Hey there, Folks! I’m seizing the time to share while I’m home, near my computer, and not relying on friendly northern neighbors for internet access ;-) The transition and shifting contrasts of living between two places is a new one for me, so I hope you’ll bear with me as I acclimate.
We’ve traveled these roads countless times, amassing almost as many memories of the drive as we have of our adventures. One of those memories comes to mind as I dared a quick look at the river far below, just as we all leaned left for another switchback.
Not yet June, in a year when summer blazed on winter’s heels; scorching springtime splendor, my husband couldn’t wait to go fishing up north. So he packed up his gear, his dog, and our young daughter at noon, mid-week, and headed for the mountains. I would follow after I’d finished up the work week on Friday. Years ago (before we had cellphones), there was a weather-beaten phone booth just outside the very last town before bear country. I knew my husband would use it to let me know they’d made the trip safely, right about the time I got home from work. But he didn’t. Mild concern boiled into searing fear and I’d worn a visible path in the carpet by 8; pm when the phone finally rang. They were fine, he said in a tired voice. They’d even had an impromptu picnic at the bottom of the canyon and frolicked in the river before trekking the last 100+ miles of the journey. The truck had performed well; “ran cool as a cucumber,” and nothing blew out of the back this time. You spent three hours at the river? I was incredulous. He never allows that much time for leg-stretching. “Oh,” he sighs “Sweet Pea lost her tooth on a corn chip.” That’s great, but… “She forgot it on the picnic table. We were 20 miles from here (the phone booth!) when she remembered.” Oh, Lord. The four-hour drive was long enough, but backtracking? Surprisingly, he was still talking, saying something about dinging the truck bumper while backing up. I truly hoped Sweet Pea was duly appreciative, and I wondered what she’d say when she got on the phone and gushed “Daddy hit a tree!” That’s it. That was her summary! Kids.
And then there are the imaginative adventures that spring from the scenery and leap onto the page as if chased by unseen demons…
Fully intent on fleeing the city, his Law practice, and the uncomfortable overtures of the tempestuous redhead, Jacob barely noticed the scenery at all. His aging Cherokee may as well have been heading north on auto-pilot as it navigated the dizzying switchbacks and hairpin curves of the Salt River Canyon. A little down time at the cabin was just what he needed, and that thought alone relaxed the stiffness of his hands on the steering wheel until a body exploded through his windshield… (Except ‘Canyon Crosses’)
Do you have a vacation memory which differs from others who were there? Have you had eventful journeys? Do you have a preference in transportation, car, plane, train?
Hi, dear Diedre!ReplyDelete
I enjoyed reading about the trip your husband and young daughter took to the mountains while you stayed behind to finish the work week. What a great dad your husband was to patiently backtrack to that picnic spot to retrieve the tooth your daughter left behind on the table. I don't know of many dads that would perform such a loving gesture.
Mrs. Shady and I have had many misadventures in our travels, but we enjoy reminiscing and laughing about them. Our 2014 trip from Florida to California, halfway by plane and halfway by rental car, had several such lowlights. We were driving across a lonely stretch of southern New Mexico on the way to Carlsbad when we realized we were running low on gas, the phone (GPS) was losing battery power and we had forgotten to take the charger along. We needed to follow the signs and our instincts to arrive at our destination. We found a filling station at Carlsbad, but when we tried to put gas in the thirsty tank we discovered that some of the keys on the pump's keypad were broken and we couldn't type in our pin number. When we were driving on the road that takes motorists past the scenic outlooks of the Grand Canyon, the impatient driver behind us decided we weren't moving fast enough. He floored it and whizzed around us, screeching the tires and endangering tourists who were standing perilously close to the ledge of a 400 foot cliff.
When I was young my family frequently took summer vacations in the mountains of northern PA. We enjoyed driving along dirt roads (with many switchbacks) and searching for deer. On a couple of occasions, confused deer jumped across the hood of the car and bounded into the woods.
Thank you for triggering memories, dear friend Diedre, and enjoy the week ahead!
Happy Sunday, Shady!Delete
Often as not, our adventures begin with the journey, don't they? What a harrowing experience at the Grand Canyon! It made me think of Thelma and Louise - eesh.
We've seen many animals on our trips, but so far, none have leaped across the hood! I think my knees would turn to rubber bands.
You know, I enjoy dirt roads the most - for the wildlife and the scenery. Besides, you don't often hear of someone shaking a fist at a deer like they would at other drivers:-)
Thanks for sharing your memories, will you and Mrs. Shady be taking a roadtrip this year? I hope you'll share that too:-)
Love the tale! And so good to hear from you! While it was hard to find a way to call before cell phones in some ways I worried less, because with cell phones you expect they can always call but truth be told, there are still too often dead areas.ReplyDelete
Biggest traveling adventure I ever had was on a freeway in Houston. Woman driving the car was named Melba. A mattress flew off the truck in front of us and landed in the lane. There was heavy traffic in both lanes on either side. Melba kept her steady and rode that mattress!
Barbara, blogging at Life & Faith in Caneyhead
Your comment reminded me of the time Mrs. Shady and I were driving at 70 mph down a highway, went over a slight rise and, to our horror, spotted a giant hunk of crumpled aluminum in the middle of our lane. We couldn't avoid it, ran directly over it, and it got caught under the front of the car. Sparks flew as we dragged the metal nearly a quarter mile before we wrestled the car off the road and safely brought it to a stop. At first we thought the metal was jammed tightly under the vehicle but, luckily, all it took was backing up the car to uncover it. The aluminum was red hot from scraping the road and the edges were sharp as razor blades. We were very lucky it didn't slice a tire or otherwise disable our rental car.
Hi there, Barbara!Delete
Melba was a true heroine! I'm always uneasy when we get behind someone carrying something not tied down. My husband had his new truck only a couple days before a Door & Window company vehicle lost large sheets of plate glass right in front of him! What a mess that was.
See you at Caneyhead, my friend:-)
Definitely sounds like an eventful trip! I know full well how important missing teeth are, and if it takes a 100 mile round trip to retrieve it, so be it. My stepdaughter once left a tooth in a napkin at a restaurant (luckily in our own town), but when we got back there they'd put it in the rubbish. The tooth fairy was still able to find it, though!ReplyDelete
The things we do for our kids, huh? I think it's a good sign that we still remember how it felt to be one;-)
Thank goodness for radar-equipped tooth fairies! The delighted squeal when Sweet Pea discovered a quarter in her sleeping bag was priceless!
LOL, yes, it's interesting how OUR memories can differ from someone else's who was there with us. That was one of the most fascinating things about the TV show The Affair--they used something called "perception bias" to show how two people see an event differently...and neither are completely right about what happened when they look back on it.ReplyDelete
I haven't seen the show, but it sounds like one I'd like ;-)
Perceptions are certainly subjective when it boils down to getting wet or dancing in the rain:-)
I had a good laugh over this. Backtracking 20 miles just to get a tooth? That is an awesome dad. Most people I know would've said, "You should've put it in your pocket. We're not turning around. Too bad."ReplyDelete
"Daddy hit a tree!" Tee-hee. You can always count on kids to tattle. :P
My family only went on a vacation once and there really wasn't anything special about it. I remember being very grumpy going down to Fort Lauderdale, though, because my mom gave me a shirt to wear with a lizard on it. I thought it was hideous. Looking back, I want to shake lil me. My mom was being nice and giving me something just for our vacation.
Ha! Now you've cracked me up, lady Chrys :P You and lizards (chuckle)Delete
As a kid I was never a good traveler. I do much better now that cars have a/c ;-) Funny, I loathed driving all that way across the scorching desert just to see Geronimo's Last Stand, and now I love that kind of stuff!
Your husband was very patient to drive all the way back for your daughter's tooth. Funny how two people remember the same event differently.ReplyDelete
I love to travel, period and any form of transportation suits me, although we've been doing more local road trips lately. For our 40th anniversary trip in 2013 (Italy, Germany & Greece), the bloody airline lost one of our bags. It was the suitcase that had all our underwear in it! We got it back, but here's the weird thing. Yes, the underwear was there, but two toiletry bags were missing. Instead, we found one man's running shoe, one woman's ankle boot, an empty clutch purse and a plastic bag full of blank postcards. Bizarre! We turned the stuff in, but never heard any more about it.
Oh my dawgs! What a dastardly thing to have done to you! When you practically have to pay as much as your seat on the plane, you should be able to expect better luggage service. Who would ever imagine buying undies as your first souvenir? Your anniversary trip (otherwise) sounded fabulous! I bet you have some wonderful memories:-)
My friend and I drove across the country a few years back. Once we got to California, I was like, "Are those mountains?" I had never seen one in person! I don't really have any super adventurous stories about travel, but my preferred method is definitely by airplane.ReplyDelete
Ha! "Are those mountains?" How cool to take a cross-country trip with a friend :-) I like road trips myself because you can stop and get out anytime you want. I'd love to take that Writer's train trip I keep hearing about. Good to see you, Quanie!Delete
Phone booths are becoming a relic of the past. There used to be one in an isolated place in the California desert that achieved a bit of fame, but that one too is gone. Last month when my wife and I were traveling and we passed through Big Bend in Texas I was telling her about how I'd made a certain phone call in a place back in the 70's. The phone booth was still there, but nothing was as I remembered it. The memory of the story seemed vivid to me, but the actuality of the place as I was experiencing it nearly 40 years later did not seem like the same place.ReplyDelete
For traveling, give me a car any day. I've got so many road miles behind me and hopefully a number to go. I love the freedom of the highway and the control I have to stop where or when I want to and change my route if I so desire.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
You're right about the disappearance of phone booths, anytime I see one I have to see if it works! If I'm not mistaken, I think there are two left in my town:-) The one I spoke of in my post is long gone, but not the memories.
Freedom truly is the best thing about road trips. I've stumbled onto the coolest ghost towns that way;-)