Dec 3, 2013

Road Trips.

Road trips are deep in my blood. I have fond memories of road trips. Loaded in the back of the car with the siblings. Looking for the letters of the alphabet on signs and fighting over whether we had decided we were playing that is has to be the first letter of the word or not. Singing along with John Denver, The Bee Gees, Barbara Striesand, or Olivia Newton John at the top of my lungs. Watching the moon out the car window as it most definitely followed our car. Seeing the enchanting distant lights of LasVegas. Climbing over the seats to get away from dad when he stopped to distribute well deserved spankings. So many good times.

I need road trips. I have no idea why I love them so. I love seeing the world. I love passing cars and wondering at the story of the people inside them. I love listening to audio books and music. I love the snack food. I even love rest stops. I love figuring out the directions. I love the views. I love looking at the map over and over again. I love fighting with the teenagers about what we are going to listen to on the radio.....yeah, not so much that one.

Last week we took a road trip. Just Tatiana, Natalie, and I. I have a sister that lives in the middle of Michigan and when I heard that one of my other sisters from Pittsburgh and my parents from Oregon were all going to be in Michigan for Thanksgiving I knew I had to matter what.

There was an impending snow storm predicted for when I was supposed to be driving so thankfully they let me leave work early. So we left town at 9 am on Tuesday morning instead of at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon. I was determined to beat this storm to Buffalo. We live only about 45 minutes from the eastern border of New York state. So I can just jump on the Massachusetts Turnpike AKA I-90 and fly. The first big city I come to is Albany. You have two choices when you get to Albany to take I-87 or I-90. I always hesitate at this point and wonder which one is right but then I quickly remind myself it does not matter....87 and 90 meet on the other side of Albany. I usually choose 87 because it has an awesome bridge across the Hudson River but sometimes if the sun and time of day is just right I will take 90 because the sun shines on the Albany skyline just so....yeah, it looks cool.

After you get out of Albany the next bit of awesomeness is the Erie Canal. I love driving along the Erie Canal and thankfully it flows happily along I-90 for awhile. On this trip we spent a lot of this part of our trip trying to figure out why our 6 cd changer in the car was not working. Tatiana and I should get an A for effort. We used some of our precious data on our phones to google "what to do when a cd is stuck in your cd player". But our efforts were in vain. There is nothing you can really do about it until you can get somewhere where you are not moving and happen to have some tools for prying things open readily available. So we had many hearty conversations on this trip about the satellite radio which ended up being our only listening to music option. Which was sad as we had eight audio books we had checked out from the library and a huge folde full of music cd's that we could not listen to. At least now we know that satellite radio does indeed repeat songs. I have no idea where I had the notion they did not repeat as much as normal radio :) Silly me....they most definitely repeat.

It started snowing about half way across New York but I just pressed on. Thankfully, at this point the snow was not accumulating on the roads so I just concentrated with all my might on going 80 miles an hour. I was sure if I could just get past Buffalo everything would be perfect. Of course that was not the case....just like my life...always thinking if I just get past that one thing things will be better :) But eventually the snow did change to rain in not so bad...just like in life :)

Speaking of Ohio...we managed to find ourselves in traffic in Cleveland, Ohio. But at five o'clock in a big city on a week day close to a holiday that is to be expected. What can you do? Well you can always look for license plates from other states and then you should always try to make friends with the other drivers, duh :)

The minute we crossed the border into Michigan my Natalie thought we would magically be at Aunt Rebecca's house and she was so disheartened when she realized we had to still drive three hours into Michigan to get there. I was a little disheartened myself. The last few hours are the part where I am always a little afraid as it gets harder to stay awake. How many times have I arrived at my destination to realize that there is a part of my trip that I am not really sure about because I may or may not have been sleep driving......yeah, not good.

The drive home on Friday was fairly uneventful. I took a small wrong turn in Michigan but was pleased with my ability to fix my wrong turn without too much trouble. It was still daylight when we reached Erie, Pennsylvania and I loved being able to see one of the Great Lakes in the distance as I drove along. My excitement was when I got out of the car in Buffalo to get gas and immediately slipped and fell on some ice but I got right up so no worries. It is not a road trip without a few little fights and we had our few. One of those fights was about listening to One Direction which was playing for a half hour solid on satellite radio and one of them hates One Direction and one of them tolerates One Direction. And of course the other fight involved the finding the alphabet game.....that cursed game. I need to find the official rules for it.

Dec 1, 2013

My Deepest Admiration For Redwoods.

The Redwoods
Here, sown by the creators hand.
In serried ranks, the Redwoods stand;
No other clime is honored so,
No other lands their glory know.

The greatest of earths living forms,
Tall conquerers that laugh at storms;
Their challenge still unanswered rings,
Through fifty centuries of kings,

The nations that with them were young,
Rich empires, with their forts far flung,
Lie buried now their splendor gone;
But these proud monarchs still live on.

So shall they live, when ends our day,
When our crude citadels decay;
For brief the years allotted man,
but infinite perennials' span.

This is their temple, vaulted high,
And here we pause with reverent eye,
With silent tongue and awe struck soul;
For here we sense life's proper goal;

To be like these, straight, true and fine
To make our world, like theirs, a shrine.
Sink down, oh traveler, on your knees
God stands before you in these trees.

By Joseph B Strauss

I have done way too much reading about the Redwood trees lately. About two years ago in August I was in Oregon in the car with my parents driving to the Oregon Coast for a day visit and I asked my parents how far it was to the Redwoods. My dad replied with an amount of time that stunned me. I had no idea we were so close to the Redwoods and within 15 minutes our plans had changed and we were on our way to California to see The Redwoods. I was so excited. Words can not describe the Redwoods. Pictures can not capture the Redwoods. You simply have to go. When I think of something that is steadfast I think of a Redwood tree. When I think of something that is firm and resilient I think of a Redwood tree. Did you know redwoods taste nasty to bugs? Did you know Redwoods rarely catch fire because of the tannin in their bark? When they do happen to fall over new trees grow from the old tree.They never give up. I love this poem I found about them.... "Here we sense life's proper goal; to be like these, straight, true and fine To make our world like theirs a shrine." Have I made this my proper goal? Have I been straight, true and fine? Have I made my world a shrine? These trees inspire me as I weather storms.