So last night (Monday), just north of Laramie Wyoming on Route 25, my rear passenger tire blew. This after an amazing array of scenery and visual adventures had been presenting themselves to me and my camera all day.
I firstly apologize, dear beloved readers, for the period of time since my last post! I have been getting accustomed to how long I can drive and how far I can reasonably expect to get in any given day. I have learned to allow for the pictures I will inevitably not be able to resist stopping to take. I have learned that I cannot, and should not, attempt to drive the maximum amount of miles I can for more than two days in a row. I have learned that I truly enjoy being on the road, seeing new things, anticipating each new town.
I have begun to fall in love with this part of the United States. The quiet calm of it’s golden plains and sights like the rock formations I saw last night as I approached a town called “Chugwater” in Wyoming, have infused themselves into my being for all time. After such an amazing day yesterday, from Colorado to Wyoming, the tire going flat seemed like no big deal at all. I sat in my car talking to Devon (my daughter, who I will see in the next day or two), as I waited on the shoulder of Route 25 for the AAA tow truck and the man who would change my tire. Many thoughts filled my time and the miracle of cell phones and GPS devices was among them. The fact that I could be pretty much out in the middle of nowhere, someplace I have never been, at about 8 PM at night and be able to call AAA, then my daughter, then the tow truck driver – this is something that has changed during my lifetime. It was a very different experience for myself and my pioneering single mother back in the 1970s. I remember well the rainy night on our drive out west when she changed the flat tire herself, garbage bag turned rain poncho and all, on the side of the road – as able as any man to do such a thing. Those of you who know my Mom will be able to picture this vividly. As for me, I will call and wait, and then generously tip the lovely young man who comes to my aid. I have nothing to prove and look at such things as opportunities to meet someone I don’t know yet. Mom and I have very different ways of doing things. Of course when I phoned her from the road after the donut was on, her first question was “Did you change it yourself?” Yeah. No.
I feel very grateful for the GPS which told me my coordinates and the exit I was nearest to, which helped the AAA driver to locate me. I feel grateful for my cell phone, with which my family could keep me company while i waited in my car. I feel grateful for the plains and Wyoming hills which had romanced me all day and made me feel safe. I feel grateful for the full moon, which illuminated the night with a lovely glow, and for the unusually warm and clear night October night in which I ended up stranded for a brief period (relatively speaking). I feel grateful for, and to, my sweet little green Subaru Impreza, which apparently soldiered on for quite a while before I knew the tire was flat.
It strikes me that I would not have felt gratitude at other stages in my life for an experience like this. Even as I sat in the car – in the dark, solitary, vast openness of rural Wyoming, a completely unfamiliar place – I was aware that at other times I would have been afraid. I would have felt wronged somehow, or like this was an “unfair” turn of events. I would have been stressed and then had to tell the story, over and over, to whomever I could get to listen, of how awful the whole experience was. The story I choose to tell now is one of quiet contemplation, wonder at the beauty of the night in this wildly novel landscape, and the perfect feeling of the universe catching me in it’s arms.
I have been completely taken care of. I now have 4 new tires with a 12,000 mile guarantee. I got to Days Inn in Casper Wyoming at 10 PM to claim my room reservation (and it was the comfiest bed I have slept in yet on this trip!) The very helpful night desk clerk immediately referred me to a competent and friendly tire dealership 5 minutes from the motel. As I write this post from the waiting room of Plaines Tire, which has great Wifi, I feel blessed, happy and inspired. Even the rain, the first real rainy day of my trip thus far, seems to have very little effect on the buoyancy I feel as I prepare to head for Montana. I cannot even imagine the sights and emotions that await me just down the road. I can’t wait to share them with you all
Talk to you again soon my friends, I am now hitting the road again – –