This past Tuesday morning found me on the road by 6:45 a.m. Alan and I own a rental property that’s a three hour drive from home. Normally, he makes the trip every four weeks or so to do a monthly water test and work on repairs and maintenance. However, he’s currently working on a major construction project so, over the summer, he’ll be there for about a week at a time. (Our older travel trailer, the Jayco, is parked on location and is coming in very handy!) I’ll drive over to stay for several days at a clip because, although he’s handling the project just fine by himself, it’s a lot easier when you have another set of hands helping out. While a three hour ride for, essentially, what is a business purpose can be tedious, I’ve never minded the drive even when I’m alone. It provides a quiet block of time for thinking or dreaming or scheming, along with the delightful benefit of having a backdrop of gorgeous scenery.
Not long after I hit the road on Tuesday, I began running into patches of fog, some of it wispy, some of it so thick I couldn’t see 100 feet in front of me and some of it in the form of what appeared to be impenetrable banks of clouds laying low in the valleys. Within an hour and a half of sunrise, I was traversing mountains higher than the ones we live in and found a fresh delivery of snow coating the fields but, luckily, not the roads. Due to the crazy weather we’ve been having (spring one day, back to winter the next), I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the snow didn’t surprise me. Here in the northeast, changes in elevation can make a huge difference in the amount of “weather” a particular location receives. As I descended from the mountains into rolling hills of farmland, a deep red barn with bright white trim caught my eye. The sun was shining here and the air (at 33°) was crisp and clear. The barn, sharply in focus, and standing in relief against the brilliantly blue sky was surrounded by thin wisps of fog floating against the sky and the hills. It was, if you can believe it, both tangible and ethereal, and it was a passing moment in time. I’m actually very mindful of those moments in time. The exact scene that I see (in nature or otherwise) at any given moment is a fleeting vision. Change in nature is inevitable and sometimes arrives quickly. When I come across an amazing cloud formation or watch an eagle coast into its nest, I feel privileged to have enjoyed that moment of pure delight.
That’s one of the many reasons I enjoy RV travel so much – having that opportunity to truly see and enjoy the blessings of nature. The region that I was traveling through draws many vacationers - and for good reason. It is beautiful country – God’s country – and the sights are rich and varied. The mountains, lakes and rivers throughout have the power to soothe and restore any flagging human spirits and the fields ready for planting promise a harvest that will grace many dinner tables. On a previous trip, well before any of the deciduous trees had begun to leaf out, I crested a hill and found the early morning sunlight hitting and highlighting the mountains ahead. “Purple mountain majesties” truly do exist in real life and not just in the lyrics of America the Beautiful. While I do enjoy visits to cities of various shapes and sizes, it is in the tranquil hills and dales that I feel most at home.
This three hour drive is mostly on quiet state highways with a couple of even quieter county routes thrown in for good measure. I don’t feel the need to make good time – it’s not that kind of a trip. Instead, I’m patient with the farm tractors and the trucks struggling to make a steep grade, and will only attempt to get around them when I can safely do so on a long, flat stretch of highway. It’s a drive where the towns are small (some even without the proverbial single stop light), homes are mostly modest and shingles hung on the porch or at the end of a driveway proclaim the occupation of the owner – architect, contractor, land surveyor. The signs for a charity fundraiser and the fire department’s monthly pancake breakfast are posted on street corners and I’ll bet the turnout is phenomenal for both.
I didn’t manage to solve any major world problems during my “thinking time” on this trip. But I did give serious thought to the fact that Alan and I are extremely fortunate to be able to travel back and forth across this magnificent country of ours, through big cities and small towns, experiencing everyday life in America. The beauty of our country lies in its natural resources and its success can be attributed to its people. We are all part of something much bigger than ourselves. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of exploring, of seeing the sights, of photographing the stunning scenery. In fact, if I were to choose the epitaph to be engraved upon my headstone, I think it would have to be, “There’s still so much to see.”
Thank you for visiting today! Coming up soon will be another installment in the series related to our first of three cross country National Parks trips with our travel trailer in tow. With just one more National Park to go, we’ll soon be nearing the end of that trip – but there’s a story or two left to share and I hope you’ll come back to join us.