Road Trip ‘20 … Day One – Breaking Curfew

PREFACE: this will be a collection of personal thoughts and practical lessons learned along the way on this seven day road trip. This is Day 1, Part A.

It was a stealthy adventure. I took advantage of a lull before my responsibilities go back to full swing in a few weeks. I headed west to surprise visit my son whom I haven’t seen in eight months. I knew his work schedule (I had connected with his boss … cohorts everywhere).

But I didn’t tell his new wife. Could I trust her? Love her, yes. But would she let it slip and ruin my surprise? She was trying to plan for me to do a surprise visit in August, but I was ahead of the game in this sneakiness. Only one woman do I trust with secrets.

So Sunday afternoon, I loaded the 4Runner and headed out from Virginia and went west. It wasn’t a direct path to Dallas. I headed by way of Colorado. If you look at a map, you will see this is a long way (a very long way) to get to The Lone Star State.

Calvin and Tiffany gave me a poster of National Parks’ bucket list. I planned to knock four of them off before I got to Dallas. The first on the list was the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. There were some snags to this. First, the Arch isclosed due to COVID. However, you can visit the grounds and walk around. And a second snag, the city was in a curfew lock down due to riots and violent protests … this is the city in which the former police chief was killed.

I planned to arrive at 6am, when curfew was lifted but before rush hour. I got there at 4am. Then, I took a wrong exit and ended up in a seedy part of town. Maybe being early morning and I was breaking the law just made it look seedy. I weaved around the city streets to arrive around the Arch. No parking lots were available, no way to get out and walk, nothing seemed to be working out. And then … a car started following me (at least he was going the same way I was and he was behind me).

Would I be arrested? Would my road trip end here? Would Lisa have to come bail me out? Or worse? A lot goes through one’s head at 4am when you’re breaking the law. I made my way to the area directly in front of the Arch, snapped my photo of proof, and headed out.

Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois down. Now Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado. Would I ever get through Kansas? Miles and miles of wind farms. I did get a view of Arrowhead Stadium, but the Royals’ stadium blocked the view.

I made it to Colorado, but that’s for Part B. Mountains, brakes fail, snow storm, Arby’s runs out of roast beef … crazy times.

Road Trips are fine … life is kind of like a road trip anyway. We journey through life till we reach our final destination. Some plans work out, some don’t. There are highs, there are lows.

Here are some opening lessons I learned …

  • I loved the adventure, the experiences, and seeing new places. But there is something about being around people you love that make it better. Fortunately, the real goal of this trip was seeing my son, not marking off places on a list. And that made the trip worth it.
  • I wish would’ve spent less time doing the trails and more time with family … even if only a couple hours after his work
  • I would’ve rather have taken him along with me on the road trip. Some of my best memories in life are the road trips with Calvin. Next time, no other option.
  • Soooooo … spend time today with people you love. Appreciate them.

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