Road trip to Seattle
WI >> CO
Our morning began at 4am, after saying goodbyes to family and packing up our car the night before. The first leg of our travels consisted of 14 hours. At this point that entire drive feels like a blur. Most of the day consisted of sleeping and switching as drivers. We saw a lot of Nebraska and the speed limit was thankfully 80mph. One gem of Nebraska was a restaurant called Block 16. I had the best gluten free bun of my life! There were so many happy smiles as I consumed the delicious pulled pork sandwich. We continued on our way though the flat plains of Nebraska. I've noticed in these desolate area the rest stops are few and far between. We made it to our hotel at 8pm to eat and fall into bed. Overall this leg of the trip was long, but rather painless.
CO >> UT
Thankfully this morning we knew we only had an 8 hour drive ahead of us. Trevor took me to a lovely coffee shop in Denver called Aviano. The interior had warm wood paneling and white brick on the back wall. The shop even opened up to the outdoors. I was thankful to start out the morning slowly enjoying a coffee. This place was exactly where I wanted to be with my handsome date.
After leaving Denver our next stop was Trough Rd. This road was significant to Trevor and he was excited to share it with me. He had been there 2 two years previously with some friends. They stumbled upon the road and marveled at the snow covered mountains, winding river below and whistling train that passed as they took in the site. Trevor told me he was nervous that it wouldn't be as great this time around. Upon arriving we pulled off to the side of the winding road and walked down to the bend. I had my camera in hand excited to capture this place. We walked down through a small trail when suddenly the view opened up and it felt as if you could see for miles. I took in the mountains stretching for miles, the small winding train tracks and the coursing river below. I sat on a nearby rock to take in the view and photograph the scenery. It was a beautiful stop and great way for us to stretch our legs before returning to the car.
This was the day we made frequent stops due to the breathtaking scenery. I was left in awe while viewing the variety of colors and textures that rolled before my eyes mile after mile. I saw rich hues of gold layered with mountains, small creeks of vibrant blue winding purposely through tall evergreens, tall rock formations painted in mossy greens and cool greys, so many beautiful sights to behold.
"You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you." - Nehemiah 9:6
I'm currently reading a book entitled "Hinds Feet on High Places." In the book the main character begins to observe nature and she listens to the unique song of the water, flowers and birds. She describes the song of water being filled with laughter, the song of the flowers full of color and the birds whistling a sweet tune. All of nature became a beautiful chorus.
When I'm in nature I experience something much like the character of this book. In nature thoughts of myself or worries in my mind are stilled as I take in the grandeur of the details before me. I begin to hear or sense in my spirit a voice saying "I am here. I created all this and I give life and breath to all you see. I see you and I'm with you." When I'm in nature I can view the characteristics of God before me. When I see mountains I'm reminded that God is immovable, a firm foundation and our stability. I observe his peace in the still sparking waters, his strength in a tall evergreen, his creativity in a vibrant and delicate flower, his vastness in a rolling plain, his kindness in a babbling creek, his majesty in a sunset that warms your heart and steals your breath. He is present and He gives life.
UT >> NV
Utah was an interesting state to drive though. Surrounding us were desolate plains and varying shadows of blue that indicated a mountain range further west. When I looked forward at the layers of blue shadows it felt as if we would meet the end of the earth. I told Trevor I felt like we were in a Twilight Zone episode. There was no civilization and it was desolate for 4 hours of travels. As I mentioned earlier the rest areas were few and far between! After passing Salt Lake City there was only plains of white salt in view. Trevor and I agreed Utah was like being in a Star Wars episode. There was desert and the salt made us think of the desolate winter scene in Episode 6. Utah was bizarre, but there were moments of incredible beauty. I saw rock formation that ranged from a salt white to dusty pink and rich red rock. The drive was an experience where we observed a variety of creation.
We arrived at our hotel around 6pm. We pulled into the Motel 6 that we booked weeks ago. To our surprise one side of the building was taped off for construction, but overall the feeling of the place was run down. I started to feel uncomfortable with the setting, but I pushed the thoughts away as we brought things into our room. I told Trevor we should go somewhere for dinner, because I wanted to spend as little time possible in that room. We found a charming restaurant/brewery in a historical building. As we headed to the restaurant Trevor and I observed the stark contrast between casinos and flashing lights in the city center and just streets away buildings looking rundown and abandoned. As we were stopped at a red light I looked over to a woman in her early 20's. She stood at the street corner lifting her eyes to the sky, itching her face experiencing a high that caused her body to make fluctuating movements in her warn clothes and unkept hair. My heart felt so many things as I took in this sight. My heart hurt to see her in this condition and I wondered what help is provided in a city like this? She was so young. I longed to hear her story. To listen. To care. This image lingered with me as we continued on to the restaurant.
The restaurant was a historical remodel that looked modern, but either side was anchored with run down buildings. We parked further down from the restaurant and on our walk around the block we found that there appeared to be no middle class as we observed the people around. Both Trevor and I felt something different being in Reno than any other city we had visited. After dinner we went to a park and began to share our observations. We agreed that there was a weight that hung on our hearts as we took in the city. The weight was the depravity that we could sense and see before our eyes. There was a heaviness and hopelessness that hung in the air. I've never sensed that so clearly in a city before.
While walking around the park we both noticed that we didn't feel safe. I rarely sense that in a new place, but Trevor admitted he was scared to let me out of his sight. Being a feeling type person I was overwhelmed by all the things I was sensing in this city.
Once we made it back to our room I was letting fear rule my thoughts and I felt mentally attacked. In this season of life I have experienced panic attacks for the first time. It is a humbling and frightening experience when you feel like you can't control your breathing. Suddenly you begin breathing faster than you knew possible. For me it is an out of body experience. My body takes over and in my mind I think "What is happening to me?" My heart goes out to friends who have shared their experiences with panic attacks. I can now relate and I understand friend.
In the room my panicked breath took over, Trevor held me in his arms and began to pray. Prayer has been the only thing I've found to subside these panic attacks. In those moments when we acknowledge God's presence in our circumstance and His great power the result is PEACE. Suddenly my thoughts go beyond myself and I am awakened to His peace that stills my spirit.
"I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure." - Psalm 16:7-9
Trevor and I began to pray for the city and what we sensed; we prayed for our sleep that night and travel the next day. We slept peacefully, but I awoke at 6am ready to get on the road. It was great to get any early start as we made our way to into CA, eventually to OR for the weekend and then finally arrive in our new home in Seattle.