Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ugh! Whoof! Ouch! Whump!! Ahhhhhh...

I grew up in California...the greater Los Angeles area to be exact. My family was reasonably well to do, lived in the biggest house in an upscale neighborhood, drove fancy new cars, had the first television and garage door opener in our community. You get the picture.

A favorite family activity was going for a Sunday drive. We did this only from time to time, not on a weekly basis. Enough to keep it really special. We'd pack some cheese and sweet pickle or tuna sandwiches, a jar of homemade peaches, a big bag of chips, and mama's decadent brownies or hot baked apple pie. When it was safely tucked into the trunk of the car...we'd hop into daddy's Cadillac, mom's Buick convertible, my aunt and uncle's Pontiac, or my sister's Edsel and hit the road. We'd often drive up "El Camino Real", better known as Pacific Coast Highway, or down the coast to LaJolla. We'd sing songs and play those silly games that you play to keep kids entertained while driving.

I loved going for those drives!! We'd see cows grazing in grassy fields with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. I'm from Los Angeles, remember? Where else would I see a cow? We'd stop to stretch, and submit to nature's call at a Shell Station where daddy would make sure the gas tank was full and treat us all to ice cream. Then we'd be on the road again, looking for the ideal spot to lay out a quilt and enjoy lunch. Yes... he did let us have ice cream before eating our sandwiches. He was a cool dad. These were happy times spent with my family. I hate to repeat myself, but, I truly loved those drives!

In 1972, at the age of... well...older than I care to remember, I moved to Utah...met a small town country boy, and fell head over heels... I was completely bonked on this guy.

I remember how excited I was one Sunday when he asked me if I wanted to go for a drive after church. Perfect! Fond memories welled up as I packed a couple of sandwiches, some cookies and juice, and waited anxiously for him to pick me up.

Little did I know that this would be unlike any drive I'd ever been on before.. anywhere, anytime.

We wound our way up some godforsaken hilltop, through scrub brush and sage dying in the heat. We bounced over rocks and fallen trees... we slogged our way across muddy riverbottoms. If nature called... we looked for something almost large and remote enough to hide behind. When it was time for lunch, we pulled the dust covered blanket from the back seat and opened our dust filled sandwiches. blecchh!!

And that has remained the way we've done it in all our days together since.

"Want to go for a drive?" he says... And I grab oranges, granola bars, wheat thins, water... lots of water...a lil packet of t.p., hiking boots, a jacket, some branch cutters, a small shovel, clean socks for both of us, an extra pair of sunglasses (he always forgets his), some work gloves, chewing gum, hand sanitizer, and a flashlight. And off we go.

We have had to dig our way out of mud...build a road to get us out of a ditch...and hike for help. I have had a fourwheeler land on me after a failed attempt at keeping it upright over slippery boulders, and nearly had the jeep tip on us while trying to take it up an incline that was meant only to fly over. We don't really go for drives. We have a four wheeling "experience", or go for a jeeping "adventure". It's exhillarating, scary, infuriating, fun, oddly fulfilling, and ... it has very often been peaceful. We've seen gorgeous views from the tops of mountains that we would have seen no other way. We have stretched our capacity for enjoyment, and honed our "He-man survive in the wilderness skills". Well... I've mostly just peeled an orange, or gathered tree branches to place under the wheels of the jeep to help get us out of muck and slime that threatens to swallow our transportation. Wayne does his "Superman", "Mr. Incredible" schtick and pulls, hoists, or lifts us out of whatever mess we find ourselves in, and gets us on our way again.

Last Sunday we got lost and beat our backsides black and blue exploring some rocky wasteland...I was beginning to mutter, "I'm too dang old for this!! My bones are going to pulverize any second. I'll have to be swept into a dustpan and carried home in a sandwich bag"... and then... omagosh!! We suddenly found ourselves in a lush forest that led us to the tip of the Manti LaSal Mountain Range with views that spread from here to eternity. It was breathtaking! It was a delicius treat for our eyes, and for our souls.

The drives of yesterday were wonderful, but those I take with my hubby today are beyond my wildest imaginings. They are absolutely, completely, memorable ...from wading through ice encrusted water to search for help, to the mosquito bites on our hineys received while lying on a blanket by a secluded, sunlit stream renewing our vows... Our drives may most often make me want to sit in a hot tub for an hour or two to soothe my aching and aging bones... but, my spirit is always refreshed.

18 comments:

Lin said...

wow, it's worth the wait to see what you'll come up with next. wonderful descriptive life adventures. thanks for sharing. can't wait to see you and talk for hours next monday my dear friend caryn

Brenda Leyland said...

Oh wow..... I feel like I'm sitting in the back seat driving along with you..... I can feel the pain.... and the 'worth it all' feeling too!

Thanks for bringing your adventuring so alive for us!

Kay said...

Gosh, Caryn! You just never fail to amaze me. You really do just go with the flow. You have a lucky hubby.

Jo, a retired teacher said...

A lovely read as usual Caryn. I've been on a few adventures like that with my hubby, but you made them sound so much more meaningful. I'll try to remember your attitude the next time my own backside is being tested by rocks, holes, and logs.

Cheryl /Ashton said...

Ah...how I enjoyed "going along" with you on your adventures! I can remember our family drives, similar to yours, picnic on a wool, plaid blanket, Mom's sandwiches in wax paper and soda, which was a treat! I hope my children will recall fondly the picnics I have shared with them on the rocks at Ocean Point, at LL games and even on a blanket on the living room floor. Thanks for sharing!

Deborah Godin said...

Great vivid word pictures you've painted - I almost want to check myself for bruises, too!!

Chandi said...

I still remember quite clearly that gorgeous drive we took up in Montanta. The trees were so dense on both sides of the car as we wound up the mountain on a tiny dirt road. Remember when we got to the top and it opened up onto this gorgeous meadow? The clouds were lying on the ground and we could walk through them. It was amazing!!!!!

Jean said...

Your childhood is so different from mine, Caryn. Yours sounds so exciting as you drove the PCH to LaJolla. And your adventures with your guy today are definitely exciting in a whole new way. You're not one to let moss grow at your feet, are you?

dellgirl said...

Sounds like absolutely the best old time ever, just Loretta Lynn & Doo Little (in Coal Miners Daughter)riding in that jeep of his... with Loretta hanging on for "dear life". I love this story, sounds like a close second cousin to some the times we have had.

SandyCarlson said...

You're an intrepid woman. I love the way you see where the road takes you and just do what you feel like doing. That's a fun spirit!

Carrie and Shane said...

Funny, I can only relate to the experiences you and uncle Wayne had together. Now I want to take a ride up the PCH in a convertible!

The Stott's said...

Awww you and Uncle Wayne are just the best! The other day Thad and I were hiking in the beautiful mountains of Hawaii and he was telling me all sorts of hiking stories with Uncle Wayne, the one where Lee almost drowned was the one that sticks out to me the most! I love how you two are ALWAYS up for some fun and adventures. True Stott's I would have to say. =)

Mare said...

You are an exceptional writer and storyteller- very descriptive and personal. You are like a modern day Sacajawea with all of your adventures. God bless ya. I love your thoughts because I can usually connect with your perspective. I have not lived the exciting life that you have...You go girl! And take us with you!!

Rambling Woods said...

That sure does put a different spin on taking a ride...I enjoyed the adventure along with you Caryn... Michelle

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Caryn.

Re Potter: I am amazed and pleased so many kids are loving this story because it is a drama rather than an adventure. And the values in it are rock solid.

The kids in the theatre cheered when it began as well as when it ended. It was amazing.

Linda Reeder said...

We used to go for Sunday drives, too. My Dad was a logger in his earlier years and knew all the backroads and logging roads. We did not have a four wheel drive, just the family station wagon, and sometimes we had to close our eyes as the gravel fell from the edge of the rutted road way down into a deep canyon below. We were in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades. As I recall we were always looking for Lost Creek. We never fliud it, but we sure found lots of other adventurous places.
You story telling is fabulous. And your sense of adventure is contageous.

dellgirl said...

Hi, me again. I’m just checking in to say hello and to let you know I’m thinking of you.

Wanted to see if you’re staying cool and out of trouble. Oh, that’s me…always getting into something I shouldn’t, huh?

I hope all is well with you. Sooo, just ducking in to say have a fantastic week.

Hope you had a nice weekend...I'll check in on ya' again soon.

Deanie said...

They all sound like ideal rides to me- sans the steep hiking. 'guess over 30 years with a Stott these adventures are made in heaven for a former Ogden city girl