There have been several reasons we've made the decisions we have in the last couple of years. One was so that we would be together more as a family. And that has certainly been the case. We have spent a lot more time together in much tighter living parameters.
Amazingly and thankfully, this has for the most part been a good thing, and our bonds have grown stronger.
Another reason was to travel more, to not be so tied down to a place. That we've done less of.
So with the summer coming on hard and strong in Atlanta and Cindy's job getting so busy, we barely see her, I decided it was a good time to move on. It might be important to add that Skye was getting a little home-sick for her LA friends, so why not get back there in time to celebrate her 14th birthday.
I must admit, I was missing the mountains and ocean of the state I grew up in.
Looking for Directions and Diversions
We've driven across the country a few times in the last couple of years. Straight and direct, more or less has been our route, the I-10, I-20, and I-40 have taken us through the Southern states and we collected a lot of high-points along the way.
When I read about the Teva Mountain Games taking place in Vail, it gave me a good reason for a new route that had a couple of very doable high-points along the way.
Taum Sauk Mountain here we come.
Memorial Day- A Moving Experience
Memorial Day is always a hard holiday for me. I have always been against war. particularly those fought for the wrong reasons, by the wrong people. I'm not one for nationalism, patriotism or American exceptionalism. It probably didn't help matters, that we had just finished listening to the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, a few hours before.
And yet I enjoy many of the benefits of being an American, of being on the right side of history as far as the school books are concerned. I can see a very potential hypocrisy in this and it makes me confused and conflicted.
So many men and women have died fighting American wars. I don't want to dishonor them and yet I don't want to glorify or support war. I have friends and family in the military and coming from every sort of political angle and argument. And I am typically very willing and I dare say able to articulate my views and hopefully I am receptive to others ideas and opinions.
But on days such Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, that are so much about paying respect to those who have served, been injured or killed, I take the day off in regards to my political stance. I am neutral on those days. I zip my lips and mind my own business.
But the sight of those flags waving in the wind had us making a quick detour. So glad that we did.
The flags flying are a beautiful and sad reminder of this very complicated and controversial situation.
A High Point Can Be Hard to Find
We wanted to get to the Missouri high-point before it got dark and it was getting close.
The description I read on-line described a 3-mile hike. When we got to the parking lot with maybe an hour and a half of daylight, I decided to grab the bikes and ride to the destination it the trail wasn't too rough.
The trail head sign that said 1.2 miles made sense, more or less.
After about 10 minutes of bouncing around downhill and considering that even if we made it to the high-point while the sun was still up, we would probably end up hiking back up the hill in the dark. I decided we would stop and try again the next morning.
On the way back I read the back-side of the sign at the trail head, that showed that the High-point was 130 ft from where we had started, around 1000 ft from the parking lot.
It's a good thing we turned back when we did.
Getting Down from High Places
One of the great things about collecting high-points, is that it gets you off the beaten path. It takes you to parts of the country you would have no other reason to go to. So you end up seeing all kinds of amazing sights along the way.
The GPS device in our phones weren't connecting and the road atlas wasn't detailed enough to show us the remote roads we were on. I knew how to get to the Missouri high-point, but I wasn't sure how to get back on the road towards Vail.
We ended up on a curvy roller-coaster of a country road for what seemed like hours, actually it was hours, before getting back to the main Interstate. We saw thousands and thousands of fire-flies twinkling from the outskirts of the dark forest that enveloped us.
We drove a lot longer and further than I had planned, making the next day a little shorter and the hotel bed even more inviting.