Since we’ve returned, and even during the trip we were asked, “What’s your favorite part?” Stumped, neither Will, Sara Kathryn nor I could easily articulate one answer to this seemingly basic question. Many reasons exist for our delayed responses. Was there just one thing that captured us? I don’t think there was. Each new exposure to a fabulous vista, smell, taste, scene or city built on what we had seen the days before. Each experience was like a rose petal opening from the bud. Put together these experiences are a floribunda rose bush in full, fragrant bloom!
When you spend three weeks exploring parts of the great West of our country you see many varied and beautiful landscapes. Our country is wide. Its vistas are vast and the repeated “Ahhh” moments only increased as the miles went by. We put exactly 2400 miles on the rental vehicle. Other miles were accumulated on paid tours of San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma and other areas. Gas out West ran $3.89 mostly, and that was the cash price! Returning home to $3.20 seemed a true bargain! We took well over 800 pictures with the camera and many more on our respective phones. To remember all we saw we have to consult the photos. We saw so much! We did so much! It was one of the trips of a lifetime.
My answer to the “What’s your favorite part” question it this. I basked in seeing my two children open their eyes to the beauty of some of my favorite places. These included Sedona with its red rocks and Vortex sights. The Grand Canyon with its sheer vastness of space, depth, time shown by geologic rock layers and the stunning quiet of the place when one is away from the crowds and cars. Travelling a bit of Route 66 and seeing nostalgia frozen in time, recalling a time with less stress in everyone’s lives. Vegas shows and bright lights….oh OK, I lost $15 playing the slots! The Mohave Desert, Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park. The General Sherman Tree, the largest by mass in the world grows the equivalent of a 50 foot tree one foot in diameter a year! The sheer cliffs in Kings Canyon national park caused our necks to bend backward to take them in. Yosemite with its waterfalls, beautiful vistas and clear streams that were more beautiful than any of Ansel Adams photographs. Monterey and Big Sur for the perfect cloudless days and temperatures where the highs were only in the mid 60’s! Seafood, wonderful seafood at every restaurant including Dungeness crab, oysters 8 inches long and more. Whale watching and being amazed at the size of humpbacks. The 17 mile drive with its lone cypress standing as a 125 year old survivor of harsh winds and tough conditions. Crashing surf on rocky cliffs was such a contrast to our flat sandy beaches. Wine country. Lake Tahoe. The abundance of produce grown in the San Joaquin Valley where 160 acres is a small track of land. A family reunion and wedding in Reno where we helped construct the cake that looked like an aspen log.
Three weeks went by so fast. I was blessed to be able to take this precious time with my children celebrating their graduations. They and I will be recalling stories and memories for far longer than the three weeks we spent exploring.
Life passes so fast. One of my dear, dear clients passed on while I was gone. I had occasion to talk by phone to him while I was sitting in a rocking chair overlooking the Grand Canyon. Four days later he was gone. He’d wanted to remind me about how he was leaving some money to his housekeeper of 30 years and how he wanted me to take care of her. Even though Hospice was attending him and he knew his days were numbered, he was thinking of her and wanted to remind me to be sure to help her make good use of the funds she would inherit. We always shared a joke and a laugh together. He was a man of great stature, good intentions, good humor and a caring for others that many could learn from. He, like this trip, touched my life and made a difference.
I encourage you to carve out some time and take your family away from the media, noise and fast paced decisions and interruptions we all deal with daily. Go some place you’ve never been in our country. Experience something you’ve always wanted to see. I can guarantee you will learn new things about each person and make memories that will outlast your years! Don’t keep waiting for the right time. Getting around-to-it usually never manifests unless we plan, schedule and commit ourselves to taking action.
And isn’t that like everything in life?