Friday, June 20, 2008

Wimping out in my old age

When I was 24 and living in Orlando, I traded in my very sensible 4-door Honda Civic for a brand-new red Jeep Wrangler. I loved that Jeep and had a ball with it until Ron and I got married. He hated it. Too bumpy, too much wind noise, too Jeep-y. So I traded it in on a Ford Explorer, but secretly I missed my Jeep.

Earlier this week we rented a Wrangler (but yellow) in Moab, Utah and went off-roading in Canyonlands National Park. I was really looking forward to it, but what I forgot was the 15 years between me and my last Jeeping experience. Ron took the wheel and was feeling very macho, although not macho enough to cause any damage we would have to pay for. The kids were raring to go, foolishly trusting that their parents knew what the heck they were doing.

The "trail" was completely covered with softball-sized boulders and I don't know how any of us have a tooth left in our heads. The kids were alternately laughing hysterically and screaming in fear as we bounced up the narrow ridge. We got lost veered from the recommended trail a couple of times, despite a GPS system and a map. One of our detours seriously tested the Jeep's 4WD capabilities and caused me to call on Jesus in a fervent manner over a steep patch of uphill slickrock. We were way out in the middle of nowhere and I was vividly imagining our four bleached skeletons lying beside the Jeep. At that point I was DONE, ready to head back to the hotel. But Ron and the kids wanted to hike to the Gemini Arches, while I waited in the shade, watching lizards climb up a tree. (PSA: White shirt + open Jeep + red dust = bad idea.)

After 30 minutes I began to imagine their three bleached skeletons at the bottom of the canyon, and wondered how long one should decently wait before driving back to Moab. They made it back before I left and Thomas had even discovered a baby arch.

We stuck it out and made it to Canyonlands, which was so incredibly beautiful I forgot the previous incidents and took 500 more photos. Check out these switchbacks. I have a friend back home whose family owns a guardrail company--they could truly be of use out here.

Today Mr. Macho Jeep Driver can barely walk because of his aching back, but we did see some amazing scenery.


rmeyfe said...

Your vacation looks like a lot of fun!! Too funny about the bumpy jeep ride, hope his back is feeling better!!

Kristi said...

what gorgeous scenery! looks like a blast :o)