Road Tripping

Mountains and green valley in southern Colorado
The views even from regular roads are usually spectacular in Colorado.

Traveling is in my blood. When I was a kid, my elder sister begged to stay home alone instead of going on family vacations. I was the other extreme. I took time off work and would quit a job instead of miss a family vacation. My parents showed my brother and I most of the United States. By the time I graduated high school, I think I’d been in 35 states. 

When my husband and I married, he had a pretty good idea of what he was getting into. We lived in Colorado at the time; he grew up there. One of my first purchases after moving there was a unique recreational map of Colorado. It showed all the highways and byways, the fire roads and any other trail that a four-wheeled vehicle could take on public land. I’m not sure he understood why, but I always wanted to see something new. My goal was to highlight as many of those roads as possible. So even the most beautiful of routes we usually took only once or twice because there was always something else to explore.

After we were married, we bought a new truck. We had the options of two-wheel or four-wheel drive. In Colorado? What should we buy? Bigger is always better, isn’t it?

I called my wise dad before we signed the paperwork. His advice, “How far out do you want to be when you run into trouble?” My husband isn’t quite the risk-taker than I am. We bought the four-cylinder, two-wheel drive truck. It had high enough clearance for almost anything. Surprisingly, by the time we moved from Colorado, there was only one road that we wanted to explore that we did not because of the truck incapability. Mosquito Pass, east of Leadville. That particular road has a reputation for requiring winches as well as four-wheel drive. My hope is to eventually explore it via a jeep rental service. I don’t mind getting stuck in the middle of nowhere when it is someone else’s problem to fix. 

Red Mountain near Telluride, Colorado.
My husband says he doesn’t mind stopping frequently by the side of the road so I can take photos. Red Mountain is between Silverton and Durango in southwest Colorado.

Travel was one of the hardest sacrifices for me to make when we had children and decided I should stay home and homeschool them. I visited my family several times a year. I would travel with my parents a bit, but the big family vacations of my youth were years in the waiting. Now that they’ve made a comeback, I look forward to them with enthusiasm. 

When we moved to Dallas in 2015, my husband knew that I would have difficulty in an urban setting. I knew that he would love working as well as living in an urban setting. The ability to increase my travel was one of our compromises.

We have followed through. Since moving, we’ve visited Arkansas and Kentucky. In 2016, we took a huge road trip as a family, visiting friends in Minnesota before driving to Yellowstone and then back down through Colorado. In 2017, we road tripped to Nebraska to see the Great American Eclipse of 2017 from the center of totality. Last year, just my husband and I traveled to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington for our 20th anniversary. Those were amazing trips that made incredible memories.

Sunflowers at dawn await the eclipse in Nebraska.
Sunflowers at dawn await the eclipse in Nebraska.
Minerals in a glacial river flowing from Olympus Mountains has a unique blue-gray hue.
Seattle isn’t always gloomy, but the locals do not want anyone else to know that.

This year is a year for the record books – if I survive. I started the year visiting my family in Michigan. In May, I took two of our children to Big Bend National Park. (My eldest is following my sister’s path and chooses to stay home when he can.) I followed that up with a weekend camping trip with friends at Lake Mineral Wells State Park, just two hours from home. Then came my research trip to Canada. I’ve tried to live a normal life since I returned, but most days I can barely remember what normal life is.

Santa Elena Canyon is one of the iconic images of Big Bend National Park. The only way to see inside the canyon is by canoe.
Santa Elena Canyon is one of the iconic images of Big Bend National Park. The only way to see inside the canyon is by canoe.
View of the Big Bend desert framed by the window of an abandoned house of the ghost town of Terlingua.
The ghost town of Terlingua, outside Big Bend National Park, provides cultural and historical perspective to a rugged and remote region. Cinnabar, a source of mercury, was mined there.

And the adventures continue. I am starting to understand why people who travel for work look forward to coming home and staying there. I have three more trips planned for this year. Adventures really. Another visit to my family in Michigan. That should be a great chance for the cousins to connect and play. Later in the year, our entire family is going to Panama to visit and help friends who are missionaries there. This fall, I am going on a women-only canoe camping trip in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota. I’m expecting and looking forward to being cool, if not cold, for that one. 

I’m sure stories from my adventures will find their way here.

2 thoughts on “Road Tripping

  • I am sure learning more about you than when you lived here in Minnesota, and enjoying it! Great blog. Two incomplete sentences grated on me, but I know you used them for effect; a writer’s prerogative.

    • I’m glad you are enjoying it, Colleen. I’ll remember to keep incomplete sentences to a minimum. I’ve seen that complaint about other bloggers. There’s a line somewhere between our familiarity with the rules of the written language and writing as we speak, which is mainly incomplete sentences. It’s a dance.

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