Midnight Musings

I’m laying in bed with a million thoughts running through my brain. You’re welcome to tag along, if you’d like.

Why do bad things happen? I’ve never really focused or got stuck on that concept and I’m not sure why. I’ve certainly had my share of tough situations. I know that it’s a common thing. Why? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? Why did it happen to me?

I have a vague recollection of my dad saying that there’s no point in focusing on “The Why.” I think he shared that with me either after his mom died or after Nathaniel died. He wasn’t saying it in a dismissive way. I believe he was encouraging me to accept that sometimes bad or difficult things happen. We don’t always have control over our circumstances but we do have the ability to choose how we act and react moving forward. Getting stuck focused on circumstances beyond our control doesn’t help us; but we do have the ability to focus on and choose what to do next.

I wonder if it has something to do with assigning blame. Does “the why” look to figure out what went wrong so there’s something or someone to blame? Or is it just a distraction? Is it our minds looking to shift focus from feeling to doing in an effort to alleviate pain? Hmmmm…

Is it possible to search for solutions without assigning blame? This is a weird thought trail I’m wandering down. I think it must be possible? Right?

I have this song playing on repeat inside my head and heart tonight.

All my life You have been faithful. All my life You have been so SO good. With every breathe that I am able. I will sing of the Goodness of God.

I want to always remember that my life has been so filled with goodness and love and grace; and that nothing can take away from that. That goodness and love and grace can coexist along side the tragedy and heartbreak that we experience; and although they don’t take away the pain or hurt, maybe just maybe, they fill our heart and soul with enough light and comfort that it makes it all just a little more manageable.

Day 20 – Utah, Idaho and Oregon

We’ve started retracing our steps heading back home. The plan today was to go from Snowville, Utah to Pendleton, Oregon.

It’s a 6.5 hour trip BUT…we get to cross a time zone so we gain an hour. It’s much nicer going this way because losing an hour sucks. Although honestly, by 9pm we were tired because it would have been 10pm. Or maybe it’s just exhausting navigating 4 people and their feelings and emotions inside of a truck and trailer for 3 weeks.

I was up by 7:30am and made coffee and set the trailer straight. I actually LOVE the simplicity and straightforwardness of trailer living. Everything has a place. You only have what you need. You use something, you put it back in its place so it’s easy to find when you need it next. It’s easier to do that on a small scale. I need to find a way to scale that for our house. I do have lots of things set up like that but it’s harder to stay on top of it when it’s a larger home and there are more people involved.

We got on the road just after 10am. The boys are ready to go home. They miss good internet and the comfort of their own bedrooms. First world problems.

We stopped for gas at a station in Sublett called “Middle of Nowhere” and they had a pen on the property with goats and alpacas and donkeys. They were adorable. It was a nice surprise and opportunity to stretch our legs and see cute animals.

We carried on driving through Idaho. We had the most fabulous tailwinds and just cruised our way through Idaho toward Oregon.

Between navigating Google Maps (like a boss), planning our routes, booking RV sites, writing blog posts and looking up interesting facts of information about our travels; I have also knit or crochet 5 dishcloths. I’ve even tried patterns that I’ve never made before. Crazy, right?

We’ve also listened to a variety of podcasts while on the road. From murder mysteries, to unsolved mysteries, medical mysteries, stand up comedy, talk shows and even the above one about women of the Wild West. It’s been an eclectic mix interspersed with current pop hits, country music, classic rock and our favourite, radio roulette. You just keep hitting the button until something comes on clear.

The weather has been pretty good for us but we can definitely tell that we are getting closer to the Pacific Northwest. It’s colder and wetter and there’s a whole lot more evergreens than we have seen. The skies have been cloudy and stormy looking for most of today. Still beautiful in their moody brooding way though.

Siah exclaimed, “Well, this looks familiar.” as we approached Pendleton. He didn’t mean the city but the landscape as we were passing through forests of evergreens interspersed with packs of snow on the ground. It definitely looks like home.

We pulled into the Pendleton KOA around 5:30pm and off towards the Blue Mountains a storm was looming. We even got a storm warning on the weather app. There was a gorgeous double rainbow that Jon called us outside to see.

We ordered pizza delivery to our campsite – how fun is that – and even watched a few shows that we had previously downloaded. We hunkered in expecting the storm to blow through overnight but it, thankfully, missed us.

It was a quiet night and we only have a few more days ‘till we’re home. This time has been such a gift and we have so many incredible memories that we will treasure for a lifetime. I’m so grateful that we were able to do this.

Day 19 – Utah

It wasn’t a HUGE travel day but we are tired and definitely feeling our almost 3 weeks on the road. We left Moab at 10:30am and the plan was to head towards Garland, Utah.

Look at all the smiles.

We drove North West up through Provo and Salt Lake City.

The red in the rocks are from rust and the green is created when the iron in the rock reacted differently and at a lower concentration than the iron that caused the orange. It’s all just so pretty; and so different than what we typically see in BC.

We travelled out of the desert and into snow dusted mountains. There were lots of dead zones with no coverage as we drove through Utah.

I find it absolutely fascinating how the landscape can so dramatically change as you drive within only a few hours.

We decided to not go to Garland but to head to Snowville which is only about 10 mins from the Idaho border. It’s an interesting aspect of our journey. Trying to find a location to travel to that’s not too far away but has a decent looking RV park. It’s lots to juggle especially because once you book a spot you are kind of committed and hoping that everything goes smoothly between where you are and where you’re headed. Along the way there’s gas to get, bathroom visits to be made, food to eat and sometimes a break because you’re tired and feeling way too close to a meltdown.

We made it to The Hitching Post in Snowville, Utah sometime after 6pm. I’ve got to give a huge shout out to Jonathan for his graciousness with my navigating skills. I can organize and plan like a Fortune 500’s top Administrator but Google maps confounds me. We have needed to reroute more times than I can count because I struggle to read the map and follow Google’s directions. Trying to find The Hitching Post in Snowville was no exception. But in my defence, we have gotten to travel some of the cutest and bumpy back roads as we circle around and we would never have had that opportunity without my exceptional navigation skills.

So I’d like to think it’s a win for all and really what’s a few extra moments when you get to see the sights that hide off the main roads.

We pulled into the bustling RV park. If you look really hard, you can find our rig in the photo.

There was the cutest diner back on the Main Street and it has real food. So we went there for dinner.

If you get a chance, you should ask my boys about these cute little houses that the owner’s son makes. They were surprising and so adorable.

We enjoyed our food and then headed back to the quiet campsite. We are not too far away from home now. It’s only going to be a few more days and I’m feeling all the feels. I have loved this trip and I’m ready and not ready to go home. We have learned a lot and if we have another opportunity to do a road trip, I would jump at the chance. It’s definitely a core memory!

Day 18 – Broken Arch (Part 4)

We left Sand Dune arch and walked towards Broken Arch.

It was quite a bit further than any of the walks we’d done up till now and if Siah wasn’t hobbling, it wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

It wasn’t a difficult walk. Mostly sandy pathways. Sometimes there was hard rock or loose shale.

There were times when you had to climb up the jagged rocks or down over smoothed out formations but nothing terribly difficult.

I was wearing my Birkenstock sandals and had no issues navigating anywhere I wanted to go.

There were all these little holes in the ground. I’m guessing some kind of prairie dog or gopher.

The guys were pretty pumped that there was a campground in the park and if it weren’t close to 6pm at this point, we may have gone and investigated.

It took about 10-15 minutes of meandering to get to Broken Arch. Jon took this panoramic shot from a bluff just above the small canyon that sits below the Arch. Fantastic, isn’t it?

The boys were in heaven. Climbing and taking photos. Chattering at each other and finding new, interesting things to show each other and us.

It was a bit of a climb up to Broken Arch and I didn’t feel like making it so I hung out in the little canyon while Jon and the boys explored.

The way the water and wind has worn down parts of the earth is fascinating and gorgeous.

You could spend days here and keep finding new things to be in awe of. I’m SO glad it worked out that we were able to visit.

Through the arch there is a loop that leads to another arch but it was getting later, boys were tired, Siah’s leg hurt, there was an impending bathroom break and we decided to head back the way we came.

The sensory aspect of the sand was just too fabulous and so our walk back took longer than expected.

The colors and shapes of the plants always captures my attention This trip has been absolutely filled with beautiful plants and wildflowers.

We got back to our vehicle and drove through the rest of the park.

I have so many more photos that I haven’t shared but will definitely be in a photo book that we will treasure forever. One of my favourite moments was when Jude said, “This is going to be a cherished memory when we get back to Canada. It’s definitely a core memory.”

I love it when he shares his thoughts and feelings with us. We slowly drove out of the park and back into the city of Moab. We stopped at a grocery store to grab a few things and then we headed back to our campsite.

I put the groceries away and made some dinner while the boys went swimming and Jon did a load of laundry. It was a nice relaxing end to an incredible day.

Day 18 – Sand Dune Arch (Part 3)

Even when just driving from station to station within the Park the views are incredible.

We pulled into the parking lot and we’re greeted by this stunning view.

To gain some perspective, Jon got this picture of Siah standing at the base of this giant.

Inside of this landform is Sand Dune Arch. It was my favourite experience of the park. We walked towards this landform on a gravel path.

You see a narrow space in between the columns and with no idea what you’re walking into, you head inside.

The pathway in, is squishy and awkward. The ground is slightly sloped and there’s sand on top of hardened rock and you really should use both hands to steady yourself as you slip through the opening into the magical world inside.

The temperature drops a few degrees and the wind is cool and blows steady against you. The pathway opens up into this quiet space that feels sacred. It’s awe inspiring.

The sand is cool and powdery soft. It’s a sensory delight. You kind of want to lay down and just soak it all in. I know that sounds weird but it was amazing.

The first space widens into an open sky chamber and you can hear your voice echo slightly as you call out to each other. I had the most incredible urge to sing. To join my voice with sounds and beings that have gone before and are here now, in gratitude for this incredible wonder.

As the walls narrow to lead you into the next chamber , the strength of the wind blowing through and against you, increases. It reminded me of the times when life seems narrow and restricted and the things coming at you seem to intensify. If you can press on and press through, you just don’t know what will open up for you; or what wonders you are about to step in to.

The space opened up and revealed wonders that aren’t visible from the outside. It’s only when you press in, that you get to see the beauty that’s here and available, if you’re willing.

There were other visitors in the area with us and although everyone was quiet and respectful; I wished I could have had a moment alone in this place. To just sit down and be quiet and BE in this place.

As you carry on passed the arch, the crevasse gets smaller and smaller.

Siah squished in as far as he could go. Silly boy. It’s amazing to see how happy the boys were; no screens, no devices, just nature.

We stayed for a while longer but then headed out to go and see Broken Arch.

I’m gonna break this up into one more post. We got a lot of pictures from our hike towards Broken Arch; and it’s easier than creating a super long extended post.

Day 18 – Moab – Arches National Park (Part 2)

We drove into the park and up and up and up. When we entered the park, we were given a map. It’s a huge park. HUGE! You could easy spend days here and not be disappointed or bored.

Our first stop was at the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint. We pulled off to the viewing area and parked.

There are so many pictures that we took and I honestly don’t even know how to narrow them down.

This is just the first viewpoint that we stopped at and there is so much more.

We got back in the car and carried on until we came to this formation called “The Organ”

The photo doesn’t do this justice. We took a video and it’s incredible and even then, still doesn’t translate.

We drove past The Great Wall and the Petrified Dunes and headed to Balanced Rock because the boys were desperate to get out of the vehicle and walk around.

There was a short easy walk around the base of Balanced Rock and we started with that.

It started out on a cement path and progressed to more of a trampled pathway through the the sand and brush.

It doesn’t matter which way you turn or what you look at; the colors, the shapes, the textures – everything is so incredibly gorgeous!

Even dead trees are gorgeous.

Look, it’s true! I really was here!

Siah twisted his ankle while monkeying around Balanced Rock. He probably should have quit at that point but he kept going. We packed back into the truck and headed to the Lower and Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoints. I believed that the hike to the actual Delicate Arch would be too much for Siah’s ankle.

Quartz on a rock on the pathway up

The Lower Viewpoint was nothing and both boys swore they could make the Upper Viewpoint, although they seemed quite happy to stop about 3/4’s of the way up the path. It’s a decent incline on a sandy, rocky path.

Delicate Arch from the Upper Viewpoint

After we made it back down the path and to our truck; we headed to the Fiery Furnace Viewpoint to use the toilets and from there we headed to see the Sand Dune Arch and planned to do the circuit of Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch.

I’m going to split this into another part because otherwise it’s going to be just too long……to be continued!

Day 18 – New Mexico to Utah (Part 1)

One of our propane tanks ran out in the night and it was really cold last night. Jon got up this morning and switched tanks and the heater came back on and all was right in our world. We made coffee, ate breakfast, packed up the Trailer for travel and hit the road right on schedule at 10am.

We left Farmington, New Mexico and headed towards Colorado. It was a beautiful sunny day but not warm.

It was a short trip through the bottom corner of Colorado and into Utah.

The closer we got to Moab the more incredible the landscape got.

Mesa’s, plateaus, faults, arches…..so many incredible sights to see and we weren’t even at Moab or in the Arches National Park.

It’s awe inspiring, surreal and a little bit overwhelming – to be honest.

We pulled into a rest area and the boys jumped out to explore a little. It was so fun to see them so excited about this part of our adventure.

The colors are gorgeous. The oranges, greens, browns and all the shades in between; contrasted with the blue sky, yellow and purple wildflowers. It’s amazing.

We pulled into the Moab KOA around 1:30pm. It was just after 2pm when we got set up in our designated spot.

We were about half an hour away from Arches National Park and our timed reservation entry was for 3pm. We headed out to grab some lunch before we hit the park.

There was a Mobile Drive-Thru Taco Time on the way so we stopped there. I have never seen one of those before; but the food was as expected.

We drove through the city of Moab on our way to the park and it is SO cute. It kind of feels like the old west, the 70’s and Whistler had a baby. Kinda old, kinda yuppie and just a whole lotta cute!

We pulled up to the park and there was a short line up but we moved through it pretty quickly and soon we were headed into the Park.

Day 17 – New Mexico

We got up and got ready for the day. Wifi still sucked. Kids still complained. It was sunny but windy and freezing cold. We still had no firm plan about whether we were headed through New Mexico or up into Colorado.

Part of the dilemma was that New Mexico had brutal winds and driving against or across wind with our decidedly not aerodynamic trailer sucks. It sucks because it pushes the trailer around and Jon ends up driving with a death grip on the steering wheel or it just literally sucks gas.

Colorado was going to be less windy but was actually going to have below zero temps and possible rain and snow. So, we decided to push through New Mexico and hope for the best.

Day 17 and still smiling…mostly.

We headed out just before 10am and planned to make it to Cuba and then we’d reassess if we were done for the day or felt we could do a bit more driving. New Mexico is beautiful.

We drove from the central east of New Mexico through Albuquerque and towards the north west of the state.

The photos don’t do justice to the depth or beauty of the landscape. It truly is even more stunning in person.

We stopped for lunch and gas just before Albuquerque and the winds were 50 km’s per hour. It was crazy!

We climbed and climbed and climbed in elevation until we hit over 7,000 feet above sea level and we crossed the Continental Divide. There has been lots of interesting learning opportunities along the way and it’s been fun to learn as we go.

As we approached Cuba, New Mexico, we decided that we still felt good about traveling a bit further and I found a decent RV park in Farmington, New Mexico that was only an hour and a half further so we made the call to carry on.

We pulled into Farmington around 6:30pm, made dinner and settled in for the night. This RV park definitely has more acceptable wifi than the last place.

While planning our route for the next day, we realized that Moab and Arches National Park was 3 hours away AND we could actually get timed entry tickets. We had wanted to go to the park but I thought we would make it there for Saturday and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get the timed entry tickets as it was a free entry day. So we had given up on going. BUT…because we were a whole day earlier, everything worked out. We got a timed entry ticket, the park pass AND booked an RV site. We plan to leave Farmington at 10am. Arrive at our RV park for check in at 1pm and head to the Park shortly after. Woot! I’m excited.

Day 16 – Texas to New Mexico

We woke up in heaven and drove out of it and now I want to go back.

Sunglasses would have been helpful

Apparently Brady, Texas is pretty close to the center of Texas. We woke up and it was warm and sunny. The wind was blowing and we sat outside and had coffee listening to the quail coo. I just feel happy when I’m warm and it’s sunny. Siah climbed this HUGE tree while we had breakfast.

I ADORE the trees down south. They are so gorgeous and sprawling.

Jon walked around the property and found a field of cacti just about ready to bloom.

I wish we could have seen an entire field of flowering cacti. It must be stunning.

We left Brady around 11am. I really was in no hurry to leave; although Siah and Jude are not the hugest fans of the heat and they are starting to talk about getting home soon.

Got the arm wrapped up and in the photo

It’s been a good trip. For 4 people living on top of each other – 2 introverts. 2 extroverts, meeting people, eating food that’s not typical, living in a different place most nights, with iffy wifi connections, iffy toilets, random showers, way too much fast food, no personal space and WAY TOO MANY HOURS in a vehicle – we have done spectacularly. I’m kind of proud of how well we’ve done. You can tell how tired the boys are by how much bickering they do ;but they’d bicker at home, too. Honestly the only difference is they don’t have the luxury of going to their own bedrooms.

We drove and drove and drove and drove. Texas is really pretty. I kind of love it. The wild flowers, the open spaces, the wildlife, the warmth, the wind……I don’t think I’d want to live in the city but put me outside the city…….oh man.

We weren’t exactly sure if we were going to make it into New Mexico but considering that we crossed a time zone, we decided doe go for it. We crossed over from Texas into New Mexico at 6:55pm and then gained an hour.

We pulled into the Clovis RV Park around 6:15pm and got set up for the night. It was SO cold and windy. The park was quiet but had horrific wifi according to the boys. It would have been better if it had none, because it was like teasing them with wifi bars and then they kept dropping the signal.

I have done pretty well at planning out our routes the day before or at the very least in the evening but I was really struggling to get the next day planned. I think I’m just sad about leaving Texas and both options – Denver and New Mexico – are cold and windy with overnight temps dropping below zero. Not cool. Seriously not cool! Maybe a good night sleep will help me gain some clarity. I certainly hope so.

Day 15 – Texas Trouble

We left Round Rock around 10am with plans to head to Inner Space Cavern which was only 20 mins away in Georgetown.

When we arrived, the parking lot was FULL, the overflow parking was filled with school busses and there were millions of little children running around like feral cats.

We tried to find a place to park our truck and trailer in the overflow lot but it was difficult to navigate and in our efforts, the brake cable got pinched and short circuited, triggering the brakes to lock in place.

At that point, we were parked, whether we wanted to be or not. So in a super avoidant maneuver, we decided to go for the tour of the caverns and deal with the issue after.

We sidestepped through the chaos and went inside, only to be told that the next public tour was at 12:50pm.

So, it looked like we were going to deal with the trailer electrical first. I looked up RV service centres and there was one 2 minutes up the road. With the brakes being locked up, Jon cut the brake cable to release it and we carefully drove up the street and into the RV lot.

Jon took the cut piece of cable into the shop and bought a new one…..rather than doing a hack job and splicing the new cable onto the old cable, Jon decided to replace the cable properly.

Once replaced, the lights would turn on but not the turning signals.

While Jon was working on the truck, I was eating my feelings.

So Jon checked out the fuses and sure enough, we had blown fuses. So we had to buy and replace 6 fuses. But, Jon got it all figured out and working and at this point it was 1pm, so we decided to head back to the caves. Oh what fun!

We paid the admission and the next tour was leaving right away. So we headed into the caves.

The tour guide was funny and interesting. You walk further and further underground and it gets darker and warmer and more humid. They warn you to not touch anything in the cave because the oils on your hands destroy the formations ability to grow and develop. There is this one place where you are allowed to touch the formations as it had been touched when the caves were first found.

The ground is wet and damp and they have railings to hold onto and rugs nailed down into the ground so that you have better grip and don’t slip.

About half way into the tour, Jude did slip and fell onto his right arm, hurting it. And then he started to panic. Jon took him back above ground and got him an ice pack from the trailer.

Siah and I finished the cave tour and found Jon and Jude waiting for us.

It’s a good thing that we had a light day of travel planned because these two events, while nothing huge or horrible were unexpected and wearing. We packed back into the car and headed towards Brady, Texas where I had reserved a spot at an RV Park.

As we travelled further into Texas, it got hot and windy. It was beautiful with the wild flowers and cacti growing and the wide open spaces and rolling landscape.

We pulled into “The Heart of Texas RV Park”. It is such a cute little place. The wind blows warm. There are quail in the neighbouring yard cooing along with the hooting owls. The grounds are filled with wild flowers and brush and the most gorgeous trees.

We sat outside in the sun for a bit, before each of us ran through the shower in the guest house; and then made some dinner. After dinner, I had time to put the trailer in order – it felt a bit chaotic as we had spent time with family and friends over the past few days, rather than stay on top of keeping it neat.

Jon did a bit of schoolwork with Siah and then we settled for the night. A chaotic and unplanned day ended much more calmly than it began and for that I am so thankful.