Today marks two weeks that we have been on the road on our grand adventure. They have been, without comparison, two of the most intense weeks of my entire life.
Everything started out relatively normally: we left Yakima several hours later than we had planned to, had a lovely stopover in Boise, then launched ourselves south, heading for Las Vegas.
We made it as far as Buhl, Idaho. I’ll share that story soon. It seemed like a doozy at the time, but now it’s just a drop in the bucket. We lost six hours, and found out that everyone in Buhl takes their car to the mechanic on Wednesday afternoon.
After our tiny misadventure in Buhl, we pushed through the lovely Great Basin, slept among the big rigs on the side of the road at Lages Junction (a place Google Maps does not believe exists), debated among ourselves the correct pronunciation of Ely (turns out: EE-lee), and rolled into Las Vegas just in time to catch the beginning of an unexpected, unbearable hot spell.
Our time in Las Vegas really deserves several posts. It was the best time I’ve ever had in that city, and also the sickest that I have ever been as an adult. Even with the horrible illness, there was so much love shared (toward us, for Carlos’s grandmother, among the family in general) that I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky to have spent that time there. We meant to stay from Thursday night through Monday morning; I don’t even remember most of Monday, and it was Wednesday again before we left town.
From Las Vegas we headed north, sadly skipping our planned visit to the Bay Area, and taking an incredibly beautiful and completely wrong detour through Lassen Volcanic National Park. We saw the famed mystery-fox (about which I can currently not find any solid info?) at Randolph E. Collier Memorial Rest Area. I love that there is a Yelp page for this rest area, and also that people don’t seem to understand what the purpose of a roadside rest area is. Oh, people…
Once we left Collier, things went a little sideways. Or, a lot sideways. Let’s just say, for now, that we learned a lot about our van, and how quickly people on the road lose their sense of others’ humanity. This story, too, is a post for another time.
At the end of all this misadventuring, we made it, by the skin of our teeth, back into the “smelly, bipolar, occasionally naked arms” of our alma mater (to use Carlos’s phrase). No part of our journey so far has gone quite according to plan, but at every stop we have found exactly the thing we have set out looking for: love. The love of my family, the love of Carlos’s family, the love of an understanding mechanic, the love of the people whose hearts call the same place home. It has been a strong reminder of exactly why we are doing this, and the necessity of keeping our eyes and hearts open to the signs in the world around us.