This was written last year, poorly and then buried. Now while we are on our second annual Honeymoon, you can hear about our first. It ties into the redemption discussed last week…
I spent weeks plotting and planning an Epic Roadtrip for our honeymoon. The just-wed bride enjoyed surprises, and besides knowing it didn’t require a passport or a plane ticket she didn’t know my plans. I had enlisted the help of a few friends and many websites to pick out great roadside attractions and a couple casinos. Each attraction, restaurant or casino was then placed in an envelope and labeled with a Letter from A to V. Each envelope only said the next stop or place not the complete destination. It was exciting and complicated at times but the beautiful Hannah loves complicated surprises!
The first day was great we got up early and met friends for breakfast an hour outside of town. We saw a model of Stonehenge in the Gorge, dinosaurs and won some money at a casino. All the directions were working great until we made it into Spokane. I know roadside attractions and funny named town can move, close or lack existence from previous experiences but this trip was going perfect thus far.
There was supposed to be a Milk Jug building but the directions had us circling around a neighborhood just outside of downtown. I noticed she wasn’t looking at the paper as she mentioned street names and was becoming more and more uncomfortable as we drove around. It was approaching 10 hours since we left home but I thought the energy level was fine until we hit town. I was determined to make this a perfect trip so pulled over and asked to see the sheet and was going to see if I could figure out if we missed a turn.
She stopped me. And said we should just move on. I pressured and then she really stopped me.
“I’ve spent a good bit of time in this neighborhood. There’s nothing to see here.”
My jaw dropped. I spent somewhere around 40 hours searching and building maps, but forgot something very important. This is the town her ex lived in and I just literally drove her back to some not pleasant memories.
I just brought my bride to the one town she never wanted to see again. I must redeem this place. I thought
In reality, I had to redeem it because we had a hotel a mile away and 3 more envelopes before I had planned for us to leave. I took her to an amazing dinner downtown after letting her choose the type. We acted like high schoolers in the park after dark sliding down the big red wagon slide. And made some kids cry as we expressed our love for each other on the carousel the next morning. Oh and I fed a fake goat trash. It was amazing. And I like to think that the town’s image now includes better memories for the few hours we spent than all the previous days she was there.
Spokane was redeemed and I was ready to get on with the rest of the trip. We had stopped a lot the day before so I had prepared a long day of mostly just driving. Scenic, windy roaded driving. I was thinking about how much I had messed up the city the night before and couldn’t believe I had pulled a Chris Farley. I was hoping there wouldn’t be anything close to that again, but unfortunately it only got worse as we drove through Idaho and into Montana along the same route that she had told me previously involved heartbreak and disillusionment.
Luckily we have a relationship based on redemption. While we didn’t stay in the same city that involved bad memories, but instead near one of the few National Parks she had missed on her epic road trip the summer before- Glacier National Park.
With my amazing planning skills we were also able to redeem and make new memories in Montana. Memories that included going the coldest place on earth— marked by a giant penguin, a massive collection of horded items, and seeing a real vortex in the earth that happens to be near a lot of national parks and always cost about the same! Oh and we saw a lot of Glacier National as we drove through and around the park for 5 days.
We also learned how to trust each other. She had to trust me as I took her on a long hike in bear country where a cold front blew in when I told her the bears were as scared of her as she of them. That hike I was also told, “Don’t touch me” as the nice beautiful trail dropped 3,000 ft in 4 miles. It took a few hours and a long silence in the car for her to reconcile with me, but we attempted a couple more small hikes after that. We also learned to yield control and trust the other as we drove very windy roads that once contained a herd of cows around a corner and a large elk around another time. Those crazy long hours in a car also gave us a lot of time to reminisce about our amazing community of friends who threw us the greatest party ever the week before at the wedding.
The best part of the trip for me was realizing that for the rest of my life I will have a traveling companion that loves roadside oddities, long hours in a car, and nature over expensive theme parks and resorts. And that not only makes all the past pains and failures feel redeemed, but I get to start a new unwritten adventure of with the beautiful Hannah.
And that feels like winning the jackpot…which we never did at those casinos.