On the road again. Facing new challenges and overcoming some home sickness but I know that here is where I want to be. The novelty of the van has worn off a bit. At first everything was so cute and small, but I am finding myself getting pretty frustrated with having to move thirty things every time I needed something. And then strategically having to put all of those thirty things back in their place. Below freezing temperatures also taught me a few lessons about the van, but I am learning and becoming much more experienced and prepared.
I feel pretty naive in admitting that I definitely underestimated the mountains. Like I realized that these were going to be tall winding roads, I had driven through them this past summer when I visited Breckenridge. However, it is entirely different when you are hauling a three ton van with zero horse power in the middle of winter. This should have been so very obvious to me, but in my adventure, conquer the world, woman mode I was apparently oblivious.
Even more so when after this stressful night of mountain crawling (5 hours to travel a mere 180 miles) I decided to visit the Colorado National Monument Park. I spent quite some time talking to the ranger from inside my van at the entrance about spots to check out. He must have thought I was an incredible driver or that the van was a super hero or that maybe I was in fact educated on the terrain because he didn't mention the thousand foot drops without guard rails around very sharp turns. But of course, once you get to the top, there is only one way back down. I was literally judging the cliffs based on the likelihood I would survive if we drove off of one. Ranging from “Definitely Dying” to “I would probably have time to jump out first.”
Needless to say, we survived.
I am now further west than I have ever been. It may seem silly to most people, but I have not traveled much. This last year I averaged 1-2 vacations monthly, but prior to that, the furthest I would get was an occasional camping trip to northern Michigan or a weekend getaway to Chicago. Growing up I remember camping a lot in the summers. We had a travel trailer, but because my parents owned a business we were not ever far from home. I just took my very first plane ride last year. So this is BIG for me. This is far from all of my comforts and safe havens. But it’s happening and I am proud and empowered. Driving through Utah and Nevada today and just taking in the breathtaking scenery. It feels surreal, like how did I not know that it looked like this out here. How is there so much that I am missing out on. I considered mounting the camera to the dash and just filming the entire ride because I wanted to put it in my pocket and keep it always.
So this is what the rest of the journey is going to entail. A lot of new. All places I have never been before. The trip is only halfway over and it is already so much more than I had expected. All that I see and all that I feel. Making new friendships and visiting old ones. The changes that I see in myself. I feel blessed beyond measure and so ridiculously thankful every single day.
Next stop, California.