Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Come Take A Drive With Me, day 1 and 2

Last weekend my DH and I took a little drive.  It was only 1,000 miles.  My DH must love this drive because he takes me on it many times a year.  One year, not long ago, we took this drive 6 times in 12 months.  It is a lovely drive.  We see lots of scenery and we are very familiar with some locations.  For instance, in Beaver, Utah we know when our favorite yard has been  planted with new flowers. From year to year they always have such a beautiful yard, and every year they redo their landscape with different flowers and new colors.  We always look forward to seeing that flower garden. 

But, the other day, we found that our trip required us to drive much slower.  It also required us to pack a bit more than we usually do.  Although we always pack too many clothes, shoes, and reading material for our trip, this time we really got carried away.  We packed a lot. And we got help from friends, family, co-workers, and people we go to church with.

Those who were helping us didn't care a bit that it was 106 degrees outside and we had the air conditioner on.  They just left the doors opened and went about their merry way doing whatever they wanted.  They would pick up random things to pack.  Things like a TV, or a bed, or a box of green beans.  Those great people just didn't seem too picky.

My daughter, her husband and our 2 most precious grandkids were helping us pack.  Somehow, they seemed to pack slower than the other helpers.  I got the feeling they really didn't want to help us do the packing.  It seemed a little harder for them than the other people who were packing our stuff.

My son-in-law would stop doing things and watch my face.  He knew to look directly at me when an older gentleman picked up our 1974 Sony TV set (it really isn't that old but it is old.....it is bigger out back than it is across.....you remember those.....they aren't FLAT)....well, my son-in-law looked at me to see what my face looked like.  He knew I would have great big eyes, my mouth holding back a scream, and my body shuddering!.  He knew I could see old men smashed as flat as a pancake under that big old TV set.  He knew I could see glass breaking, and the wooden coffee table ending up like toothpicks.  My son-in-law knows me.  He knows I am pretty fussy about old TV's being wrapped in bubble wrap, and taped and dated and the room destination written on the tape.  I am a little over cautious about priceless antiques,like my big a___ TV. 

The TV ended up being one of the last things put into the truck we would be driving on our little drive.

My grandkids had a blast measuring the size of that big a__ TV.   I think I heard Madi say, "Look, Jack, it is as tall as my waist, and just as deep in the back."

Then Jack said something like, "Madi, I know, it is even bigger than this true antique trunk!"

Those were the little things that I heard in my head, and it didn't make one bit of difference.  No matter how hard they tried to hurt my feelings it didn't help one little bit.  It was the hardest thing I had to do that day when I had to get in the big truck and drive away.  But, I had to make this 1,000 mile journey no matter how much it hurt.  No matter how much I want to be near them.

So, to help me get through those thousand miles I took pictures.  Pictures of places you may never get to see.  Especially in the later part of September.  These places are so remarkable, that I want to show you a few hundred snapshots I saw.

One of the first things you will see is the splattered bugs on the windshield.  I always know when I am not in Arizona by my windshield.  In a great big truck, with a "Mom's Attic" over the cab of the great big truck, with big orange lettering on the side that says something to indicate we have loaded and are driving "stuff" we have loaded by ourselves, well, the windshield catches many many many bugs.  Some might have been butterflies, or flying aunts, or nats, or bees.  But, whatever they "were", they don't have the guts to hit the windshield again!

The problem with taking photos while driving are numerous.

1. The objects in the foreground are going to be blurry, as they are moving faster than a camera can focus.
2. The mirrors on the big truck are big mirrors and they get in the frame of numerous photos.
3. It is hard to frame objects that are miles away and keep them in focus, not blurred, and retain a little of the natural color of the said objects.

I will name a few problems with taking photos while driving/riding later as we go.

So, I tried to focus on things that
a) wouldn't make you car sick and be blurry
b) show bug guts in every single photo

As we left our home late in the afternoon, and I was busy crying for the first 400 miles, and the sun went down, and I was really really really tired......well, I didn't take pictures on the first day.

4.  It is difficult to take photos when you are riding in a bumpy truck and crying.

So I have to tell you a little about the drive.

I saw places that I haven't seen in years.  I have a problem whenever my DH drives me north.  It is the dangest thing.  I get sleepy.  I mean really sleepy.  I always do.  So, I plan ahead.  I have a travel pillow and a travel blanket that is laid neatly in the back seat of the vehicle.  I sit next to the blanket and pillow.  I never never never sit in the front seat.  In the front seat is usually a small cooler, my purse, a backpack with a couple of computers, camera bags, chargers, cell phones, snacks, and other essential items one must travel with.

As soon as our vehicle gets on Interstate 17 heading north, it hits me.  My eyes cross, my eyelids drop, and I slowly slump into a puddle on the back seat.  I stay in that horizontal position until the aroma of pine trees comes in through the air vents and wakes me up.  That would be about 2 hours later.  That would be when we get near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Then we pull over at the Safeway gas pumps, or the Maverick gas pumps, which ever is cheapest.  It varies from trip to trip.  I always check the gas prices in Flagstaff.  I usually save enough money for us to buy a fountain drink.  That makes the fountain drink free.  It is worth a couple of bucks.  When you make the trip up north several times a year those fountain drinks can get expensive, so I save  money on gas.

Once we are back on the road, I always slump over to that horizontal position again and sleep.  I sleep for about, well, about, maybe, about 2 more hours.  Then we are in Page, Arizona.  That is another stop, because the driver has been drinking his fountain drink.  I, having stayed horizontal,  haven't touched mine.  I have been dreaming about Meadow Larks or something and my ice has melted and the drink is warm and watered down so we throw it away.

That is how it usually is.  But this time, I am cramped into the bed of a very big truck, and I have a seat belt that has a choke hold on my neck, my feet are surrounded by computers, purse, shoes, and an overnight bag.  To the side of me is a box.  The box is big enough to hold another camera bag, pita chips, two cold drinks, Kleenex (because I seem to need a box of them on this trip), red licorice, a very big (Sam's Club size) container of chocolate covered almonds and a bunch of of necessary crap I can't remember.

So I couldn't sleep.  I had to stay vertical.  Dangit!

I stayed awake.  I watched Anthem go by.  I watched Skunk Creek and Bumble Bee go by.  And I tried to see things, but they were blurry.  The watery eyes made it impossible for me to take a photo.  Not even one.  Even when the sun went down, and the colors in the sky were breath taking.  Even when the giant harvest moon came up.  Not one photo.  Even when the giant orange harvest moon was reflecting in the water of Lake Powell....not even then.  Not one photo. 

5.  It is difficult to take a photo when it is dark outside.  There isn't any light.

Those images are in my mind.  They are in my heart.  They will never again look the same to me.  I have seen the land many times, but never through the eyes I had on that day, or that night.  Those images contain my feelings as well.  And no photo, no photographer could capture that!

So, on we drove, long into the night.  And we were tired.  We had loaded the giant big truck, cleaned up the empty house, let our hearts break, and drove hundreds of miles that day.   Yes, we were very tired!

I had finished reading my book.  I didn't have anything to do after the sun went down.  So, I watched the moon.  I called my kids and told them to go look at it.  I knew my kids could see the moon at the same time I could see it, and that made us feel closer.  If only just a little. 

I also asked my girls to try and find us a room in Kanab, Utah.  We were too tired to go any farther.  They got on their computers and started looking.  I would get a text every few minutes that they hadn't found anything with a vacancy.  What was the next town we could get to?  Panguich, Utah.....it was so much farther away when you are that tired.....  Keep trying girls...we are really tired.

My DH was listening to a book on his iPod and keeping his feelings buried.  He does that.  He will examine those feelings days or even weeks from now, but he can't just yet.

Suddenly, out of no where.....literally, as we were on a road that is in the middle of no where, there were lights behind us.  Blue and red flashing lights.  You know the ones.  The ones where you say something intelligent like, "OH, shucks".

We pulled over.

6.  It is difficult to take a photo of an officer approaching you in the dark.

Officer approaches our giant big truck.  His spotlight was in the side mirror of the driver.  The officers flashlight was in the side mirror of the passenger.  We were lite up!  The officer approaches, cautiously, on the passenger side of the giant big truck.  That is where I am sitting.

"Good evening officer."


"What seems to be the problem, sir?"

Looking past me, over to the man who was sitting behind the wheel, the one who looked like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car, the officer said, "May I see your license?"

At this point I am not sure of the exact words but the Idaho drivers license was shown to the Utah officer.  The Utah officer commented on the Arizona plates on the giant big truck.  So, the driver of the giant big truck explained about the move to Idaho, the job in Arizona, and we needed a motel in Utah.  I had to add a little tidbit to the officer.  It was something like, "We are retiring!"  I got the feeling that he really didn't care.  He wanted to know if he could see the paper work for the rental of the giant big truck.

When he realized we are harmless, less fortunate, retiring, old people, who are moving ourselves instead of hiring a big "we will do it for you" company, he was very helpful.  We told him we wanted a motel to stay in, and do you know that smart officer of the law did know of a motel.  It was in Kanab, Utah, and 2 hours earlier he had noticed a "vacancy" sign there.  He explained it had recently reopened and it wasn't too bad. 

That sweet officer saved us that night, in more ways than one. 

1.  He woke us up when we were getting very tired.
2.  He gave us accurate information and we were able to find a room that was old but clean.
3.  He delayed us so we didn't hit the deer that tried crossing the road a few miles north. Someone else in front of us hit the deer. We were able to swerve and miss the deer on the road.
4.  And when the on coming car started to cross the center line in the road, we were kept safe.

That officer helped us get a good nights sleep.  We were able to get back into that giant big truck the next morning with a fresh start.  I could sit vertically in the crowded truck and bounce along on the bumpy Utah roads.  I could take pictures of sage brush and tiny fences and enjoy the new day.

This country looks different everytime I drive on this road.  Every season is something different.   In the fall the sagebrush flowers in bright yellow clusters.  The cedar trees are a darker green, as they prepare for winter to come.  The road has less traffic in the fall, as the children are back in school and summer vacations are over for most people.  The mountains are preparing for the snow which will soon cover them. 

These photos are from a little stretch on Highway 20.  I love this road.  We leave Interstate 17 and cross on the 20 to meet Interstate 15.  That is the interstate we stay on.  (Earlier this summer I drove from San Diego, California on Interstate 15 all the way to Idaho Falls, Idaho......in one day!)  Interstate 15 is very familiar to me.  Today, it feels a little bit like home. 

Highway 20 is taking us to Interstate 15, which is taking us home.

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happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.