The Final Flight

My great Uncle Herbert and I after lunch. This was the first time I’d met him.

As I’ve worked on the book, I’ve had the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling to visit important monuments to my family’s past and to meet relatives and friends of the family whom have kept our story alive.

The one person I hadn’t had the chance to meet, though, was my grandmother’s youngest brother, Herbert, and his family. The moved to the Pacific Northwest many years ago, and I’d never made that trip.

I almost made the trip in January 2011. I’d planned a two-week train trip through Portland with my friend Megan. Unfortunately, we were thwarted when a snow storm blasted across the Northern Plains and brought Amtrak’s train service to a halt.

In January 2011, my friend Megan and I tried to take a train across the U.S. Instead, we got trapped in Chicago.

Instead we were stranded in the Windy City for a few days, and we passed the time by visiting museums and cultural spots instead.

That wasn’t much help when it came to writing So Far Appalachia. Once I decided to pursue an independent publishing route, I knew I had to make the trip out West.

After several aborted attempts, I finally made the decision to fly (I despise flying) so I could visit Herbert, and my cousins.

Connie (Herbert’s daughter), Herbert, me, and Kiely (Connie’s daughter) taking a quick picture before I head home.

The trip couldn’t have gone any better. I’d flown into Seattle where I picked up one of my favorite former students, and we headed south to Oregon.

It took us a few days to arrange our visit with Herbert, and Kelly and I passed the time hiking some of the amazing trails in the area.

Eventually my family’s schedule lightened up, and we had the chance to spend several hours with everyone. We had a great meal, we talked about Clay County, and I had the chance to snag some of the Baker files.

As you might imagine, the visit was far too short but it was exactly what I needed. The next week, I shipped off the final book proposal and started the process of writing the actual book (instead of just this blog).

Which brings us up to speed. In just a few days, I’ll release the first chapter to my backers, re-launch the podcasts, and clean up the website. The Year of So Far Appalachia is about to begin.