“Remember that time…?” I think those are three of my favorite words, especially coming out of the mouth of one of my kids. It is almost always followed by a laughable mishap on the road during one of our adventures over the last two years. Funny how catastrophes can turn into comedies, isn’t it? We had one of those conversations this week. I forget how it started, but Asia said those three words and the next hour was full of “Oh, and remember the time…?” Laughter, groans, and “Oh, yes, that was horrible,” or some variation of that, inevitably with a smile on their face. There was the time Siri led us smack dab to the dead end of a long gravel road where a rest stop used to be, pulling a 35 foot fifth-wheeler. That one ended up with us getting towed out of a muddy corn field for $250. Or there was the time we got stuck on the side of the road in the desert for three hours and I got fried going back and forth from where Erich was troubleshooting some wires on the truck and where the kids were in the camper, hiding from the sun. Then there was all the times our camper ran out of propane, in the middle of the night, in the Tetons or on the coast of Washington, in the dead of winter. One of my favorite memories was when we thought we could get to Peek-a-boo Canyon in Utah with our truck, not realizing the road was pure sand until we got on it. It was at least a foot deep, for three miles. We knew we were too heavy to get towed out, so we let the air out of our tires and pushed on. It felt like we were floating on clouds. That was the most fun I’ve ever had four-wheeling, even though I was certain we were going to be stuck in the desert again. Oh, and the time the fifth-wheeler almost flipped on the freeway in Montana, or the time we got stuck at the rest stop in Oregon in the snow storm for 24 hours, or the time an entire wheel flew off the fifth-wheeler in Northern California. One of the worst times, was when we were camping up at the top of Beartooth and Erich got such a bad headache, he was throwing up. I had to hitch up, move the kids to the truck, and drive down one of the most dangerous highways in the middle of the night towing our little trailer. I almost hit a deer, I’m pretty sure I hit his tail, it was so close. Another time, we were headed up to the Bighorns pulling an ATV we had borrowed, on our way to our favorite CCC cabin, and our radiator sprung a leak. Erich did the best he could to patch it, but we had to turn around and head home. The next day we hitched up to the Flex and took off again, to make the most of what was left of the weekend, only to get half way there and realize the key to the ATV was still on the truck keychain. But, our kids are as relentless as us, so I hung out with the kids at a McDonalds while Erich drove all the way back home and grabbed the keys. We only had about a day left of fun, but man, we were glad we persevered, exploring the Bighorns on an ATV was one of my favorite experiences. One of the kids’ favorites to bring up is always, “Remember when River threw up at the Bryce Canyon Visitor Center?” Yes, yes we do. Then there was the only chance we got to visit Yosemite and it rained almost the whole time. The kids will never forget trying to hide from the bugs and the sun in the shade of a giant saguaro cactus. Or the hail storm that totaled the Flex, the tree we bumped at Yellowstone, oooh, or the time we thought we were going to be stuck on the road in the middle of Lamar Valley, overnight, with the bears and the wolves. So many good memories of trips gone wrong! Oh, and the worst hike ever in our lives was at the top of Beartooth, the mosquitoes were giant and relentless. We got off trail, because it wasn’t marked, and got our feet wet in the marsh, and just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it started to hail so hard it hurt. Worst hike ever.
After this contract, we will have a few more stories to add: remember the sewage gases leaking into our cabin for 9 days? Remember the rats and the termites? Remember inhaling gnats while riding the zipline? Remember Covid and the quarantine? But the BEST part about remembering all these adventuring mishaps, is after all the reminiscing, one of our kids will pipe up and say, “But we always make it, that’s the cool part.” It’s true too, we do always make it. Father always provides a way. He has proven it time and again, so much so, that the kids know it. When the truck breaks down, or we don’t know what to do, or crap happens, nobody freaks out. We all know it by now. He will get us through, He will pull us out on the other side, and on that other side; there will be reminiscing and laughing and remembering when. I think it’s safe to say that the knowledge that He always gets us through, even makes us a little braver. We explore more, take more risks, step out a little farther. It’s kind of like learning to ride your bike; you know how you felt safer knowing that your dad’s hand was hovering just behind your seat, waiting to catch you? Yep, that’s a good feeling. We’ve had some rough days, but we are better for it, and it makes my heart happy knowing that even my kids know it.
Life lesson today: Don’t be so afraid of dying that you forget to live.