We had stopped to get gas when we ran into a car with three guys in it that introduced themselves as “river guides”. This explained the rafts they were hauling and given the fact we had no plans and a full tank of gas, we joined them. We spent that night on a sandbar underneath the stars.
Fast forward eight years later; driving down the same road reminiscing and praising the angels above that nothing bad ever happened to us, ever, on any of our travels together. And there were many. We passed the same campground we camped at back then; memories of doing our laundry and putting together scrapbooks from our overseas travels we were on before we decided to hit the road. Who knew that visiting a town would unlock little mementos of tiny little memories that would have otherwise been forgotten like leaves falling from a tree and blowing away. Something as simple as a sign alongside the highway that caught your interest way back when, but did nothing for you this go-around.
Back then, we had no iPods and no iPhones. We made CD’s for the road and blasted our favorite ones over and over again. We had a book the size of the yellow pages full of campgrounds and directions of how to get to them. We had maps, for goodness sakes.
As we glanced behind us in our rented minivan, we couldn’t help but giggle about how much has changed; the kids, the car seats, the twin babies on the way, the husbands back home, Siri telling us to “continue to the route”. Damn Siri and her route. Sometimes I just want to tell her to shove it. Or at least hold on for a minute.
But one thing remained the same. Every time we passed a “view point”, we giggled again, thought of Dan Eldon (who was at that time was our idol and in many ways still is), and were reminded – as we were years ago – that the view is always all around you.
We splashed around in the same river that allowed us to rest our tired heads on it’s banks years ago. Janet, feeling weightless. Carla, feeling brave. Hooper, feeling free. Van, dropping a load in his pants that would later roll out and surprise us all. And myself, feeling grateful to add another memory with my best, most treasured friend to the proverbial banks.