When I reflect over the past eight months on the road, it’s a focused blur. Like the miles that melt behind us as we’re cruising on the Interstates, our side-view mirrors only serve to remind us what we once observed before it’s gone in an instant.
“Did you see that?!” has been a common cue while driving, that could come at any time. It could be a natural phenomena like a double rainbow, or a dramatic change to an underwhelming landscape, or a man with no teeth whose nose touches his chin passing us in his hot-rod Mustang convertible.
Whatever the case may be, we usually have just a moment to react and make a meaningful connection before we’re on to the next moment in time. Our experience may be filed into memory, but memories can be sketchy, ambiguous and subjective.
“What’s your favorite place so far?” is a question that unquestionably comes up when meeting friends or strangers who hear about the progress we’ve made on our year-long odyssey. It’s also the hardest question to answer, considering the nearly 30,000 miles we’ve covered en route to 90 different destinations.
Leah and I often joke and reflect about our day at its conclusion, just to gauge if our recollections match.
“Was it a top 10 day for you today?” I’m likely to ask.
Certainly more than 30 times to date, she’ll respond with, “I don’t know if it was ‘top 10’, but definitely among the top 20.”
Looking back–with help from impressions of places from past posts–I’m now ready to answer the question, and reveal my top five favorites thus far, in chronological order.
1) August 2, 2017: Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada–Athabasca Glacier
Athabasca Glacier currently recedes at 16 ft. per year, and has lost over half its volume over the past 125 years.
2) August 21, 2017: Corvallis, Oregon–Total Solar Eclipse
Totality of the eclipse lasted one minute, 40 seconds.
4) August 29, 2017: Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
The 750 foot ascent up the 35% grade of loose gravel to the rim of the Cinder Cone took 35 minutes.
4) October 4, 2017: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
7 minutes lapsed between the sun setting behind the Muddy Mountains to the moon rising over the Valley of Fire.
5) October 14, 2017: Albuquerque, New Mexico–Balloon Fiesta
The hot air balloon was aloft over Albuquerque after 13 minutes of inflation.
Although each adventure is fundamentally different from the others, collectively, they represent before and after transitions.
The ephemeral existence of each event is temporary in its own special way, with its own time-stamp carved in soap. Fortunately, the moment can be captured and preserved in words and pictures, lest there be any doubt that something significant happened in our lifetime.