DAY 46, JULY 14
(CHRIS) I went to Mass and Jon went to confession at our church. This combined with a few other factors on the 14th delayed our departure until lam. The trip to VA went fast and no Tumbleweeds had to drive. Mary Lou drove and we had a chance to nap. Good conversation and Mom's huge packed lunch made the seven hour trip seem short. We pulled into the same parking spot that we left six weeks and three days and seven hours before. 12,195 miles had gone by very quickly. We stood around the van a few minutes, camcorder running, as waves of nostalgia swept over us.
But we were also about to be hit by a wave of drool if Matt and Jon did not find their women soon. At first all we found was Ellen Story, who was worth a hug. Finally Christy was found in the offices. She asked if we were hungry and said to come up to her apartment. We were all happy to be here (especially Matt!) so we were kind of oblivious to all the clues (Mar in Rochester wanting to leave at a specific time, food at Christy's, the college looking deserted, many cars at the apartment, food waiting, etc.)
Sure enough, Christy led us to Matt Gelis' apartment and all these people jumped out of hiding and yelled, "Welcome back!" Potsie, Body, Damian, Joe Soos, Halyna, and lots of other people came to the party. There was good food and lots of interesting conversation circles to jump into. We even watched a bit of our video.
The first TUMBLEWEED departure came surprisingly fast. Jon wanted to be alone with Halyna. They said their goodbyes quickly, for they were going to Detroit in the morning. We could all tell that Jon was really impressed for only the 3rd tine on the trip, so we let him go. It was sad. The party didn't go too late because everyone there had to work in the morning. I slept at Bodoh/Soos/Portzer's cottage behind the old Fedoryka house. Sam and Matt went to Matt's new residence at Walter's. Jon was at Fedoryka's.
(CHRIS) On the morning of the 15th, I awoke to the sound of the door. Jon had come to drop off some of Sam's stuff from his car before leaving. I know he was very preoccupied with his girl, but he said that he had been thinking alot last night about the trip. (A major accomplishment considering the competition.) He just stated in the simple Jon way how incredible the trip was and that he'll never forget it. Then we shook hands and he was gone. The Tumbleweeds were no longer.
Sam finally got to see Melissa the next day, and the day after that I said goodbye to him in a parking lot in Manassas where his sister picked him up. He had finally gotten a train ticket to Louisville and would head home soon. I hadn't seen much of Matt since we got to VA, but 1 had noticed he had shaved finally. Later that night, I parted with him. That was especially nostalgic, for Matt and I had planned this all for so long. He looked content and I felt the same way.
I left for home the next morning. The four Tumbleweeds had stopped rolling and had tumbled back to their separate, stationary positions. The incredible trip of a lifetime was over. All that's left is the memories, Hopefully, those will never fade with the help of our beloved log.