carocali (carocali) wrote,

End of a journey...

Well, a good five months later, I've finished the last reflective piece of this epic journey. I'm so pleased to finally be done, and for those that were following along diligently as we were actually traveling, I'm sorry I've let you down - but at least you now know how it ends!

My grateful thanks, again, to Kathy. Without her research and avid reading, we'd never have know about Route 89.

With that, here's the end... or just the beginning?

Caroline (and Kathy)

p.s. Thanks to Lizz (Lemmypie) for teaching me how to do the links to the actual journal entries.  Now it's not so overwhelming on the screen when you open it.  :D



October 14, 2007


We begrudgingly woke up and started to pack the remainder of our items scattered throughout the hotel room.  It seemed surreal that this magical journey was really coming to an end.  Looking around the room and out into the parking lot where the temperature held a pleasant breeze, it seemed unfair.  Not a week ago, we were ‘stranded’ in Yellowstone, surrounded by snow and chilly air, at the Old Faithful Inn.  Now, we were throwing our bags into the back of our rental car and heading to the Phoenix airport, going back to our everyday lives.


Memories of our two weeks flirted with my mood, tempting me to grab Kathy and jump into the vehicle and head back North to do it all again.  This trip was filled with wonder and discovery.  Mother Nature showed her children off well as we befriended them along the way.  We were awestruck and challenged.  We sung with Julie Andrews atop Angel’s Landing and watched the smoky haze in the cavity of the Grand Canyon.  Weather teased us at every stop, but that only pushed us further to make right the circumstances and find our rainbow for the day.  Water was abounding as it cut through stoic rock as waterfalls pooling into hidden lakes and rivers skirted along the lonely two-lane highways.  Colors radiated, even with lack of sunlight, at every turn.  Steam bubbled from the earth and paint pots of tint lived happily in the earthen clay.  Snow added new clothing to the naked foliage, dressing it in pure warmth.  Packs of bison grazed with no care and bears lumbered along busied highways.  Mountains roared to life and taunted the smallness of our beings.  Trees shed and drizzled leaves in their wake while others clung to their branches in their last efforts of the season.  Red rock blazed into the sky in various forms and fashions; carved with the character of the climate.


Oh yes, this was a trip to remember.


But in all of this, a lesson was to be learned; nature is a powerful thing.  While the commencement of our journey was stifled by rain and clouds, some of the most beautiful things we saw were hidden – masked by the clouds and rain. 


I still think back to our first real day as we trudged through Glacier National.  Our plan was to take the trip through the whole park, but Going-to-the-Sun road was closed.  This was a huge disappointment, but we wanted to see the beauty of the road we’d heard so much about and decided to take it as far as it would go, stopping at the rest area before the turn-around point.  We got out, rain sprinkling us, and decided to take a small hike into the preserve, thinking we’d only be a moment. 


The outskirts of the area were tantalizing and the pull to adventure garnished our once-somber mood.  If we decided not to get out and wander – to truly see what was hidden in the treasure trove – we would have missed one of the most amazing sites of the trip. 


While I’m still saddened we have no personal pictures of Avalanche Lake, I’ll never forget the area.  The deep azure of the lake, the waterfalls hurrying down the glaciers, the leaves blowing gently in the wind and sheltering us from the cool rain.  Had the road been open, we never would have stopped to look at this.  Never would have experienced one of God’s perfect spots on the Earth.  Never would have breathed in the cleanest air my lungs had ever known.  Everything happens for a reason and while we didn’t quite plan on snow and road detours and rain, somehow it all worked out alright.


On our way back out of the park to the cabin, the sun decided to peak out and say hello, sending a jolt of color across the sky.  Our first rainbow; double rainbow actually.  It was stunning and amazing and beautiful.  And if we’d made it through the park, we would not have been graced by its presence.


Road blocks became opportunities to see different things.  We never sat back and moped when our current plans were broken; we picked up and forged ahead, finding new quests.  Each day had its own rainbow – whether literally or figuratively – and it would be our task to unearth it.


And we certainly took advantage of every moment, filling our senses with the goodness of our road trip.


So, it seemed wrong that after all the lessons learned we were to be thrust back into reality where people are overworked and chaos reigned supreme.  But maybe that was the point?  Now, with our open eyes, we could find a new way of looking at things.  We could stop and take that breath that we weren’t taking before and filling our stressful days with a moment of relaxation.  A quick smile at remembrance of the beauty of the West.


The ride to the airport was mostly silent as we were both lost in our thoughts of the voyage.  Checking in and paying up, we headed in to wait for our plane to take us home.  We loaded up an hour later, after sharing nachos, and made our way back to the real world, knowing that what we’d experienced was a gift beyond explanation.


As we arrived, Frank met us with open arms that held two bouquets of flowers.  I was truly touched that my brother would think to include me in his welcoming ways.  It was apparent how much he’d missed Kathy and that made my heart smile.


Back home, we shared a few of our favorite photos and memories with Frank, hoping that he’d enjoy them as much as we did.  He smiled and nodded, but all in all, he was just happy to have his wife back in his arms.  That was his rainbow.


So the journey is over and I hope that everyone who read along the way was inspired to make your own trip down route 89, or anywhere for that matter!  There is so much we didn’t see that I believe it warrants another trip – which I will gladly take again with my audacious partner in crime.  I could never imagine doing what I did without Kathy at my side.  It’s a silent partnership of trust and understanding that is so rare these days.  She pushes me to do things I would never dream of, and I point out things she’d never look twice at.  What more do you need, really?


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