part I – the wild west
about a month ago, my wife and i were invited to the military ceremony of our brother-in-law (steve) who was being honored with a special promotion at hill air force base in utah…my wife was excited about the invite and wanted to be there for the ceremony…
so, i thought that she should fly out there and represent our family for the event…she thought that we all should go…but, not by plane (because that was too expensive)–instead, she thought the four of us (me, my wife and our 3 year-old twins) should drive out there…wouldn’t it be great if we could all be there for the ceremony, she said wistfully…
but, i was hesitant for 4 major reasons:
1. driving out there with our kids, with the age they’re at, sounded like suicide.
2. we had a timeline–we needed to be there by june 5th at 1444–and we wouldn’t be able to leave until after work on june 3rd (because we’re teachers and that was the last day of school with the kids in our classes).
3. it’s the end of the school year…and as any teacher can attest to, it’s not a time of the year when you’ve got extra energy in reserves.
4. we had already agreed to go to chicago to see my sister at about the same time as we’d be getting back from this trip…
[fyi…we live in minneapolis, people…which means we’re talking about an 18+ hour drive to get there in time]…
but, my wife really thought we should do it…
and, i gave in…tempted by the open road, propelled by my wife’s passion…
the following is a first person account of what went down, best as i can recall:
1. we leave the twin cities at 5pm on june 3rd.
2. we arrive at rapid city, south dakota at 230am.
3. we leave rapid city at 11am, and drive and drive and drive.
4. detour in wyoming.
5. we realize that there are only 5 roads in wyoming (and one of them is closed today).
6. the detour means we must drive north, then west, then south.
7. we drive and drive and drive (we see a lot of wyoming–almost all of it–beautiful state).
8. we arrive in layton, utah at 130am.
9. 8am, our son, jack, wakes up crying and with a fever (complaining of a sore throat).
10. 830am, jack and i go to urgent care (in utah it’s called ‘instacare’).
11. 850am, strep test done.
12. 9am, strep test = negative.
13. 915am, ears are checked–after 15 minutes of cleaning, 1 years worth of ear wax is removed from his ears–no wonder why he didn’t respond when i yelled at him ‘not to run into traffic’ 🙂
14. 920am, observation – “slightly red”.
15. 930am, diagnosis = virus.
16. 930am (continued) confirmation that…medical school could, in fact, be a waste of time and money.
17. doctor: “running another strep test” – “will let us know tomorrow”.
18. repeat #14.
19. because of the “not sure if it’s strep or not” diagnosis — the wife attends the ceremony solo.
20. let me say that again, the wife attends the ceremony solo.
21. i let out an insane laugh–from somewhere deep, deep inside.
22. the kids and i set up camp in the hotel room…i drink one (or more) jack and cokes throughout the day and keep “a close eye” on my children who happily watch the disney channel.
23-27. we have a great “next couple of days” (the nights were a little rougher)–hanging out with family and celebrating–we see ‘antelope island’, plenty of bison, have a bison burger, swim, eat, drink coffee, discuss the similarities between obi-wan and Jesus, see ‘devils slide’, wrestle john (my father-in-law), have some laughs and make some great memories–and we get the doctor to o.k. antibiotics after my son is unable to sleep for two nights–his ears were in bad shape, but his legs worked fine…he kicked me, repeatedly, in the back for two nights…now, that’s worth the trip right there...
28-32. we drive back. we take an extra day. first to casper…then, the round-about way to rapid city…the detour is still on…and since we’re pushed north we opt to take it a little further and see “longmire country” — stopping in buffalo, the city that the “longmire” books and show are based on–and we see more of wyoming–but not all 🙂 ….it is a great day on the road…not only are the antibiotics kicking in (oh, and i haven’t mentioned gracie, our daughter, in this regard because she has been a rockstar traveler–taking it all in stride)…but, buffalo is an amazing little town that sits snug on the edge of the big horn mountains…and the vista tempts the traveler to turn west along scenic highway 16 towards the tetons and yellowstone…hard as it is, we resist the pull west…and turn towards south dakota…that same day we reach mount rushmore (which is a sight of it’s own)…and jack says, of mount rushmore, ‘i liked the guy with the beard best’…and then to rapid city for the night.
33. the next day, we cross south dakota, with a sneak peek at the badlands.
34. then, home sweet home.
35. “cheers, steve (and jamie)–way to go!”
[stay tuned for “fury road” part II – the windy city]