18 April 2013

Heels Over Head

Seattle Skyline

a real-life adventure

Read Part XXV here.

Now available in ebook format!

I'd never been to Yellowstone during the summer, so the mosquitoes took me by surprise. I always kept bug lotion in my first aid kit for just such seasonal annoyances, but extracting the first aid kit this trip proved challenging. In helping pack the car prior to the trip, one of the kids had inadvertently misplaced the first aid kit.

"Not me!" one shouted. "Not me!" the other one echoed. I rolled my eyes and began sorting through our overgrown and not quite organized three week survival kit on wheels just below Gibbon Falls, growing more and more frustrated as fearless skin terrorists waged war. Finally, someone thought they remembered seeing the white box with the red cross on top in the trunk. Ten minutes later, we were all lathered in Avon's Skin-So-Soft and ready to make our way up the trail to the waterfall.

Problem Number Two arose when I couldn't find the car keys. Luckily, we had not locked the doors yet, and even more fortunate, I always kept a valet key in my camera bag. I was able to drive us back down into Jackson, where we had to hire a locksmith at weekend rates so I could access my trunk, where I hoped my master key was hiding.

About $100 into our Alaska cache later, we were on the road again, hoping to be able to find a room on the other side of Yellowstone, since we wouldn't be able to make it Seattle or even Billings now before I surely would run out of steam.

The mishap kept my mind from dwelling on much of anything during the second leg of our northward trek. Definitely provided the kids with ample material to humorously harass mom about, too.

The unplanned change in schedule allowed us to dally in the town of Wallace, Idaho, where my kids' favorite movie, "Dante's Peak," was filmed. The kids used up every shot in their disposable cameras capturing every single building, tree, bridge and wall they recognized from the movie. We even had to go inside the grocery store so they could buy something from the store that was in the movie. Anything. Candy, jerky, juice. It didn't matter. To them, it was Dante's Peak, even if it said Hostess or Wrigley's on the package.

In hindsight, I think my kids enjoyed this previously unknown and unplanned rest stop more than Yellowstone.

Westbound on I-90 for seemingly endless hours, I realized just outside of Spokane that I was having fun! Driving wasn't a chore. It wasn't scary. My kids were safe, even though I was driving. I hadn't experienced any flashbacks. My kids were happily playing in the backseat. I'd driven nearly 1,000 miles, and we were all still alive! My Ugly Duckling was still an Ugly Duckling, but not because it had war wounds.

I couldn't allow the kids to see the tears streaming down my face. They'd have thought the worst. I couldn't mar what was becoming the vacation of a lifetime.

But I couldn't contain the joy inside, either. I felt as if I'd been caged for more than two years. The entryway to my self-imposed detention center had never been barricaded or locked, but I'd been too afraid to poke my turtle head out of my shell.

But now I was soaring! I was an eagle, and I was flying down the highway at the speed limit, and smiling at the same time. In less than 36 hours, I would be driving an SUV. I would find every road Alaska had to offer, and I would drive!

Welcome back to me!

Read Part XXVII here.

Table of Contents

Mount St. Helens


bike Alaska

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.


  1. Unplanned can sometimes surely be the best little adventures.Having fun driving too, must have been great to finally come due

    1. Yes, Pat, when the moment finally hit, boy, was I ever ready for it! I truly felt as if I'd been in prison for nearly two years. It's so wonderful to be free again!

  2. Wow, what a relief and a joy to be driving with pleasure again.

    The photos are stunning!

    (I think I somehow missed a segment. Will have to go back now and check.)

    1. Thanks, Sue! (And thanks for going back, too. It tickles my heart to know someone wanted to catch up on a segment missed!) And yes, driving isn't a bear anymore. Thank heavens!

  3. What a fine example of unexpected Joy! Hmmm, D is for Dally

    1. And E is for Ecstatic! Maybe I should do that alphabet challenge sometime...


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