane hung out with me and we ended up giving personalized career advice to the lone woman who remained.
Life on the road is funny. It can be disorienting, thrilling, frightening and inspiring, all at once. Promoting my book as part of my road trip has been a mixed idea. Part of me feels angry and frustrated that I'm planning my trip too rigidly. Part of me feels that I'm not doing enough. Most of me longs for the summertime, when I can just drive around, hang out and write. In the meanwhile, I have a killer schedule for April that I must get through. Mellow. Mellow. Mellow.