Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Saturday, March 24, 2012
After becoming an empty nester, the tendency to pack up and go often gets the best of me, and since I depend on no one but myself for my travel planning, my vacation style tends to be secretive until my return. (In truth, how often are others excited by vacations other than their own?) And on this particular western excursion, I keep my destination entirely to myself and relish in the prospect that my get-away fits its definition perfectly, and the isolation of my drive rewards my furtiveness. While waiting in the Salt
I often say that I have three regrets in life and they have taught me my three greatest life lessons. Life lesson number two: only include those people in the best moments of your life who will enhance the moment, not minimize it. More than a decade and a half ago my moment of regret continues to teach me a lesson I cannot learn often enough. My parents notoriously and unknowingly dash my moments of victory and excitement with the tunnel vision of their own lives. Nevertheless, my secretive solo adventure across the desolation of Central Nevada ranks among the most inspiring drives and the keynote speech by Barbara Walters continues to give me words of inspiration. And my prized trophy still sits in a place of honor in my home, regardless of my parents’ patterned perceptions.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I have acrophobia, too (see “Hidden Beauty” from March 2012) and I would like to think that I am working on overcoming it (see “Leap Day” from February 2012). Nevertheless, crossing bridges that exceed a reasonable height from which a person could accidentally drive over the side and survive envelopes me in trepidation. My sight line barely wavers from the painted lines on the pavement, which is disappointing considering the view over the edge is most likely spectacular, and at the very least, grand. Monitoring the correct travel lanes dominated my focus on the Bay Bridge and I missed out on the Chesapeake Bay. Focusing on taking a few glimpses of the remarkable scenery bridges afford has become one of the goals of my travels.
Like most of my shortcomings, I blame my parents when they laughed at my concerns while crossing Royal Gorge. Skip the Google, here are the highlights: built in 1929 for only $350,000, its wooden walkway allows pedestrians to look down the nearly 1,000 feet to the Arkansas River between the slats of wood. As a suspension bridge, it sways in the wind and bounces as cars drive over it, so the height coupled with the movement did not appeal to me as a child. Rather than educate me about the structure’s magnificent architecture, the geologic development of the canyon, or the benefits the span brought to its earliest passengers once completed, my parents laughed at me. Hmm, I wonder what Dr. Spock would have said about that.
Even in their meagerness, simple bridges inspire me, too. In the quiet town of Philippi, West Virginia, hidden between ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, across the Tygart Valley River a simple covered bridge might seem expected, but with two lanes and