road

The Long and Winding Road

I have always suffered from incurable optimism (in most areas of my life). Sell a house on my own? No problem. I read a book and did it. Weave baskets? Sure, why not? I gave the results to everyone for Christmas one year. Make twenty period costumes each October for a full-length play? I sewed between classes, on weekends and every day after work. But I got it done.

You get the picture. Drive to Alaska in just five days pulling a trailer? According to my map app, the trip should take one day and 17 hours. If we figure in sleep, four days should suffice.

Or not. For one thing, maps and apps don’t take into account all of the little things. Like bathroom breaks, stopping to make a sandwich, road construction, and the need to sleep.

After leaving Grand Prairie, we drove for two hours and finally arrived at Dawson Creek—the official start of the Alaska Highway. We stopped to take a picture of the starting marker, and some kind fellow travelers snapped a photo of both of us.

Now that we had traveled over 2000 miles, our trip would officially start.

Wild About Animals

We hoped to make it to Liard Hot Springs for the night, but animals got in our way. Not literally, of course, but we had agreed to stop for bears and moose. I quickly discovered that my ability to back a trailer up was proportional to my desire to get a good photograph of a bear.

With Pedro’s coaching, I managed to back up about three blocks whilst a black bear munched on flowers beside the road. bear along the road
We saw three black bears in a two-mile stretch of highway.
bears-2
Pedro drove after the second bear sighting, and a few minutes later we stopped for a grizzly bear.
grizzly along road

 

Camping Under a Bridge

By the time we pulled into Liard Hot Springs, the clouds had let loose with a steady drizzle. We stopped to refuel at a convenience store across from the campground. “What time is it?” I asked Pedro. “The park campground has already filled up.” Evidently, you need reservations in the summer time.

Pedro spoke with the store owner, who told us we could either camp in the private campground behind the gas station, or drive another thirty minutes and camp under a bridge for free. We opted to keep driving, because we needed to recharge our battery with the generator (without keeping our neighbors awake).

By the time we found the bridge and the place to camp, the last fingers of sunlight pointed out a nice spot for the trailer. Our ten-hour, 553-mile planned drive for the day had turned into a 12-hour 600-mile drive.

We had two choices. Revel in the beauty we had seen that day, or grouse about time lost and falling behind on our schedule. We opted for the former. We had a plan, and a general time frame for arrival, but nothing or no one depended on us arriving at a certain day or hour.

To ruin a lovely day over regrets about full campgrounds, the unexpected stops, and the encounters with kindly strangers would be a slap in the face to the one who orders our footsteps. How often do you get to see a grizzly grazing on flowers? Or a moose walking along the highway?

Don't stress the small stuff, learn to enjoy the blessings of the journey. #write31days Click To Tweet

Beauty Tip #11: You’ll find yourself less stressed if you take time to enjoy the blessings God bestows on your journey.

Q4U: What unexpected blessings has God bestowed on you in this season of your life?