Day Two – Road Trip ‘21

Day Two.

A lot more road, a lot of rain, a lot of relationships.

It was a weird night. So tired from the drive and the hike. Yet sleep eluded me. Maybe it was the distance between my love and I — or that there was more driving to do once I woke. I’m used to hotels, but this one seemed to suck out of me the ability to sleep. Finally, I pulled the sheets off the bed, covered the couch and sprawled out on it – sleep came quickly and lasted long.

Morning was great. Who doesn’t like a hotel breakfast that has been adapted for Covid – everything is individually wrapped, microwaveable, and such. It was no Granny Bees (my normal local breakfast spot.) But I count it such a blessing.

Before I headed out, I did one more round to the National Park. I realized yesterday I visited the western mountain portion of the park. While it held beautiful, more primitive trails and the highest point in the ZigZag Mountain range, it wasn’t the most visited section. So I drove back and went to the iconic Mountain Tower. The drive up the mountain was switchbacks galore – right, left, hairpin turns, and keep repeating. The altitude change wasn’t too drastic. I’ve driven the Blue Ridge/Smokies and the Rockies. I’ve visited Zion and Yosemite. But this one was wonderful too. And at the zenith of the drive was the Tower.

This historic landmark isn’t the original tower – nature, fire, wear and tear made that one replaced and updated over the years. I paid my fee, and ascended the spire. Beauty. Majestic. Calming in its grandeur. Seeing the surrounding mountain range makes one feel a spirit of tranquility – even with storm clouds, nothing took away from this moment. It and countless moments of reaching an apex and overseeing the wonder of God’s creation is one of the reasons I continue to hike up hills and bergs.

Once descended and back in the historic town, I stopped to see some actual ‘hot springs.’ I mean, its name came from them. When you read and discover the history, the legends, and the celebrities that had partook in the experience of the hot springs – it draws you into the legacy that embraces the location. It’s like I became part of the history itself. Next time – I will stay at the historic Arlington hotel.

This time, I just walked the historic zone, embracing the moment. Peg Leg was with me. He did his photo shoot and made a few friends. That’s one of the perks of traveling the National Parks – meeting people from all over. I walked for a bit with a young man from Ohio. I gave a water and shared a conversation with an elderly man from Oregon who returned to Hot Springs to visit where he grew up. I took a picture for a Colorado Springs Couple by the hot spring. West Virginia, Florida, Texas … coast to coast, border to border. Americans are not only what you see on the nightly news (riots, protests, etc.) It’s made up of wonderful, friendly, caring people. People exploring sea to shining sea.

So now the 5 hours to Dallas. Interestingly, once I got back not the road, the rain hit. Not too bad (at first), but enough to make one drive more defensively. I made the road south … and every mile, every minute, brought me closer to my destination – to see my son whom I haven’t seen since last autumn. Twice a year is all he can handle.

Once I came close – it was like the forces of nature wanted to make it a battle – torrents of rain, lightning, hail, limited visibility – the way the quick Texas storms can pop up, move around, and shake one up to the bone. At one overpass, a large wave of water came from the truck just ahead and to the left. My steady four wheeled steed was shaken and I hit a water pocket – knuckles white and prayers lifted – I was going school zone speed, but my wheels momentarily were on the top of the water and not cutting through them. With the back side of the 4Runner slipping slightly, swimming the top of the water, I hydroplaned for the briefest and longest few seconds. Maybe it was the heavier weight from carrying the oak, maybe it was my excellent driving skills (ha, not), or maybe the providential protection from our Lord – but the wheels caught and I felt myself breathing again.

I made it through and I made it to their homestead. Reunion, smiles, fist bumps (not a hugging person is genetic for both father-son.) Great conversation, great time just being together – me, son, daughter-in-law (and two dogs who dominated the conversation.) After a quick Krogers run by Calvin & I, she cooked dinner and we enjoyed the shared meal. Then, we watched Godzilla vs Kong. How is Tokyo still in existence after the many times Godzilla has destroyed that city?

The beauty of nature. The danger of nature. Both seen in the same day. And God is there in both and all between.

The legacy of locations draws one in, but in the end, these type of locations remind us there is something we are all searching for, a place to connect, a purpose for being. This existential discussion is way beyond this blog. Yet we all face it, we all yearn for something. From all over, from all walks of life – we search fo that which fulfills. And that fulfillment can only be temporarily met in creation – it is only truly fulfilled in the creator. Look beyond creation something greater.

And finally, day two reminded me we are creatures created for relationships. We need each other. (SPOILER ALERT AHEAD) – Kong realized he needed Godzilla, Godzilla realized he needed Kong. A great line – He is not your enemy. Too often we make enemies of others when they are not our enemies – they are people just like ourselves looking for something. Our enemy is not flesh and blood. We need to wake up to that fact.

Such ends the lesson from Day Two – what will tomorrow hold?

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