Posts Tagged With: travel

 
 

Where Am I?

Where am I?

That’s the question I’ve asked myself on waking this past year.

That probably happens to us as we get older, but I’m not that old. Yet.

“Where am I” came as a result of what seemed like constant traveling since June 2016.

IMG_8829A funeral, a birth, a reunion, a contract, another birth, an illness, a visit, more visits, a hospital stay, a conference or two, grandbaby sitting, visits, a 60th anniversary celebration, more visits, oh, and an eclipse. That briefly sums up most of the reasons for my going and going and going. A few times I stayed put. Six weeks were the longest I stayed anywhere and even there I left and returned on short stints.

At least half, or more, of every month our house sat empty, except for the occasional scorpion wandering through or a random spider spinning lies.  I was gone so much that we debated moving, on a permanent basis, out-of-state. But the stars didn’t align and it never felt right.

When I was away from home I missed my bed, my friends, my routine. But when I rfullsizeoutput_5eeturned I was anxious to leave again. The emptiness of a vacant house can wear on a person. And by vacant, I mean empty of people, not things.

I got in a bunch of amazing hikes though and a couple of campouts. I hiked in the snow as well as in the heat, but most importantly, in the mountains.

I experienced winter, which I haven’t done in decades. It’s a fun novelty when you know you don’t have to endure the full six months of it. Well, it’s fun unless your flight gets cancelled due to the weather and it’s nearly Christmas and company is due at your house that day while you’re in another state. Good times. But then, that resulted in a side trip to see my cousin, which was an unexpected bonus.

Through it all I learned to relish my personal space. Airplanes don’t lend themselves to emotional comfort if you’re an introvert with a fairly expansive personal bubble. (And an expansive backside.) And yet, on the other hand, I learned to cherish hugs and physical touch and actually being in the same room with the people you love. Phone calls and texts and video chats are great, but none of that compensates for the real thing.

IMG_8997I drove a few times to my far off destination. A debate still runs in my head if road trip or air trip is more comfortable, emotionally and physically. Eleven hours in a car can race by if you have an engaging audio book to keep your mind occupied.

Those people who travel as part of their job are troopers. Kudos to them for waking up in a different hotel, city, country, or hovel.

MSH has traveled for work most of our married life. I thought he had the kushy part of that deal, since he left me with the kids and went off to work (and sleep) without constant interruptions and demands. He’d fly home every few weekends to visit us. Until this year I didn’t realize what a drag air travel can become. Until this year I didn’t appreciate all he’d gone through living alone, living away, living out of a suitcase.

I love that man more than ever before after this year’s experiences. I’d prefer keeping our traveling to trips we take together.

fullsizeoutput_5eOf course, I’ve got to book a flight today for a trip next month. It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to as it involves some of the grands. So when I told a friend I was done traveling, I guess I only meant temporarily.

If home is where my heart is, then I’ve been home this entire past year. My heart is always with MSH. My heart is with my children and grandchildren. My heart is with my parents and siblings. My heart pounds right here in my chest reminding me to live and love life where I stand. No matter where that is.

So, where am I?

I am home.

~~~~~

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ~ Ursula Le Guin

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Categories: Family, Relationships, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Happy Side of the Airport

I hung out today on the happy side of the airport.

Which side is that you ask?

Why the arrival side, of course.

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By MSgt Mark C. Olsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

People pour down the walkway like milk from a tipped over gallon in little wavelets. Finally, blessedly, released from the tube of recycled air and far too intimate perimeters I could practically see bruised personal space bubbles fluff up and stretch. As they walked toward luggage, toward loved ones, toward whatever they flew here for, a sort of relaxation visibly enveloped nearly every person.

Hey, i even saw two smiling TSA agents. They must have just ended their shifts, because I’m fairly certain they aren’t allowed to smile on the job. At least, I’ve seen very few who do. (Can’t be an easy job, not sure I’d smile either.)

Three dogs also walked up from the deplaning area. Not by themselves. No, humans’ accompanied them. One rode very stylishly on a faux leopard skin doggie suitcase, its little head peeking out at the crowds. Oddly, all three dogs I saw were small white poodle-ish pups. Made me wonder why. I suppose bigger dogs either aren’t allowed or the owner would have to pay full fare for a seat just for the pooch.

I wondered what you’d do if you have doggie allergies and you get on a plane with one of these unusual passengers? Can you request a no doggie flight, like some people can request a no peanut flight?

Just curious. But not curious enough to research it.

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By CPT William Carraway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The happy side of the airport most often involves hellos, hugs, kisses, smiles, laughter and cheering. Lots of good stuff going on there. Homecomings almost always feel like a blanket settling on your shoulders. I like that.

Of course, not every passenger gets a greeting in the terminal by someone they know. Some rush past all the mushiness like it’s a disease they might catch. Others dodge the huddled groups and couples with little notice or concern. And often, there’s a taxi, bus, shuttle, another flight, or a car waiting to take them away from this odd place of comings and goings. I would never refer to the arrival lanes outside as a happy place, even though happiness surely happens. It’s private and sheltered, not public. Plus, there’s too much exhaust, too much cigarette smoke, too much noise, too much rushing. it doesn’t feel happy. Not like inside feels happy.

I meant to take pictures, to better illustrate what I experienced as I waited almost an hour. ( I was a little overly excited to get there, and I also overestimated how long it would take to navigate rush hour traffic.) But somehow, even taking iPhone photos seemed intrusive and kind of, I don’t know, rude, I suppose. I attempted a photo of the dog/leopard skin bag but it was blurry and I felt sheepish afterwards. I don’t think I’m very stealthy. And I know I don’t want some stranger snapping my photo at an airport, or any public place for that matter.

I’ve always enjoyed people watching. I find it exceptionally rewarding at an airport both for the variety and the amount of people. Today’s excursion provided some vicarious joy while I waited. And then, my own giddy greetings and hugs made the day completely wondrous.

If you ever find yourself in need of a boost and an airport’s handy, I’d recommend a visit to the happy side.

Categories: Happiness | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dream, Dream, Dream

When I have a dream that I’m sleeping and dreaming, then I invariably wake up disoriented and discombobulated.

I visit a recurring place in some of my dreams; a distinct and definite building and architecture that molds itself to what the dream wants to show me. I recognize hallways, passages, doors, exterior landscapes. Although new rooms and wings appear frequently, it’s all the same place. Whatever goes on there I find myself thinking through it for the entire day, sometimes two days. It’s a shadow of a real place I once belonged in, a place of unfinished business and unresolved issues. I wake knowing my brain wants desperately to make sense of something. What that something is, often remains a mystery, no matter how much pondering I engage in.

Trying to go two directions as once. Like trying to be in two places at the same time?

Trying to go two directions at once. Like trying to be in two places at the same time?

Waking from those particular dreams takes more time than usual. The gauzy strings of a cobweb have draped themselves around me. I pull and peel layers away for an hour or two until I’m fully conscious, fully me again.

Traveling feels a bit like that. I’ve lived in and inhabited a place, a world, a new daily paradigm. I’ve settled in, somehow brought and left the old me and routines behind. A few days, a week, or longer, being somewhere else changes things, changes the chemistry of me. Then a long drive or the processing from one airport to another, like a dream, lands me waking and dazed in my same old world.

I’m hesitant to take up normal. Reluctant to engage in the daily usual. I no longer fit in neatly because something interior and exterior has changed and no longer quite belongs.

I spend a day in limbo. Between where I’ve been and where I am lies reality. Neither There nor Here feels right.

I need a way station. A temporary place to process the changes, the newness, the experiences of the past week.

Perhaps that’s what my dreams are.

A debriefing, is that the term they use? Yes, that sounds right.

Maybe a whole day of debriefing, of writing and thinking, then more writing, will help me process, file, assimilate, settle in. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll continue to hover between two worlds, with a third world calling to me.

For now, I think I’ll just go back to sleep. After all, a little nap couldn’t hurt anything.

The hands of this "timepiece" move both directions, forward and backward. Hmmm, could be handy.

The hands of this “timepiece” move both directions, forward and backward. Hmmm, could be handy.

 

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Flying High and I’m Feeling Good

English: Crop circles along the Columbia, Wash...

Crop circles along the Columbia, Washington, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Gratituesday! Today I’m thankful for air travel. What a miracle to climb aboard an airplane in a cold, rainy, or snowy place and a few hours later find yourself on terra firma with balmy skies and a warm breeze. I never get over the wonder of leaving home at six in the morning and then finding myself standing in Mom’s kitchen at lunchtime. Mom lives almost eight hundred miles away! Is that amazing or what?

I was well into my thirties before I ever flew on a commercial airplane. What a revelation! That sensation at takeoff of being pushed back into your seat as the plane propels itself fast enough to achieve flight never gets old. Every time feels just as exhilarating as the first time I experienced that singular phenomenon.

Landing, too, has its commensurate push forward on landing, but with a kind of sadness that the miracle is over.

I find both much more exciting than a roller coaster ride because at the end you’re somewhere different from when you started.

Agricultural Patchwork

Agricultural Patchwork (Photo credit: matt.hintsa)

As a young child I had the opportunity to ride in a four-seater airplane from the local airport. Up, over and around the city we lived in, I got a glimpse, a bird’s view, of the big tiny world I lived in.  Brushing what I thought was dangerously close to the mountains, my only worry. Everything down below seemed so small, which in turn, made me feel puny and small. Unfortunately, I don’t remember much more about that flight.

Agricultural quilts, in squares and rounds and triangles, never cease to entertain as I’m airborne. Experiencing the Grand Canyon, Mount St. Helen’s, Lake Tahoe, mount Rainer, the Great Lakes, or the Pacific Ocean, from the perspective of thirty thousand feet brings new appreciation for those wonders.

Lake Tahoe from my window seat.

Lake Tahoe from my window seat.

Overcast skies and thick layers of clouds that block such views can disappoint. But then, breaking through and flying above the cloud formations provides entertainment better than any museum or scientific wonder.

If you’ve never had this opportunity, I really hope you get the chance to fly!

What a world we live in! What an age of convenience and luxury and speed. How blessed I feel today as I type this post sitting in a comfy seat on the plane as it’s bouncing a bit in the air turbulence and as I sip my lovely beverage and much on pretzels. The changing landscape of Arizona passes below me and I’m in awe.

Astounding!

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Quotables, Too, or Two, or Again

I really don’t like the title of this post. There’s got to be a better way of saying it, but I am fresh out of brilliance and, as a friend of mine calls it, “finesse.”

If you have any suggestions for a Sunday Post title I’d be thrilled and would gratefully name one of my garden flowers after you, or something wondrous like that.

So this first quote is, admittedly, taken out of context and edited. I’ll share the edited one with you first. Then, under that I’ll give you the full quote as I found it. I like both versions, a lot. The longer one leans toward the rebellious side, which I have a tendency to tip toward myself. So, on my mini-chalkboard at home I quoted the non-rebellious version. I’m pretty sure Mark Twain would hang me up by my toenails and throw sharp words at me, at the very least.

20130901-145332.jpg

Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.”
— Mark Twain

I agree, Life is short, even at its longest. I don’t generally condone breaking the rules, but have been known to do so, a little too often. And, regret?  Regret falls under an entire category of multiple blog posts which I may, someday if I feel brave, write and elucidate on.

“The Lord of the Rings” books shine with brilliance and wisdom. I try to restrain myself from quoting Tolkien too often, but you gotta admit, he nails it time and again. Here’s a tiny bite of the feast that his words created.

20130901-145348.jpg

Then, there’s this saying I have on my wall in the kitchen. It’s a reminder to myself that I’m not really really old. Even though parts of me seem insistent on convincing me otherwise.

20130901-145400.jpg

I’ll refrain from vowing to get to bed earlier, eat better, brush more often and exercise twice as much as usual. I think I just want to try to stay young at heart. Which would involve the first quote: forgiving, kissing, loving, laughing. I can do those.

That’s all I’ve got for today.

Wishing you a week filled with grateful moments, joy, and laughter.

Categories: Fun, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It Was a Wonderful Life!

Yesterday I got the chance to watch the second installment of home 8mm films that my Dad has transferred to DVD. If something like that doesn’t fire up the old neurons of memory, then nothing will!

North Ogden Utah Ben Lomond Peak

Ben Lomond Peak (Photo credit: OwnUtah.Com)

I was the opening shot, well, me and Mom. I looked extra adorable in my frilly bonnet and chubby cheeks. Mom looked stylish as she always did and does. There followed scenes of my older brother in various stages of helping Mom in managing this new little sister he had.

Loved seeing Dad do his famous tricycle riding trick. He’d kneel on the back and pedal with his hands. That’s not an easy feat to pull off, but he could do it with a grin.

Ah, they were so young! The world seemed new and young. Life was new. For me, that is when the world began. (Insert a long, audible sigh here, if you would please.)

I cheered my baby self on when I lifted my head, crawled, walked and fell down. I watched, amazed, as I saw myself grow from a baby to a five-year old in less than twenty minutes. Looking back on my life, sometimes that ‘s about what it feels like. Yet, my childhood had a timeless quality about it that felt as if I’d always be a child. I was protected, provided for, well-loved, and given a wonderfully varied exploratory life filled with fun and adventure.

English:

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A trip or two to Yellowstone National Park was a highlight and a memory I still cherish. The bears ran as freely and as abundantly as chipmunks. Even without the film memory jog, I still remember the fishing bridges there, seeing fish thick in the water. Nothing can erase the memory of the smells of Yellowstone, the sound of footsteps on the wooden walkways, the feel of my hand in Mom’s hand.

I watched as we enjoyed breakfast picnics in the mountains, trips to Bear Lake, camping trips, hikes up Ben Lomond. What child could ask for more? Not me. I was happily allowed to explore my world, taken out and about often to see the wonders that this life has to offer. I think I fell in love with it all at a very early age because of exposure to so much abundance. I haven’t been able to narrow in on one particular favorite. The world is full and rich and I have tried to take in and be a part of as much of it as I have been able to.

see mum, i can garden

(Photo credit: moirabot)

One thing I found particularly fascinating in this DVD that I’d hardly noticed in the first one was the backdrops in each scene. There was the beautiful hexagon shapes in the Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt on the bed my brother and I were playing on. The cars that drove past were classics from the 50’s and 60’s. The television was vintage, the furniture now collector’s items. Even the drinking glasses were particular to that era. What I wouldn’t give to own a set of aluminum colored drinking cups now!  The piano I learned to play on, the one destroyed in my parent’s house fire, made an appearance. Changes in the landscaping of the yard, neighbor’s houses I haven’t seen in decades, the up close view of the mountains that surrounded my childhood home all served as key elements in the background to this trip down memory lane.

Feeling very nostalgic today. Wishing for a time machine to visit those innocent, sweet days of love and learning.

Thanks Dad and Mom for the DVD, for the amazing childhood, for a wonderful life!

Categories: Family, Love, Memory Lane, Nature, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Watch for Wolves, Or Cows

Long road trips seem to bring out the weirdness in our family. Things that we wouldn’t normally laugh at take on humor of epic proportions. I blame it on the monotony and the weird snack combinations that we bring along.

We left extra early one morning, and by extra early I don’t mean planning to leave by six and actually leaving by ten. I mean early, like the car is already packed and gassed up and all we have to do is stumble out to the car with our pillows and make sure to lock the front door . It was so early the garbage trucks hadn’t started their rounds. It was so early we could tell North by the stars for three or four hours. I wanted to arrive before dark, so that meant leaving while it was still dark.

We had actually left the night before, about five p.m. Not a really wise move. That’s rush hour. That’s the sun blasting holes into your retinas the entire time you’re driving west in rush hour so that you can’t read the signs and you miss your exit to turn north out of the burning laser beams. Once we reached open road we discovered that the car we were driving and the removable car top cargo box weren’t very compatible. At sixty-five MPH the thing let out a high-pitched brain-vibrating mind-numbing keening wail.

I figured we’d adjust to the noise, that after just a bit we wouldn’t even notice it. But what happened was we couldn’t carry on normal conversation. We had to yell at each other. And that was before we had even reached the irritation stage of the drive. I popped in some tunes on our cassette player and cranked the volume. The whistle and the music weren’t in the same key and we could barely hear the music. I soon saw that we’d lose our minds before we even got half way to our destination. We would either have to leave the car top cargo box on the side of the road or go home. We went home. In rush hour traffic still.

Once home, four hours after we’d started out, we repacked the car, without the bonus luggage carrier on top. It was a tight fit but it was doable. By then I was too aggravated to drive safely and it was late. We got some sleep and woke at 3:00 a.m. to leave.

Sleep deprived children are great on a drive, because they sleep or doze or star blankly at the scenery. When it’s too dark to see any scenery things stay quiet. There are no fights and no whining about who gets to sit in the front seat. Bathroom breaks are fewer and further apart. My mind is free to wander, imagine, remember, get into the flow of the driving.

Español: Lobo en el zoo de Kolmården (Suecia).

Lobo en el zoo de Kolmården (Suecia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About three hours into our drive, with only eight left, morning was beginning to stir. A paleness in the eastern sky was creeping over the landscape. Those odd pre-morning shadows were everywhere. It’s a kind of magical hour between light and dark, my favorite time of the day, even in a car. I looked over my daughter in the front seat beside me who seemed awake but mesmerized or hypnotized or maybe asleep with her eyes open. I smiled but didn’t say anything, not wanting to disturb the quiet. I looked into my rear view mirror at my other daughter but couldn’t tell if her eyes were open or closed. She was probably deep into dreamland.

My shoulders relaxed, my hands rested lightly on the steering wheel. This would turn out to be a good trip. No flats, no car problems, no road closures or detours, no major fights between the two kids.

A few minutes later, from the back seat, my youngest daughter yawned and stretched. Then she asked, “Are those wolves?”

I thought she must be dreaming. “What did you say?” I asked.

“Are those wolves?” she repeated, “in that field over there.”

I looked to the right into an open meadow dotted with a few pine trees. It was still a bit dark, but the shapes she was referring to were fairly clear.

“Those are cows,” I replied, stifling a laugh.

“Are you sure, cuz they look like wolves,” she said.

And then my other daughter chimed in, “yeah, those are wolves that say ‘moo.'” And then she laughed her slightly deranged maniacal laugh.

“Well, they look like wolves to me!” my youngest shot back!

“Moooooooooo!” the oldest howled like a wolf.

Cattle

Cattle (Photo credit: CameliaTWU)

“Oh, shut up!” was the reply. She shifted in her seat, covered her head with the pillow and went back to sleep.

We kept driving.

The sun kept its schedule and rose slowly sending a basking glow of coral over the landscape. The car was silent except for the hum of the engine and the sound of the tires on the pavement.

“Look!” my oldest daughter said, pointing out the window at a herd of cattle. “Wolves!” And she laughed her maniacal laugh again.

“&#$^%&**” replied my younger daughter from under her pillow.

And thus began the longest part of the drive.

Every, single, time, that we passed some cows my oldest daughter would pipe up, “Look, Wolves!” and the youngest would reply with aggravation lacing her words, “Shut. Up!”

I had no idea there were so many herds of cows in the western United States. They’re everywhere. About every five miles, in fact. And if it isn’t a herd, it’s a single steer standing beside a fence or in a stream bed, or alongside the road.

Cows everywhere. “Wolves!”

And horses. If there were horses, the oldest daughter would yell, “Look, foxes!”

After only six hours my youngest daughter began to see the humor in her early morning mistaken identifying of cows versus wolves. But she still replied with anger and frustration in her voice. I begged the oldest to stop, but she seemed intent on milking it for all it was worth.

The last two hours of the drive, the youngest daughter would sometimes secretly laugh, but not enough to quell the oldest daughters enthusiasm for pointing out the “wolves.”

There were wolf sightings for the twelve hour return trip as well. We should have driven in the dark.

We laugh about it more now than we did then.

I think the only time we’ve ever really seen a wolf was at the zoo. And then, of course, my oldest daughter said, “Oh, look! Cows!”

Categories: Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

How Many Ways Can You Say Stranded? #1

Before cell phones were commonplace, before cell phone towers dotted the country like stars dot the sky, car problems were trickier to negotiate.

Nowadays, if you have car issues, you whip out your trusty phone, call AAA or whatever service you pay for towing and flat tires, and within hours you’re on your way again.

Not that many years ago, it wasn’t that simple.

Driving North with two of my young daughters we crossed the Reservation, enjoying the strange and changing scenery, when the Honda van we were in started hesitating. That particular stretch of road was only two lanes, with a narrow shoulder. I pushed down the panicky feeling and watched for a pullout area, which was usually only the size of a car and just inches from the roaring traffic.

Vermilion Cliffs from Kaibab Plateau overlook ...

Vermilion Cliffs from Kaibab Plateau overlook  (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)

As the van sputtered and lurched forward, I put on my emergency flashers, hoping there’d be time for the cars behind me to slow down before plowing into our backside. Fortunately, the next pullout we chugged up to was actually one of those spots built to accommodate sales of Native American trinkets, jewelry and fry bread. There were no people, and no cars, just us, the wind, and an occasional scuttle of clouds overhead.

I popped the hood and looked inside. I checked out the parts I knew about. Oil levels. Coolant levels. Loose belts. Battery terminals. We had plenty of gas since I’d filled up in Flagstaff. All appeared as it should.

Maybe the car just needed a bit of rest. We got out the snacks, had some water, explored the nearby sagebrush and torn up barbed wire fencing. Half an hour later, we all climbed back into the van and I started it back up. Everything sounded fine. So off we went. Ten minutes later, the chugging and spluttering began again only worse. Again I looked for a pullout.

This time we rolled into a large pullout with a Semi truck and trailer parked. I felt lucky thinking I could simply ask the trucker for help. Or at the very least, he could put out a call on his CB radio and send a tow truck. But as far as my knocking could tell, there was no one in there. More than likely, the trucker had crawled into the sleeping nook and was catching some Zz’s.

My next option was a quarter-mile hike to what looked like a tiny settlement, a small church, some kind of housing structures, a dirt path between them. And best of all, a thick wire hanging from the church to one of the buildings, indicating electricity or phone service. What I found was a solitary, ancient grandmotherly figure inside the open doorway of one of the huts who didn’t speak English. I did my best sign language for indicating the need for a telephone and she did her best to let me know I was up a creek without a paddle.

I hiked back to the van. We had plenty of water and food in our ice chest. So the heat wouldn’t be a problem. But what to do?

The girls were coloring on some paper they’d brought for getting through the boredom of the long drive. I decided to make a sign. “Please call AAA” it said in large block letters. Then I taped it, using their stickers, to the back of the van. Forty five minutes later a couple of women in a red convertible stopped to get our story, check on our status and offer to call a tow truck for us when they got to Flagstaff.

Hours later a tow truck lumbered into the pullout where we sat bored beyond all reason. It was nearing evening and I was relieved to not have to spend the night on the side of the road.

English: A car being loaded onto a flatbed tow...

A car being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The driver filled out some paperwork and then proceeded to hook our van up with a thick chain. Then he lowered the back-end of his truck at an angle and was ready to pull it up on the bed of the truck, which would then level out. He looked at the three of us and said, “you’ll have to ride in the van, I don’t have room in my truck up front.”

My heart nearly stopped. Surely that wasn’t safe. Or legal.

“Are you sure? I could hold one of the girls on my lap,” I replied, desperation in my voice.

“We do it this way all the time,” was his only reply. Conversation over.

Next thing we knew we found ourselves perched high atop the back of a tow truck, a stellar view of the sunset, the reddening cliffs and the heart stopping path ahead. A winding road barely clinging to the side of the cliffs.

As we proceeded up the cliff, the tow truck sputtered, the driver down shifted, the gears made a horrific grinding sound, and I was sure we would plummet in a fiery mass down to the bottom.

It was all too terribly reminiscent of another cliff side drive I had endured.

All the way up the mountain the gears ground and roared and argued with the driver. I told the girls to pray. I prayed like I’d never prayed in my life. Being stranded overnight on the side of the road seemed like a better alternative at that point.

After the longest ride I’d ever endured in a vehicle, we finally, miraculously made it to the closest town for hundreds of miles. The driver dropped us off at one of dozens of motels, our suitcases dragging pitifully behind us. He dropped the van off in the parking lot at the back. I was on my own to find a mechanic the next morning.

Oddly, the mechanic could find nothing wrong. We drove it around town, out on the open highway and back to the motel and it behaved perfectly.

“Probably some bad gas you got in Flagstaff,” he concluded. He was kind enough not to charge me for his time or his opinion.

For the rest of the drive to and from our destination, the van performed as if nothing had ever been wrong. Perhaps the precarious ride up the side of the mountain had scared it into submission.

Nowadays, the Reservation has some of the best cell phone reception in the western United States if I should need my trusty cell phone. But I’d rather not have to use it to call a tow truck.

Never again.

Categories: Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oops! and Ouch!

WRONG WAY

(Photo credit: CarbonNYC)

”Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” – Franklin P. Jones

Looking closely at this wrong way sign makes me wonder where it is and why it keeps getting dinged. Crunched repeatedly it’s obviously taken a few hits. Reminds me of the look you can sense in some people who’ve taken some tough hits from life. In fact, I’m sure I’ve seen that look in the mirror occasionally.

Dirt Road

(Photo credit: Barbara L. Slavin)

“Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all over the idea of Robert Frost’s poem of taking the road less traveled. It’s a romantic notion of adventure, unique experiences and rare beauties. Focus on that word notion. The price one pays for the those rarities in a high one.

But let’s face it. It’s not the easy road. It’s got the potential to get you stuck in the mud up to your rims. The road less traveled will lead to some sleepless nights, and painful days. The road less traveled will require some sacrifices and some tough decisions. And yet, a few of us choose it anyway.

All the onlookers from the other road shake their heads, chuckle to themselves and forget about the crazy ones once they get going on their own journey. They’ll even throw in an “I told you so,” when someone stalls out on the side of a less traveled path.

You may have stumbled on a less traveled path yourself. You may not even know that’s what it is.

I suppose the trick is an ability to laugh, like Seinfield, at the silliness of the foibles and the unfairness on that road. It’s also a good idea to keep your eyes wide open.

Happy travels to you today on whatever path you’ve taken.

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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