I just completed a cross country trip…in winter. I learned tons.
One, that the best thing is to be prepared. So I spent about $50 at Ace Hardware on some wonderful emergency kit stuff. They have a prepackaged kit for about $20 with jumper cables, flares (my personal favorite), first aid-band-aids, ties, bungee cord, to which I added more flares, dry-gas, graphite key aid, fix-a-flat, hand-warmers, and a kids snow shovel (just the right size for snow behind the tires). I felt so good, smart, and confident knowing that I had that bright yellow emergency kit on the floor of the front seat where I could get to it if needed and chains in the back.
Two, be prepared mentally too. I always say I depart like a flock of geese… have you ever watched them prepare? The energy builds, they get set, and then whoosh — off they fly. When I travel, I have to know that I am prepared mentally, spiritually for the trip. The moment for departure has to be just right.
I hit heavy fog the first night, just at the edge of Idaho (having come from Portland, en route to Michigan taking I-84 to I-80). It was getting dark, cars had their headlights on, and while I couldn’t see very far I could navigate the hills just fine. Sometimes you just can’t see how the road leads…you just take the next possible step. You keep focused on the path. The fog was magical, quiet, and really didn’t impede my travel to my first night in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Here’s a brief side-trip about focusing on the path…
I remember after my husband, Brice Kenny, made his ‘transition’ in 2007, I was a total wreck. Grief hit me hard. I was in no shape to run a business, much less make a sale. Then, in an attitude of listening prayer, I heard the thought, ‘Go to the temp agency’…as direct as that. Doing so, taking the typing test…something I’d never done before, I was asked to come in for an interview at an engineering firm only 2 miles from my home. While I was interviewing for a job more than 15 miles away, they liked me so much, they kept me at their headquarters. So that scary long winter commute never happened. I kept saying yes! I was willing to do the drive, but turned out I never had to. And, knowing that I had architectural design in my background, it wasn’t long, maybe 6 months, before I was working in my field again at a very good salary. I was so grateful!
It was as if God had left me little breadcrumbs to follow. As long as I kept open, and saying yes, yes, yes…. I was lead along the right direction. I doubt I could have walked in the door and gotten that same job I ended up with. I am so grateful for that lesson. I always pay attention to what feels like ‘bread crumbs’…knowing there’s a loaf of bread somewhere nearby.
Three, that you can’t always tell how bad the road is ahead… this one is another metaphorical lesson. The car was coated with ice outside Colefax, Iowa. Bad news predicting all day ice, but warming trends. Sidewalks coated with slick ice….yikes! I was skating over to the parking space. So I waited till 10 AM instead of my normal 7 AM start. Still icy. But, I checked the windows and turns out, they just flaked off with my fingers. I used a credit card to clear the windshield (handier than locating the 4’ long snow brush somewhere in the back). So I took off gingerly.
Turns out, the roads themselves, the interstate was fine! Well brined, and as long as I kept to the speed limit, no issues. There were a number of trucks turned on their sides here and there which must have attempted the roads during the icy night. You start to get used to that in the winter- But for me, the roads were nice and dry.
So I learned that I could test the waters, the ice, so to speak…venture gingerly off into life. Instead of holing up for an extra day in the hotel.
Four, you have to know when to use real caution. When I got past Chicago heading up to Grand Rapids, MI, the roads were really deteriorating. Traffic was slowing to 40 MPH and it was getting dark. At some point, you realize, it IS time to stop. Even though the destination is not as far as your might hope, you have made progress. And, I was rewarded with one the best motel rooms of my entire trip. The Super-8 in St. Joseph, MI was all remodeled like some boutique hotel back in Portland. I really enjoyed my stay there. Safe and sound.
Road trips are great for thinking. I think I needed that space (2500 miles) and time (4 nights-5 days), to think about my life. I know I learned a lot just from the road – and how I handled it. New life ahead. I know that much for sure!
God is living me, taking care of me, guiding me, loving me.
- Preparing for Winter Road Trips (atlastravelweb.com)