Today we’re doing a fifteen minute writing prompt from Joe Bunting over at the Write Practice about a Road Trip.
Ready? Here we … Go!
Anticipation grew for the summers; not just for the breaks from school and the monotony of everyday but because for three weeks I’d pack my things and load up with my church youth group for the annual trek to Canada. I grew up attending a Lutheran church, every Sunday we’d attend church services, Sunday school when I was younger, confirmation classes when I reached my teens. Wednesday nights was dedicated to youth group activities and the pay off for this dedication was the summer camp.
Wilderness Ranch, set in the foothills of the Rockies in Alberta, Canada – outside of Calgary. The farthest from civilization I’d ever been (our first trip was in August and it snowed two or three feet that trip). But the getting there and getting home was a long and often torturous drive – three or four days straight, stopping to sleep in church basements or common rooms, where ever we could find space along our way in the Lutheran community.
I remember once we’d stopped at a motel of sorts, something we usually never did, only this was atop a bar and when the girls went to the bathroom Pastor Tom escorted us and stood outside the door. I was only about eleven or twelve at the time, it must have been a rougher place than I remember – but I felt completely safe in his presence, even without my parents, so I never second guessed his ability to protect us. I doubt, though, it had anything to do with God. Despite my dedication to attending church, I was never particularly religious or devout.
Which is not to say I don’t believe … I just think of the whole thing as being more spiritual and internal.
Anyways, back to the point of the post – the trip itself. Whenever I think of a road trip, these are the ones my mind goes to first; pretty much everything since then has been a day’s drive. These trips were special, sleeping in groups in a different space every night, rarely the same set of places every year with the anticipation of a new country and new adventures horseback and in the mountains awaiting us on the way, our beds, our family and friends and anxiousness for the familiarity of home on the way back.
I think I remember more about those days on the road than I do the exhausting days working the ranch itself, as much fun as they were. I learned a lot about myself and the people around me and I specifically remember particular things, scenes and thoughts twenty or more years later; which for me is nearly amazing.
I stopped going to Wilderness Ranch when I hit fourteen – too much teenage girl stuff to be done then and by the time I wanted to go back, I was already a mother and no longer able to attend on someone else’s dime. It is on the bucket list, however — places I’d love to take my children so they can experience what I got to… though do I let them experience without me? Or do I tag along so I can relive it for myself?
Perhaps someday, I’ll actually have the chance to tackle that problem.