“Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God” (Kurt Vonnegut), and so they seemed as my travel buddy and I looked at the atlas and plotted our route from one point of interest to another. We didn’t want to take the same way home as when we came. Besides, all the places we wanted to visit weren’t on the same highways. Although we knew our route going out, we didn’t know the way going back.
That was part of the adventure.
For a different slant on the journey, read Out West (part 1), written three days after I returned home, and two days after we learned something bad—something unexpected—happened while we were gone. That precipitated another journey, shorter than the first, yet another week gone from the comforts of my own bed, my own space. My thoughts were grim, and I knew it. So I added “part 1” to the post title, knowing I would come back around to a brighter perspective, and write more then.
“A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable” (Billy Graham).
As a kid, I tended to laugh when others didn’t. There were plenty of times when everyone else laughed but I didn’t get the joke, true. Still, what’s not funny about a German Shepherd casually peeing on the neighbor’s Christmas tree?
Well, yeah, there are packages and a mess to clean up, but the absurdity of the whole thing—the unexpectedness—is funny.
So is this:
That’s for all my fellow SF nerds—don’t tell me you can’t see it!
And this cool/weird/funky site was photographed on our way west:
There’s more than one Devil’s Slide, but these limestone outcroppings are in Utah, and you can see much cooler shots than mine on the Wiki page.
Speaking of Utah, below are shots of the salt flats at sunset, still two days away from home. I remember crossing the flats when I was a kid, and thinking they would never end. Perhaps adulthood has given a different perspective, or perhaps a camera, awesome light, and impending night removed that sense of forever.
A few days before the flats, however, we were in the mountains, visiting Crater Lake and environs.
On the way down the mountain, we passed Annie Falls.
And by “passed”, I mean we drove by it twice. It was a Griswald family vacation moment (“Look kids! Big Ben!”).
We could hear the falls, we just couldn’t see them.
But find them we did.
Since the falls were so far down and surrounded by trees, I found camera fodder closer to hand:
In the first post about the trip, I said I’d likely never go back, but I could. I miss the mountains and the pines and the wide-open places. Maybe that’s why I feel restless going east, but curiously calm going west. An excited calm, y’know?
Doesn’t mean there’s nothing east that interests me, but maybe there’s a tug in my soul toward places I used to live growing up, toward places I read about with wonder when I was a kid.
I like my comforts, but I like—out there.
Were I alive when the West was still being explored, would I have traveled the Oregon Trail or the California Trail, or would I have only read about the exploits of others from my chair in a cozy sitting room east of the Mississippi?
I would hate to think I would miss all this:
Despite my grim prediction that I wouldn’t go back except to travel the Pacific Coast Highway, I just may have to open the atlas again and let God give me dancing lessons.