We just finished a 5,000 + mile road trip travelling to Colorado for my nieces wedding (which was beautiful by the way). We knew where we wanted to go (Yellowstone particularly), but I will admit that the plan could use some improvement as to the routes we were going to take but there to save the day, was our youngest: I will call him Mr. Adventure. I was worried to be deviating from our plan as traveling with MS carries its own set of challenges like sitting for extended periods of time, comfort, heat, stress, etc. Luckily, I sat in the back seat where I could put my feet up, lay down if I needed to and nap when I wanted to and I was not responsible for planning our route or reading google maps which suited me just fine.
Mr. Adventure showed us that a road trip such as this is not like hiking the West Coast Trail where we decided that the best route is the direct route, oh no no no apparently not while you are doing a road trip. Throughout the trip I was reminded of a quote I saw that said Life is in small details, not big events. Taking the interstate, you don’t see the baby calves just figuring out how to stand up, you don’t see the newborn fillies bucking in the field, you don’t see antelope and lambs eating the same grass, you don’t happen upon the ranch that was the home of Sea Biscuit (a famous race horse if you don’t know who he was), you don’t see the lake in the middle of a desert that isn’t even on a map, and you definitely don’t see the calf that was stuck in a mud bog while all the farmers in the area are working together to rescue him. Those are just a few of the things we would have missed if we had stuck to the interstate. This trip made me believe that Life is indeed in small details, not big events.
Mr. Adventure was travelling with us on our way down to Colorado but then flying home right after the wedding with some of our other family members and I think he took it as a personal challenge for us to see the most stuff possible before we completed his leg of the trip. I don’t do well with changing an original plan but boy oh boy, did we see some beautiful country by taking the roads less travelled. What initially stressed me out, turned out to be one of the most memorable trips we have ever taken. We ended up travelling roads and saw sights that my husband and I would never have seen if our son hadn’t been with us. He was bold with his road suggestions, sometimes too bold in my humble opinion! Like taking us over Hoosier Pass @ 11,542 feet between Breckenridge and Fairplay Colorado. It would have been worrisome with a regular SUV but now imagine that pass with a 29 foot 5th wheel, that was scaaaarrrryyyy and of course, we had to hit snow to make matters worse. But we made it down the other side with only a couple of new gray hairs and a new found appreciation for trailer brakes.
Our first stop was Yellowstone National Park – Larry and I had been through there a couple of years ago, but we had our 5th wheel and no time to park it anywhere so we did a slow drive through but didn’t look at anything for longer than a sneak peek! Needless to say, it wasn’t enough to satisfy us and we were left with wanting to explore the park further and take it all in; geysers, hot springs, wildlife, etc. Our only hope when entering the park this time was to see a buffalo lol. Well, we not only saw 1 buffalo, we saw at least 500 of them! We saw so much more too – like grizzlies, caribou, mountain goats and many different varieties of birds, I couldn’t tell you how much wildlife we saw. In fact, at one point we were in a traffic jam in Yellowstone Park for 1.5 hours…………because of a herd of buffalo’s! I tell ya, it was a sight to see!
The next stop on our road trip was Arches National Park near Moab Utah. Arches National Park has the densest concentration of natural stone arches in the world. There are over 2,000 documented arches in the park, ranging from sliver-thin cracks to spans greater than 300 feet (97 m). Apparently, the rock layers visible in the park today were once buried by over a mile of other rock that had to erode first to expose what lied beneath. Visitors one million years ago might have seen an endless flat plain dotted with vegetation.
We learned that every single arch, spire, and other rock shape in the park is a remnant of massive, solid layers of rock that once covered the area. Over time, the layers bulged, cracked, and began to erode away. Given enough time, every arch will be gone and the layer beneath will be exposed… until it, too, is gone. I know that won’t happen in my lifetime and probably not in my children’s or grandchildren’s lifetime, but I am so glad we took the opportunity to see this natural phenomenon now before nature changes it. Don’t take my word for it, go see it you won’t be disappointed. Picture massive red rock stretching up to a brilliant blue sky with no clouds to be seen anywhere – it is an amazing sight to see and I was surprised at how spiritual it felt sitting way up high above the world where you could almost touch the sun. Even with all that natural beauty though the best part about our visit had nothing to do with the rock or the park itself, it had to do with something that happened while we were there. We took off early in the morning to get a head start on the throngs of tourists that make their way to the park daily. We decided to embark on a 1 ½ mile hike (one way) which is quite a stretch for me. So, I grabbed my walking sticks and took advantage of my early morning energy and off we went. I don’t walk fast and my footing is not very good so I’m extra careful but we finally made it to the top. Mr. Adventure turned to me and said “Look around mom, I bet you are the only one up here with MS. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do what you want to because you have this. Good job mom, I’m proud of you”. Well, that right there was my highlight for the day. It’s funny how just those little words can turn a challenge into a victory. I’m sure he doesn’t even remember saying it, but I will never forget it. Again, I was struck by knowing that Life is in small details, not big events.
On our way home, we detoured to the Grand Canyon which is nothing short of spectacular as many of you know. We followed the California coast; including driving the Redwood highway which passes through the world’s tallest and only extensive preserves of virgin, old-growth coast redwood trees. Now, we live in BC where there are some huge trees, but this area with its old growth redwoods is amazing. No words can explain the beauty. Life is in small details, not big events.
So, If I could do the trip over again, would I change anything?
Well, I may change the number of hours we drove in a day or I may change the timeline somewhat but I don’t think I would change a single thing about the routes we took or the places we explored which then means that this Road Trip will be filed away as another successful step in our journey and I will savour the little things and maybe even embrace taking the road less travelled next time – One thing I know for sure though is that Life is in small details, not big events, and that is something I need to remind myself of daily.