Slow down, plan ahead, do it right.
Today I noticed something, I took more time to do something and there was less urgency to get them done. My emphasis was on quality, not speed. Most of the time my life is like a race, I sprint from one stop to the next. Lately, I have been driving at a very different speed and I like it a lot.
Highway Safety – a huge lesson in patience
This is not a rant, it’s the context for understanding a shift in my approach, or at least that’s my intention. Since leaving Lake Pleasant I’ve seen 4 close calls on the Northern Arizona highways. Of the four, 3 involved cars passing on a 2 lane highway. Of the 3 we were close enough to be potential victims of other’s recklessness in two of them. Driving an RV and towing a car behind it, you sort of break yourself of any inclination to have a heavy foot. You simply don’t have the power to weight ratio to race around. Given that we find ourselves being passed, frequently. On highway 20 North Bound (89T or temporary, 89 is under construction and partially closed) we were being passed quite a lot. The limit is 55 and I was driving at the limit, evidently, people headed to Page or Lake Powell have some very urgent business and they will make dangerous passes without hesitation. During one of those passes, we got our first taste of the danger when a truck decided to pass with very little room between oncoming traffic and us. I had to pull over and hit my breaks and the oncoming cars did too. The truck barely made it through without hitting the oncoming car head-on or swiping our front end.
Scared the hell out of me.
While driving to the Grand Canyon, we saw flashing lights abruptly turn on a car headed our way at high speed. My wife was driving and while a two-lane road with about 2-3 feet of the shoulder, the police car coming the other way decided they should pass immediately. It scared the crap out of all of us, at first I felt the adrenaline, everything slowed down. Then I was pissed off. Whatever that call was to flip on your lights and make a dangerous pass like that is totally unacceptable. Had my wife not acted quickly, there is a good chance that my entire family would either be dead or lying in a hospital somewhere.
Took me a few hours to shake this one.
On the way back from the Grand Canyon we experienced the same impatient behavior as we had previously on North Bound 20. In one case an SUV started to pull into our lane with very little room to pass. They pulled back into the lane, waited, and proceeded to pass after us with oncoming traffic very near. I watched in horror as the cars in both lanes had to put on their brakes and swerve to avoid a head-on incident.
The fourth and final incident was a little more run of the mill. Someone not looking and pulling into an intersection. I was able to brake and they noticed their error and abruptly hit the brakes as well.
The net result of this adrenaline roller coaster is a reminder to be cautious and practice defensive driving at all times.
A different pace
When I left alone today to go to find a decent data connection, I was incredibly cautious. The last thing I or my family need is me getting squashed like a bug riding my Suzuki Bergman to Starbucks. I also found that since I am without good data, I had to have a very clear plan as to what I wanted to get done when I did get a decent data connection.
In addition to patience, being methodical is equally important.
Returning to our campsite (can I call it that since we’re in a rolling house?) I found some time during and after watching World Cup Soccer. I opted to use that extra time to clean around the RV a bit. Cleaning evolved to organizing, I re-packed a couple of drawers and cabinets. After I learned that my wife wanted me to BBQ some hamburgers tonight I took on the task of getting the BBQ cleaned out. One thing about the small portable gas BBQ is that stuff builds up inside really quickly. Since it gets stored inside our compartments we don’t want it getting too nasty. Without getting into the details I will say I had a great plan and the BBQ ended up very clean and ready for today’s task of grilling up some epic burgers.
Something was different, I didn’t rush through, there was no hurry and I was really pleased with myself when the quality job was done. At that point, I really started feeling the effects of the shift and started to think about writing this blog post.
I hope this isn’t a temporary adjustment, life is better at this speed.
Hiking to Horseshoe Bend
One thing I didn’t mention yet is that our first event of the day was a trip to three local spots, the first being Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe Bend is a section of the Colorado River that is shaped like its namesake. There is a .75 mile hike with minor elevation change and deep sand for about half of it. It felt hot even though it was earlier in our day, but it was definitely worth the time and heat to see it. What created us was an incredible section of the Colorado River with mostly greenish waters surrounded by tall cliffs varying from black to red and even pale white. There were several boats to illustrate how huge the canyon walls are. The boats looked like little more than specks from where we were situated atop the canyon walls. I shared a picture of the majestic site asking if anyone knew where I was. No-one had guessed correctly as of the writing of this but the secret is now out.
Hiking Hanging Gardens
Very near to the dam at Lake Powell, there is a short hike to a very special place. The hanging gardens are basically vegetation growing in a shaded and moist area in what is typically a hot and dry climate. I believe the main plant is a type of fern but I could be mistaken. There are also lots of green trees and shrubs in the area giving it a very oasis type look. It was well worth the time to go and check it out. The sign at the gate says that the Rangers do a guided hike daily at 6:30 PM. I bet that is awesome, however, it doesn’t really fit our schedule.
The Glen Canyon Dam
After the Hanging Gardens hike, we stopped at the visitor center at the dam. Aside from all the usual stuff this center had a fantastic view of the dam from the imposing sandstone cliff it is perched atop. What really impressed me about it is that normally I’d want to view something like this outside without glass in-between, but the way this center is set up I enjoyed the indoor view much more than the outdoor. You are closer to everything and it’s a great perspective.
We’ve got lots of great suggestions from people reading the blog and Facebook updates. We’ve decided on these locations in the near future:
- Antelope Canyon
- Monument Valley
- Arches National Monument
- Dinosaur National Park
Did we miss anything so awesome that we should reconsider it? Please let me know what and why and it’s never too late to reconsider other stuff.