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.