We woke up on Friday morning at Trinidad Lake State Park. Unfortunately, we had to move out early, in order to get our travel time in through more of Colorado, to stay on track for our journey home.
But, guys, I *had* to have a shower. There are plenty of tips and tricks for surviving camping and personal hygiene (I love you, dry shampoo!)…and I am happy to put off my needs for awhile, for the sake of my family. But then it reaches that point…you know what I mean, ladies?
Plus, if I’m going for it, it takes a LOT longer for me to get ready than it does for the boys in a quick camp shower.
“I’ve learned in life, you can either have a wife with long, beautiful hair…or you can be on time.” – Jeff Foxworthy
I was happy to get ready in phases, if that’s what it took. Phase 1: take a shower.
Oooooooh…right. The shower is full of stuff. Scratch that. Phase 1: unload shower.
Except that now the bed was full again after we had to move all the stuff we had smashed in the table area. We were now in constant loop of moving piles of stuff in order to sit down.
My emotional temperature was rising.
But I made it through the shower and breakfast. ( I promised the boys some camp cereal like I had growing up. These happy faces were getting me through.)
By the time everyone else cycled through getting ready, it was time to leave. We wanted to get on the road, at least for a little bit, to get closer to some sightseeing…maybe Denver? But we also had a problem that needed to be addressed: we had no food.
Remember the fridge?
We had to throw away everything…even stuff in the cabinets was funky after sitting in the heat for so long. So now, our mission was to get to a Walmart. After getting a little driving in, we found one in the town of Pueblo. When we pulled in, Joe said he could turn the generator on for a little bit so I could curl my hair, Phase 2.
Have you ever seen the Friends episode where they all go to the Bahamas for Ross’ conference? And Monica’s hair keeps getting frizzier and frizzier from the humidity? That’s what I was looking like, by then. It wasn’t necessarily humid…maybe it was just the mountain water. Either way, it was scary.
About halfway through the process…the generator shut off. [big eye emoji] Nooooooooo! Not again! This was scary for *two* reasons!
This is not about appearances here, anyone that knows me…knows I can let things go pretty far. It’s just that, after everything we’d been through in the last few days, I just wanted something to feel normal.
It was a bad one, you guys. So. many. tears. All the energy I had used to pack and unpack, drive late nights, and keep things steady and cheerful for the boys was gone. I had no reserves. The wave came…and it CRASHED on the shore.
Joe was a champ. For better or worse, right? He has ALWAYS been there… And thank God he is strong enough to handle me when I’m like this. 😉 ❤
With half a head of curls, I packed up my stuff in a bag and headed inside Walmart, to the bathroom. Much to my surprise, there were no outlets!! But I did brush my teeth. Yes, I brushed my teeth in a Walmart bathroom. Humility, right?
By the time I got through the rest of the store with our grocery list (with a half a head of curls and half a head of Monica!!), Joe had texted me that he got the generator working again. Yay! But a lot of time had passed and we realized we better get our plan for the night in place.
When you’re having a meltdown in a Walmart parking lot in Colorado, there’s no one better to call than Sonia McGarrity. This SuperMom of 7 is a family friend of ours from many years ago. She and my sister met at University of Maryland and lived together in a house full of girls until they each got married, one by one. Sonia, Jeff, and their kids eventually moved to Colorado, but we still stay in touch.
After talking (and crying) awhile, Sonia offered for us to stay at their house overnight…and was even going to cook us dinner! This was especially generous, considering she was currently packing for her OWN camping trip and she would be leaving an hour after we got there!!
Before getting off the phone, she suggested a place for us to stop on the way, in Colorado Springs. It was a park called “Garden of the Gods.” We were a little over an hour away from there…and then it would just be an hour further to Sonia’s.
We were thankful for the suggestion because we were not going to make it to Denver. I pulled it together and walked back into the RV.
On the road again. The boys were enjoying sitting up front with Joe. Since we have less seating in Rigby now, I took the opportunity to go lay down in the back. My mom always says, “Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your family is take a nap!’ 😉
When we arrived at Garden of the Gods, it was raining! Shoot!!! But we still weren’t exactly sure what it was, yet. Joe pulled up in front of the Visitor’s Center so I could hop out and see what was up. It seemed really neat…but there was no RV parking there. Darn! And they had canceled a lot of the guided tours because of the weather.
I finally asked someone where else we could park. He directed me to another parking lot that was a five minute walk back to the Visitor’s Center. Hmmm…no thanks. Not in the pouring down rain!
A little defeated, I walked back to the RV to give Joe an update. He decided to see if we could drive up and see anything for ourselves. After a few minutes, we came across another parking lot that lead to a path to the park!!! YAY!!!
We all needed a break, so we decided to cuddle up on the bed and watch a movie. It was a great way to wait for the storm to pass, but still be together. After 30 minutes or so, the sun came out!!! We were so excited to get out of the car and walk around…and the Garden of the Gods FAR EXCEEDED our expectations!!! Great suggestion, Sonia! ❤
This little jaunt began to refresh our souls. “Nature…it’s why I come up here.”
This was the way out of the park. Yeah…we were kissing these rocks on our way through! I guess Rigby wanted a little adventure too!
I had been staying in touch with Sonia about our progress all day. We were finally ready to head toward her house! The last time I saw her, in person, was about 6 years ago. I couldn’t WAIT to surprise my sister with a picture of us together! I never told her we were going there! 😉
Some of you will recognize these beautiful faces!!
This is Sonia and the last of the seven, Rosie…whom I had never met. I wanted to take her home with us, but Sonia wouldn’t let me! 😦
I was AMAZED at her hospitality, considering she was leaving with two kids…to meet her husband and remaining five kids at the campground for the weekend. But there she was, serving us dinner and chatting it up in the kitchen. And their older son, Sean, played with the boys for quite a while…it was such a treat for us all!
She is great for a good dose of perspective…and A LOT of laughs. It was just what I needed. Even Joe commented that he hadn’t seen me that relaxed in days.
Sonia got us all hooked up at the house and then headed off for her own adventure. Things were looking much better by the end of the day, than at the beginning.
Joe and I love to help people…but those we have run into on this trip have inspired us with a whole new level of generosity and thoughtfulness. We all have a choice, every day, how we will spend our time. Will it be for the sake of others? Or for ourselves? We are learning more and more what it means to live open-handed. Thank you, Lord, for so many great examples!
| One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” |
– Proverbs 11:24-25