Bumps in the Road

These rolls of hay are about the size of a car -- not at all like the ones back in New Hampshire.

As I write this post, we have completed the first segment of our Great Adventure; we spent ten days with my son and his family in South Dakota. As I wrote in my last blog post, it will always be too slow when I travel to get there, and likewise, it will always be hard to leave.

My three grandchildren turn a light on in my heart, and I love them dearly – and I also truly enjoy the company of my son and daughter-in-law. Time there is precious. My husband also loves it in the Black Hills area, and we would love to live there at least part time. We have family in New Hampshire, too, though, so we are divided, and it’s impossible to choose one over the other. Sharing is the only solution, and we think perhaps next summer we may go to South Dakota and just stay there so that we can do some wandering around the state to places we have never seen. Perhaps difficult journeys out and sad returns home will be our continued companions, at least for the foreseeable future.

Tonight we’re in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on our way to Utah to Bonneville Salt Flats to watch the land speed record trials. The RV has been acting up since yesterday, though, so the drive today was unsettling. We’re towing my car, and yesterday the RV began lurching. We thought at first it might be seams in the concrete road because of the tow dolly, but that idea was proven wrong when we continued to lurch on different kinds of pavement. Now we think it might be a fuel pump problem, but it’s Saturday night and no mechanic in his or her right mind will be available, so we’ll see how it goes. We also need to replace the air conditioning shroud on the roof – it has been broken by debris hitting it and if we run into rain we might have to put our raincoats on inside! Fortunately out here it doesn’t rain often, and we can cover the unit with plastic if necessary. We’ll continue west tomorrow, hoping that we don’t break down, but we have roadside assistance coverage so other than a delay in our progress it will be OK.

We’re also starting to talk about what national parks we’ll visit after Bonneville. We’re going to stay in the Salt Lake City area for a few extra days to regroup, then we’ll start the national park surfing segment of our Great Adventure. Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Grand Canyon (North Rim) are all on the list so far among a few others. But we’re likely to change our minds at any time, so we’ll just have to see what we decide when the time comes. It’s funny to watch people’s reactions when they ask us where we’re going. Some just can’t imagine going on vacation without a planned itinerary, and others, like us, are able to enjoy the spontaneity and wandering.

We do enjoy viewing the scenery while we travel around this country of ours. We have determined that every state really does have its own geography, and so you can often tell one state from another if you see typical photos. Wyoming, at least the eastern half, is lonely, and a great representation of the Great Plains.

Driving through relatively flat plains is not boring -- in Wyoming you never know when the plains will open up some curious and lovely land forms.

It’s easy to imagine the Conestoga wagons traversing the Oregon Trail, or the cowboys riding for miles to round up all the cattle. We’ll be driving along, though, and suddenly the plains will open up a new and unusual land form. It keeps me paying attention rather than reading, and driving through new places is lovely and wondrous. We always make sure to keep the gas tank full – it can be a hundred miles or more between stations!

I’m thankful that we have this opportunity to explore our huge and beautiful United States.




10 thoughts on “Bumps in the Road

  1. Great title, “Bumps in the Road.” Covered not only the literal bumps in the road with RV problems and landform differences as to the states’ geolological differences, but also the figurative bumps taken by your emotions of coming and going between your “two homes.” Enjoyed very much, Marilyn. Well written! (You get an A+)

  2. I enjoy travel essays, especially when I’ve already traveled to the places in which the authors write. One of my many highlights of my cross country mc ride was a northern track through Wyoming. It took me to a great little town called Ten Sleeps. It got its name because it was “ten sleeps” between the southern and northern camps of the Sioux. Stayed in the town for lunch and to visit a few historical sites. The roads surrounding the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains seemed to be designed for motorcycles; twisty curves, and beautiful sweeping downhills!

    • Oh, I wish we knew about it when we had our bikes out here. We rode them through Yellowstone — it was grand. But we didn’t ride them out, so you probably think it doesn’t count! Ten Sleeps sounds really fun. I love finding out about all those kinds of things.

  3. Hi Marilyn and Doug! What a beautiful land you are crossing! I need to follow in your footsteps next summer as I have never been. Your writing is poetic. Very inspiring. Keep writing and riding! 🙂

  4. It’s good that you intend to visit the Grand Canyon’s North Rim rather than the South. For the North Rim is far more natural while the South is a touristy village. While at the North Rim, please eat dinner in the dining room — it’s right on the canyon rim and it affords a magnificent view of the setting sun and the changing colors of the canyon’s mesas. Also, the drive to the South Rim passes over the Kaibab Plateau. At 9,000 foot elevation, the Kaibab Forest is beautiful. Enjoy it all… Bill

  5. Bill, I loved reading your comment! We visited the North Rim back in 1997, when we were TENT camping around the country, and I still remember in great wonderful detail the lunch we had in that magnificent dining room. I had a grilled veggie sandwich (I’m sure it would be called a panini or something equally fancy now, but back then it was a sandwich), and the view was just breathtaking. One reason we want to go back there is that our visit pre-dated digital photography, at least for me, and I’m a better photographer now, too, so I want to have fun playing with my cameras. Thanks for reminding me about that dining room!

  6. Hi, Marilyn… OK, so here’s the part which I don’t understand — how in the world can you remember what you had for lunch those many years ago? My wife, Wendy, can do the same, by the way. Last evening, we were out to a restaurant in which we had eaten some nine or ten weeks earlier. Wendy mentioned what she had ordered on our last visit to the restaurant. She then asked me, “What did you order last time”? Heck, I didn’t remember. But your memory “takes the cake.” Wow! Bill

    • I laughed and laughed reading your note — I have no idea why it works that way, and I don’t consider my memory to be anything noteworthy. If it makes you feel better, my husband as no idea what he ate that day, so maybe it’s just a girl thing.

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