11 April 2013

Heels Over Head

Magnificent Tetons

a real-life adventure

Read Part XXIV here.

Now available in ebook format!


I pre-rented an SUV in Anchorage, and I scheduled an extra week to return to Denver on the flip-flop. I studied trail maps and Alaskan history. We checked out books about Denali and read them to each other. We took another practice trip to Moab and fantasized about what four-wheeling in a real four-wheeler would be like. Both of the kids saved every dime of their allowance, not even going to Water World or Elitches in June, even though they had many invites and the pool in our neighborhood was closed for repairs.

We were going to Alaska!

The magical day arrived with a wonderful send-off party thrown by my co-workers. The kids took the bus to my work and arrived just in time for the festivities.

I'd arranged to leave for Seattle directly from my office a few hours before closing time, but work had been extraordinarily busy. My co-workers, well aware of my highway apprehension and cold feet, shooed me on my way by taking over my responsibilities for me.

"Go on! Get out of here!" they'd teased. My kids took their cue and pretended to drag me from the building, much to the amusement of all my co-workers and bosses.

We were off. First stop, Jackson Hole, by nightfall if possible. I could see the skyline of the jagged peaks as we neared Moran Junction. I'd survived the first leg of the adventure primarily by singing with the kids and ignoring every skid mark on the highway, every scuff mark on jersey barriers and every crunched guardrail, mile marker and signpost along the way, of which there were many. Numerous. Abundant. Plentiful. Profuse. Plethora.

I'd never really paid much attention to such roadway scars prior to my accident, even though I spent eight years as a police reporter, documenting the occurrence of such sometimes on a daily basis. In the last few months, other people's nightmares and flashbacks attempted to feed mine and keep them fresh and ready to spring at a moment's notice. Or without notice at all.

The plan was to spend a day in Yellowstone before heading to Seattle. I thought breaking the drive into two days would relieve some of the apprehension while making the trip 100 percent safer. Plus, I'd always been a sucker for interesting, educational and photogenic side trips. Particularly if I could burn up a few rolls of film in the process. We checked into our hotel room and slept well after three hours of Discovery Channel, a real treat to my television-starved children.


Read Part XXVI here.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2013 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone

Mammoth Hot Springs

12 comments :

  1. Never really thought much about the skids marks, but yeah they are scars for someone, congrats on having it in ebook format too!

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    1. Thanks, Pat! Sometimes skid marks still get to me, but at least I'm not having nightmares because of them anymore.

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  2. What a great place to visit on your way. I'm sure it helped you forget the skid marks a little bit...at least I hope it helped.

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    1. It was a truly grand vacation, CameraGirl! I can't wait to go back one day.

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  3. Hey, so first I was going to post Wa-hey! You finished the book ... and then I started reading. What an awful experience to go through, I hadn't realised how serious your accident had been. Congrats on getting it all out there.

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    1. Thanks, Niamh! Actually, the book's been done since 2006. But it was in hibernation. Now I'm on a roll!

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  4. You made it! That was a big victory, and based on your photos, it looks as if you had a wonderful time.

    I do always notice all the scars on the roads and they scare me, even though I haven't been through an experience like yours. For me, they are just a reminder to be vigilant.

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    1. Definitely a reminder to be vigilant, KB. I hope I will never take my safety on the road for granted.

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  5. Highway scars ~ they sadly cann make one imagine horrible things indeed. Alaska!

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    1. Yes, Alaska!!! I wish I could go back, Stratoz!

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  6. I know what you mean about the marks on guardrails ... once years ago Mr. M fell asleep on his way home from work in Madison (he gets tired very easily) and only a bounce off a guardrail (on the wrong side of the road!) woke him up and kept him from crashing into a deep ditch. For years I could see the marks on that particular barrier every time we drove down there. Ugh.

    But having already read the next chapter, I know that your journey just keeps getting better.... :)

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    1. Oh, Sue, I'm so glad he escaped unscathed. The Lizard and I traveled the section of highway where I overturned not long ago, and I was very surprised by the ghosts still thriving there. But I didn't have nightmares that night, so the journey does just keep getting better.

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