Friday, 24 February 2017

Road Trip Lessons

I'm home. David has completely unloaded my gear from the truck, finally to get to his own home and get a break from me. It's hard to believe that just yesterday morning we were in Rapid City, contemplating what to do with the weather moving in on us, snow threatening to close the roads, ice coating the asphalt at almost every turn. When David looked at me and said "I want to head for home", not only did I understand but I agreed completely. It's been 21 days. That's enough.

It's kind of odd being here in my apartment. There is nobody with me, no David to help with getting me in and out of bed, no housekeeping to bring extra towels, no restaurant to make food for us, no bar with three different kinds of beer on tap. What there is, however, is a well stocked freezer, a well stocked bar, a well stocked wine rack, a bed that works for me, a shower that works for me, a toilet that works for me, and home care coming on Monday. I think I can adjust.

There have been a couple of important realizations for me on this trip. The first, and perhaps the most significant, is that I can still do this. I admit there were a couple of bad days, very bad days, which unfortunately happened while I was at my brother's place. It had nothing to do with him or his wife or their home or anything like that. David hit the nail on the head when he said it was most likely a culmination of stress and strain from the trip, finally hitting all at once, held in place prior to this only because of my strong desire to get to  Adam's place. When I finally got there, it all let go.

On the other hand, the trip home was almost inconsequential in terms of physical or bodily challenges. I had accomplished my goal; I got to see Adam, Jim too. The way home was a true wander throughout the mid-US states. I was relaxed, thanks to those two days at Adam's place. David was somewhat relaxed, dealing with me is never easy. My body behaved well, and only once or twice did exhaustion really kick in.

That's the other thing I learned. You can't beat the exhaustion. It's going to happen, so I need to let others take over when I hit that wall. David was more than willing throughout the trip, ready to step up when my body gave out. He assures me it wasn't all that much work, so I will believe him and look forward to doing another trip, able to tell someone it's not that hard.

A third lesson for me was the type of road trip. For me it has almost always been driving to get somewhere, stopping for a brief visit, then barreling on to the next destination. David has a different approach, stopping every hour or two to visit some little roadside oddity, acquiescing to my love of historical places and capitol buildings, looking up the unusual. I've not done that often enough. This trip I discovered how much fun it is to go slower, cover less ground, and see more.

The last lesson I want to share is that of gratitude. For the last year I have seen a lot of myself slip away. Weakness has encroached increasingly. Tired has become my common state. I have had no real focus, felt no real purpose. Yet with this trip I am enlivened again, looking forward, hoping for more. Yes, I am an explorer. I am so grateful to have those who will help me explore.


  1. I spend a lot of time traveling. There is just nothing like it. I am so glad you were able to make this trip and I'm thankful you wrote all about it. David sounds like a really great friend.