Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

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( I wrote this on Tuesday night and tried to post it but I haven’t had a good internet connection that lasts long enough for it to upload from my phone to the blog. I’m home now.)

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m traveling.  I have spent the last couple of days driving between Portland and Seaside.  It’s a 2 hour trip in each direction. It was a spur of the moment thing. My daughter and company decided to go overnight and invited me. I had a doctor’s appointment so I declined.  But I really, really wanted to go, for a number of reasons.  So I  went with them.  Then I drove back to Portland for my appointment (which went fine btw) and then I got a text from my daughter saying they decided to stay another night and I was included. So right after my appointment I drove right back to Seaside. 

This is important for a number of reasons.  The most important of those reasons is that my daughter has made the trip prohibitive for me. She keeps saying I can’t make the trip because it’s a hard drive.  It is but I’ve done it now.  Over. Back. Over. And today, I’ll do it back again.  It’s not that bad. I CAN do it.

In the meantime, I’ve been able to experience and enjoy a magnificent sunset.  And today, an amazingly quiet moment at the mouth of the Columbia River.  I won’t forget either.  And I’ve enjoyed my grandsons.  They are amazing.  I wouldn’t trade the time for anything.  Anything.   




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Blogging From A to Z

"Zzyzx road" by Christopher Mann McKay. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zzyzx_road.jpg#/media/File:Zzyzx_road.jpg

“Zzyzx road” by Christopher Mann McKay. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zzyzx_road.jpg#/media/File:Zzyzx_road.jpg

Back when I started the A to Z Blogging Challenge on April 1, I began with Adventure and talked about road trips I have taken, mostly with my children. Of those trips, many included the drive from Los Angeles in California to Sedona in Arizona or to New Mexico and on to Texas. During these trips, we often played games to pass the time. One of the favorites was the Alphabet Game in which one of us would start by calling out something we saw that began with the letter A, such as “A & W Root Beer”. Then we would all watch for a B word until someone called out something like “Betty’s Diner”. We would go on and on until we got through the entire alphabet. There were certain letters that were more difficult to find and the kids really disliked getting to those letters, especially the letter Z. What begins with the letter Z? That was a tough one. Even I had to admit that one.

On one of these trips, my son, who is the oldest of the three kids, noticed a sign for an exit out in the middle of nowhere, between San Bernardino, California and Baker, California. There’s almost nothing out there except sage brush, cacti, dirt, rocks, and a lot of hot air. The sign said “Zyzyxx” and had an arrow pointing off to the side. The off ramp was one of those really short ones, meant for someone who knew the exit they wanted and where it was and could get off safely. We wondered what it was. Was it a city? There were no other signs of civilization. No signs for fast food or gas stations or motels. Was it a road? It looked like it could be one of those service roads that are there for a very specific purpose or specific company. We wondered about it and filed it away, forgetting all about it until the next time we were driving in that direction and came across Zyzyxx again. We still had no answers and promptly forgot about it. We never looked it up. We never heard about it again except when we were driving by, especially if one of us was in search of that elusive Z word for our Alphabet Game.

Many years later, perhaps more than 10 years later, I began reading books by the author, Michael Connelly, specifically the Harry Bosch series. Once, while driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco, I was listening to an audio copy of The Narrows by Michael Connelly in which my favorite former LAPD Detective, Harry Bosch is called to try to solve a case. He drives from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, following a set of clues which bring him to Zyzyxx. In the novel, he is “escorted” by FBI personnel to a base camp where he is interrogated for hours. Later, he returns to Zyzyxx on his own and finds that it is no more than a couple of intersections in the middle of nowhere, hiding clues that he needs to solve his case.

I was so glad to finally know what Zyzyxx was! I wasn’t even sure that the novel was giving me correct information but I was happy to finally find information on Zyzyxx. One day I think I will return to that place on Interstate 15 where the sign directs traffic off of the freeway to Zyzxxy. I’ll go explore it in the spirit of fun and openness which took my kids and me all over the southwest, looking for adventure and whatever came our way.

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Blogging From A to Z Challenge

I’ve had many adventures in my life. Some good. Some not so good. I guess life is an adventure in itself and as they say, the destination isn’t important; it’s the adventures that count.

When I was growing up, we didn’t take vacations. There were too many of us and my father could never take time off from work. Besides my parents and myself, I had three brothers and three sisters so there were nine of us to go in one car if we all went some place together.

My father worked driving a forklift truck to load and unload pellets of canned foods at a cannery. My mother was a stay at home mom, as most moms were in the 50’s and early 60’s. For a long time, the only place we went together was to the drive-in on carload night. We could all pile in the car on top of each other’s laps (no seat belts or car seats in those days) and pay one low price to get into the drive-in theater to see a cartoon, two movies, and coming attractions. Oh and the cute little “let’s go to the snack bar” sing song cartoon during intermission. We loved it. That was special, even if we did it a couple of times every month, it was still special because it was an evening out for all of us together. No one had to stay home so others could go.

Then one day, my parents went to look for a new car. They said they were looking for a station wagon for all of us to be able to ride together at the same time. After hours and hours, they came home with a new car! It was the first time we had ever had a brand new car and it was a car with seats for nine people, just the number we needed for our family. It was a white 1960 Plymouth Valiant 9 passenger station wagon. We went for a drive as soon as they brought it home! No one had to sit on a lap. No one was squished between anyone else. There were lots of big windows so it was really neat to be in that car and be able to see more of what was outside than we could in the old four door car we had before.

In a couple of weeks, we found out we were going on a long trip that would take days of driving to get there. We were driving from our home in San Jose (California) to Texas to see our grandmother for a week then driving from there to Mexico to see our other grandmother for a week then coming home. It was going to be a long, long, trip but we were excited to be going any place out of town and excited because we would be taking two weeks off from school. My father’s busy season at work was summer and autumn so he couldn’t take time off then so we would have to go during the school year. Ah shucks! We’d have to miss school!

The trip was magical for us. It did take a long time but we made up games to play in the car. We looked at the clouds in the sky and found shapes in them and when we drove through the mountains, my brothers taught us about dinosaurs. They would find dinosaur shaped mountains and point them out to us and tell us about the dinosaurs that looked like those mountains. And when we drove through the desert, we found people shapes in the saguaro cacti and made up stories.

My dad was the only driver so it took us even longer to get there and we were trying to save money so we slept in the car on the side of the road. I think we only got a motel once when my father knew he had to get a full night’s sleep before going on so we got one room for all of us. In the morning, we went to a grocery store and my mom got sandwich stuff and fixed sandwiches that we could eat throughout the day. That was special for us too because we rarely got to have sandwiches! Like I say, the whole trip was magical.

The most magical part of the adventure for me was getting to spend time with my dad. At night time, when everyone would fall asleep, I would stand right behind my dad’s seat and talk to him to keep him awake. I’m not sure if it was like that before the trip or not but at least since that trip, when I was five, just in kindergarten, my dad and I have shared a love for certain things, like words and playing with parts of speech and finding synonyms and antonyms and homophones. He also taught me tongue twisters in Spanish and told me stories about our relatives we were going to meet and about how things were when he was growing up. We talked about the stars and he told me the names of some of the constellations and we made up stories about the stars in the sky. It was a special time when only he and I were awake. It was a bonding time for us. It was the start of a long, long shared love of language, astronomy, geography, folklore, and so much more.

That was the adventure. Yes, we got to our destinations to see our maternal grandmother in Corpus Christi (Texas) and we met new relatives there. We got to see where our mother grew up. Then we drove from there to Chihuahua in the state of Chihuahua (Mexico) to meet our paternal grandmother and our aunts and uncles. That was a very different place because they lived in a tiny village near the capital city; a village with dirt roads, no indoor plumbing, no electricity, and water that we had to get from the well. But I think that will be a different story. The adventure was the trip, starting with the new car, the days and nights on the road, the games we played, and most of all for me, the adventure was getting to know my father in a different way…a way that made us close even through the years and miles and life twists that made us eventually grow apart.

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