He’s the exultation of the intestines as I jump from the bulldozer roof to the sand dune ten feet away. He’s that soft and sandy landing that I can’t stick, but can’t help trying again. He is that moment when you pause halfway up the mountain to turn around, take your eyes off your boots, and take in the country below you. He’s even that boredom that develops in the four straight hours of driving the most beautiful car VW ever made. There seems to be (and is) no part of this road trip that I cannot look back on and find God hiding, if not making Himself blatantly visible.
Dave and I blazed out of Denver around 8 pm Friday night, heading toward Wyoming. Around 1 we stopped at a rest stop and pitched a tent in the grassy area where dogs poop. At 7:19 am, I awoke to someone shaking the tent and obnoxiously saying excuse me! Good morning! We agreed it sounded like an overweight woman in her forties. I stirred Dave and hopped out of the tent. I looked around and no one was there. I looked all around to try to find the mystery-waker, but the only person I saw was a janky dude walking straight toward our car! I walked toward him and he went into the bathroom building instead. Now, we can’t say for sure, but my opinion is that it was an obnoxious angel waking us up to prevent theft out of Motojolo(my Jetta). Nevertheless, we packed up, brushed some teeth, and rolled out, heading to Mr. Zac Crosby’s house in Salt Lake City.
We loved hanging out with Zac. We worshiped, hiked, watched movies, went to church, and explored the city. We stayed with him two nights and left Monday afternoon, heading to Moab. About dinner time we got there and got dinner. The waitress told us that there is a mountain 20 minutes away where we could camp for free. She was wrong. We explored, then went to find the mountain. We set up camp, worshiped beneath the stars and enjoyed a sleepless, windy, tent-flapping night. The next morning woke us up with a friendly voice shouting “Campo’s!” I jumped out and met an old man with dreadlocks (even in his beard!), one inch ear gages, sweatpants, and a pair of MANdals. He told us we had to pay for the camping spot. We were bummed, but he was the nicest guy.
We rolled South again, this time bound for Lake Powell. While Dave was driving, I penned a poem about how much I loathe wind, titled The Wind Blows (get it?). After weaving through and around the scenic red canyons, as well as taking two wrong turns, we got to the disappointing lake, which was more of a swollen river which cost money to go in. We drove around to the other side of the canyon and arrived at an overlook that was breathtaking. A few minutes down that road, we found a nice, windless camping spot on the side of the road. We hid Motojolo behind some rock piles and pitched our tent a quarter mile from the road.
After enjoying a wind-free night of sleep, we headed East, toward home. It was on this leg of the journey that God gave us what we both agree was the best part of the entire trip. We were driving on the highway, fleeing the mammoth red walls of Utah’s canyons when, there on the side of the road, was a gigantic bulldozer. I looked at Dave and he nodded. We stopped to snap a few more Garden State pictures, but then it got better. The dozer was sitting in the middle of tons and tons of imported sand dunes. To dismount the roof of the vehicle, Dave ran and cleared the ten-foot gap between us and the nearest dune. I followed suit. It was incredible, leaping into the freefall and casting our bodies into the mercy of the sand. We were overjoyed to have found such a treasure on the side of the road! Cars passing cast beguiled looks our way as we climbed the machine and jumped off, followed by some scampering over the dunes with no real aim.
After many more hours of driving, and crossing the line back into Colorado, we were threading the Motojolo through the Rockies. Dave saw a sign for Hanging Lake and said we had to stop! We pulled over and found a bunch of groups of people ascending and descending the mountain. We decided to embark and head on up. We jogged up the jagged rocky mile of trail. It did NOT look like COlorado. It was too beautiful and green. I felt like I was in Middle Earth or Narnia, repeatedly. When we creasted the summit and found the lake itself, I almost lost control of my body. The beauty was staggering. Nothing Dave had said of this place was overrated. The water was deep blue and clearer than my glasses. A waterfall fed the lake from above, and after soaking in the view from the middle of the lake on the fallen log, we went above the waterfall. There was a bigger waterfall. The entire summit was surrounded by evergreen-infested mirror peaks. I could go on, or I could just tell you to imagine the craziest think J.R.R. Tolkien could dream up and subtract the elves.
We drove home only to find the craziest lightning storm I have seen in my life. And I have seen my fair share of lightning storms. The trip was amazing. As always, I went in expecting to find out a certain thing or two about God, but came away with an entirely different understanding of Him that I intended. Dave and my conversations ranged from ludicrous to indelibly deep, and he was amazing. I could not have chosen a better companion.
So yah. Next time you ask God for a blessing, you may just be lucky enough to get a bulldozer.