16, 2002 - Escapee Again!
believe it's been 3 months since I've written in my journal. That's
the longest I've been "away" since I originally left Austin
over a year ago. It is a huge relief to be back on the road again!
There was a time during the months I was in Austin that I feared
I'd never get to leave again. I guess besides the fact that I worried
myself sick while I was there, which resulted in me visiting the
black pit of depression which I thought I had escaped for good,
I just didn't feel like documenting that darkness. As for writing,
I started my journal to record my memories of the wondrous new places
and things I was seeing, so I suppose being home in Austin was not
interesting enough to write about. I do regret that I didn't get
to see most of my friends while I was there. Working took up much
of my time and being depressed sapped my energy and desire to socialize.
I didn't even dance one time while I was there and that was an activity
I had really missed and was really looking forward to. I have been
humbled to see that I could go from feeling so high above the clouds
to feeling closed in and suffocated by swirling masses of dark thunderclouds
that I could not see through. Sometimes I feel that depression is
like a huge bird of prey stalking me, ready to swoop down with sharp
claws outstretched and once caught I'll at least be scratched and
bloodied before escape is possible again.
experiences such as this, I always try to identify the "purpose"
or at least a lesson learned from the difficulty. One thing I did
find out for sure is that this life is the one I want for myself.
Even if it is not always easy, even if it takes everything I have,
this is what I want to do. There is something so invigorating to
me about the new places, people and experiences that accompany this
lifestyle that there is just no doubt this is what I'm supposed
though there's a certain fear involved in just getting behind the
wheel of this huge machine of mine once I've been parked for a while,
there follows an excitement and confidence as well as pride in myself
for pulling it off once again. I'm now pulling a tow car behind
me and while that added a new element of anxiety at first - I had
visions of not hooking it up right and it flying off behind me -
I now feel secure that it just obediently follows wherever I go.
visit was to Carlsbad Caverns - what an amazing place! I had no
idea of the enormity or fascinating beauty of it - a dreamscape
of flowing minerals captured in time and caught in space, sparkling
colors and bizarre shapes, some so delicate as could be blown apart
by a wispy wind, others massive and strong and seemingly indestructible.
We were there for hours and walked so much that I was virtually
crippled the next day.
we depart for the Grand Canyon. Once again, this decision has been
an interesting process. Part of me wanted to just hightail it to
Seattle because there's so little summer left up there. I finally
decided that was a form of fear that would keep me from enjoying
the journey if all I focused on was the destination. The inheritance
I will be receiving from my dad will alleviate some of the pressure
of having to rush to get to work immediately, so I should be okay
financially until the end of August. I'm also looking forward to
seeing the painted desert in Arizona and Monument Valley in Utah.
It certainly is hot here, though, and I look forward to the relative
coolness of the Pacific Northwest.
20, 2002 - Grand Canyon
now I'll never have to hesitate again when someone asks what is
the favorite place I've visited. No superlatives are super enough
to describe, no panoramic postcard is big enough to capture, and
the best camera only begins to hint at the grandeur of the Grand
Canyon. Even when I lived in Hawaii, I have never been more impressed
with the simple majesty of the earth itself. It's certainly a different
kind of beauty than the tropic lushness I have always preferred.
But, between God and nature's simple devices, this creation literally
took my breath away when I first stood at its rim with every one
of my senses on overload. The subtle shades of color, the shapes
that were worn by the great river that looks so puny when viewed
from the canyon's vantage, the sheer vastness of the beauty extending
in every direction - to say that I found my inspiration again is
the first afternoon in time to catch the show of the shadows across
the canyon. The next day we hiked and toured from one end to the
other. We felt fortunate that we saw some of the varied moods of
the canyon. It was a bright hot sunny day when we began. Then we
watched and participated in the Navajo friendship dance in the afternoon
during a brief shower. The trembles of thunder lent an eerie and
somewhat somber tone after the ceremony. Lightening bolts became
visible far in the distance and by the time we got to the car, it
had actually started hailing - pebble to marble sized ice chips
- it was amazing!
day we took off again through the varying landscapes of the desert.
Most of the time the desert seems unimaginably dreary to me and
driving through it began to feel like a chore. As soon as that happened,
though, changes began to be noticeable. The flesh colored rolling
hills speckled with low shrubs look like razor stubbled old men.
Then inexplicably you're in a little town filled with huge green
Ponderosa pine trees, then onward again and it looks like the white
tipped dunes are icebergs floating on what appears to be a sea but
is really distant blueish mountains on the horizon. Of course, Don
didn't see icebergs - he saw ice cream sundaes with whipped cream
topping. Of course, that's nothing new for Don. He has a nose and
love for ice cream like I've never seen before!
of Don, he continues to be the best companion as well as one of
the best teachers I have ever had. He has a way of making me laugh
or making me think, both of which have been stunted in me from time
to time. When I was concerned that I was taking too long getting
to Seattle, I asked if he wanted to get there sooner. His reply
was, "Where I want to be is wherever I am." For a man
who still doesn't talk to rocks, he can be pretty profound sometimes.
21, 2002 - Moab, Utah
of profound - Monument Valley is profoundly awesome. It's like the
planet decided to make so perfect a home that only spirits can live
there. Some really do appear like castles that it is aptly called
the Valley of the Gods. Same spectacular kind of red rock earth
color but different types of formations are in the Arches National
Monument park. There is something so mystical about those massive
boulders being shifted and shaped by nature's elements and I took
over 60 pictures so that I can try to relive it again in the future.
we returned from the park, Don got word that his 93 year old mother
had died so he rushed off to Houston for the funeral. He left his
trailer in storage and drove down there like a bat out of hell.
I know that no matter how old she was or how long the inevitable
had been expected, it is still not easy to lose a parent. Although
I worry about him, he is one of the most grounded people in an unshakeable
positive attitude and acceptance of the perfect cosmic order of
things that I've ever known. So I miss him more than worry about
him. We decided he'd travel much faster without me, so I'll continue
on and get closer to our northwest destination and he'll rejoin
me by the weekend.
23, 2002 - Glenns Ferry, Idaho
a great state park named Three Islands Crossing. It's located on
the Oregon Trail where the pioneers crossed Snake River on their
way to the Pacific Northwest. It's one of the prettiest sites I've
seen in Idaho and it was easy to imagine the Indian settlement on
its banks when the pioneers arrived. It was harder to imagine that
the emigrants walked the 2,000 miles beside their oxen-driven 4x10'
wagons because they were filled to capacity with what they felt
they had to bring with them across the desert, including fine china
and other "necessities." When they arrived at that important
crossing, the Indians were very friendly and helpful to them, showing
them the best way to cross the river with such burdens, and trading
for food. Of course, we all know how their kindness was repaid once
later passing-through pioneers decided to settle the area for themselves.
campground is one of the nicest places I've stayed and I intend
to stay here another night and take a day trip to Shoshone Falls
tomorrow. I've read it's higher than Niagara Falls and since I was
so enamored of them, I just can't resist checking out Idaho's version.
due to the drought, Shoshone Falls is falling no more - maybe it
could be called Shoshone Trickles, but that's about it. However,
it was still a beautiful park and it was interesting seeing the
naked rocks worn by the water. I enjoyed the drive through the Idaho
farmland where long arms of pipes roll across the expansive fields
shooting streams of water that look like dancing fountains spraying
rainbows as they go.
I leave for Oregon where I'll wait for Don to arrive so we can enter
Washington together. The campground is named "La Grande Rendezvous"
- how appropriate!