Here are the top ten things I have learned in the last 4 days -
1. The person who invented the car DVD player was GENIUS!
2. You always have more energy before you start the trip
3. Kids are really funny
4. Driving into the Tetons at 1:00 am with killer escapees in the area not a good idea
5. Driving into the Tetons at 1:00 am is never a good idea
6. Waking up to the awesome view of the Tetons when you arrived in the dark - is always a good idea
7. Taking a trip with family can be fun
8. Making memories that will last forever involve time spent together
9. Go along for the journey not the destination
10. Most things said after driving for 9 hours in one day are funny
The above is a simple list- for a more detailed look at a dose of road trip reality read on..........
Day 1 - We are locked and loaded and ready to go. We have enough entertainment and snacks to survive a nuclear blast. Headed out to west Texas - to experience the wide open spaces - and put us a little closer to the Northwest. Driving down the road we find a suitable radio station and Eagles "Already Gone" begins to play - there is nothing but blue sky, brown grass and a long horizon in front of us - My sister said, "This reminds me of a movie" - and thus - it begins.
Day 2 - We are faced with the task of strapping down our trunks and hoping that they hang on for the ride - they did for about 20 miles - stopping to check our handy work we realize that we did not do such a great job - thanks to the guy who helped us out and reassured us that it would hold - we were on our way. Driving through hurricane force winds, torrential rain and mountain roads we arrived at the Garden of the Gods with daylight to spare. The kids were totally thrilled with being able to climb and run and we were once again awe inspired by God's Creation. A fun night in Old Colorado City - which included desert BEFORE dinner - (what's vacation for?) and then a brief night spent with friends, which also included the discovery that yes - the tie down was tight enough to hold - so tight that it cracked a trunk and resulted in many wet clothes.
am greeted with the grandeur of the Teton mountains. Looking out across Jackson Lake I am thankful for God's grace, mercy and protection. I am thrilled to be alive and to breathe in the cool mountain air. The kids awake and are equally impressed. We allow them to spend time playing Huck Finn and building rock houses on the banks of the lake - I revel in the enjoyment of kids being kids without the aid of electronics. Life is good. We travel into Yellowstone, and see no sign of the killer escapees, again we drive through the rain. Arriving at Old Faithful 10 minutes after it goes off we decide to wait an hour and twenty minutes for the view. Rain continues to come in torrents but breaks long enough for us to witness Old Faithfuls grand explosion. We drive on - knowing that our initial plans were a little optimistic and having limited phone and internet I requested that my spouse make us reservations for the night. As we drive into Montana, we discover that our lodging is sandwiched between the county correctional facility and the local bus station. Really?! I could not have invented a better script... I am sure Freddy Kruger is around the corner. Unpacking the trunks to carry through the rain, again, I am wondering exactly how I got here.
Day 5 - Making a lunch stop at the small town where we grew up - we take a drive through memory lane. Our children actually were impressed that we could live somewhere like this - Questions from the back seat - What did you do for fun? You mean the movie only shows one time a day? And only on the weekends? Why is the school so small? You lived in that house? You should go inside. Back on the road headed over Stevens Pass we are on the last leg- We make it to our destination this time by 10:30 - unload the trunks for the last time for the next five days.
I sit here now in a busy coffee shop - by myself - under the guise of having to attend an online training session. Reflecting on moments spent together with family and love what God has given me - we will laugh and play for the next 5 days and then hit the road again for the journey home. I have learned that it is not about the destination - it is about the journey and if we slow down enough to enjoy the ride we will laugh, cry and play along the way. We must be flexible and forgiving and never ever forget the man who invented the Car DVD.