I love road trips. Almost all of our traveling these days starts with an airplane ride and all the preliminary hassle and hustle that goes along with it. But road trips are a peek back into the past for me. Family vacations always started in the car. Airplane travel was for the wealthy. But we never complained because my brothers and I thought road trips were the next best thing to Disneyland, or at least our idea of Disneyland since Dad refused to take us there. He thought Disneyland was contrived fun for people that didn’t know how to get out and enjoy the real world. “Why would you want to go to Disneyland when you have all this natural beauty and authentic adventure just waiting to be discovered?” So, we would pack all our stuff into our old red and white VW bus and drive off in search of the next adventure (including stopping at every historical marker along the way – YAWN). Our staples included a loaf of Wonder bread, jars of peanut butter and jelly, boxes of raisins, a few favorite toys, lots of books and a large thermos of water. We lived high off the hog on those road trips.
Fast forward to last Friday…my husband and I packed our Subaru fun-mobile with a cooler of specialty meats and cheeses, multigrain bread, homemade cookies, fancy fruits, some sparkling water and every electronic device we owned. Just to keep it real, we had some peanut butter and jelly, too.
But seriously, leaving Colorado in the dark of a predawn Autumn day, I felt the excitement rise up inside of me. We were going on a road trip to my brother’s farm in Missouri – a 14-hour drive across eastern Colorado and the entire length of Kansas where the western plains scenery never seems to change but always seems to have its own beauty. The journey would be long but I was actually looking forward to having hours of nothing except being a captive audience to the scenery of Americana floating by. And I was looking forward to time…time to read, think, write, gaze, talk, snooze and wonder why we don’t do this more often.
The 12Stones Farm run by my brother and his wife is at the end of a long and winding tree-canopied country lane, and driving under the welcome arch I feel an immediate sigh escape me. It’s the low country sigh. We have it in the mountains in Colorado too but it’s called the high altitude sigh. Many places in this world have the same sigh – Places where the soul is revived. Places where one can exhale tension, expectation and trouble, and inhale well-being, beauty and peace.
We “missed” the peak color of the foliage according to internet sites, but our bike hike along the Katy Trail proved otherwise. The red leaf-carpeted trail that runs along the Missouri River boasted vibrant autumn colors along the trail and deep into the woods. We passed only a handful of other wanderers the entire two days that we were on the trail.
By trying to adhere to my slow-down mantra of wander, linger, savor, I have discovered such freedom in travel. I’ve learned to appreciate the road beneath my feet rather than always anticipating the road ahead. On the bridge between the going and the coming is a full yet fleeting present moment. This is where wonder resides.