My Presence will go with you. – Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
Twenty-seven days. Fifteen states. Nearly 7,000 miles and 2,623 pictures. Vacation 2017 wasn’t a “rest and recharge” escape—the kind we prefer. Rather, it was a “see as much as you can in the four weeks you have” journey. A definite move out of our comfort zone.
And see we did! Glacier National Park. Mount Rainier. Mount St. Helens. The Space Needle. The rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Indian reservations.
We toured visitor’s centers and museums. We watched video clips and hiked paths to waterfronts and mountaintops. Our F-150 pulled our 29-foot fifth-wheel camper 17 miles up Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park—a narrow, steep, winding mountain road.
Lesson Number 1: If you want to experience the thrill of the mountaintop, you have to take the risk and climb the mountain.
We took a gondola ride up Whitefish Mountain in Montana—elevation 6,817 feet above sea level. We ate seafood at Elliott’s Oyster House on Pier 56 then rode the Seattle Great Wheel—a gigantic Ferris wheel rising 175 feet over Elliott Bay.
Yes, I, with my fear of heights, rode both the ski lift and the Great Wheel. (It helped that we rode in an enclosed gondola both times.) My fear dissipated, and I loved every minute of it!
Let me back up here for a minute. When we pulled into the parking lot at Whitefish Mountain Resort, I took one look at the ski lift gliding up the mountain, cars suspended high over the ski-slope-turned-mountain-bike-trail, and I told Dean, “No way.”
Then I noticed that some of the cars were enclosed.
“I can do this,” I told myself. And I did. I pushed away that fear of heights and had a marvelous ride to the top, where the panoramic view was spectacular.
Lesson Number 2: Don’t let fear stop you from experiencing unique adventures. Remember me and the footlog bridges in Smoky Mountain National Park a couple of years ago?
As we cruised along the scenic routes (“sped” is more like it—but we were traveling with two other couples, who had motorhomes and lead feet), I was amazed at the diverse terrains and in awe of their Creator: waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs; snow-capped mountain peaks; glacier-green lakes, rivers, and streams gushing through lush green valleys; forests of lodge pole pines pointing to heaven; craggy peaks jutting into a cloud-studded blue sky; feather wisp clouds crowning mountaintops; the brown, barren, treeless, desert-like landscape of eastern Washington state.
Lesson Number 3: Don’t take the scenic route at 60 mph. Slow down and inhale the scent of pine and honeysuckle, listen to the waves rustling to shore, taste the local cuisine, inspect the wildflowers growing by the roadside and wonder what they are, and enjoy the view you’ll probably never get to see again.
Oh, so much packed in 27 days! I could spend 27 months—27 years—in the Pacific Northwest and still not see everything there is to see.
Lesson Number 4: Isn’t that like our life journey? Don’t waste a minute of your sojourn on earth.
I want to share my experiences with you, dear readers. (Some of you followed our journey as I chronicled it on Facebook.)
So over the next several weeks—and perhaps months—I’ll be writing about different aspects of our trip, stops along the way, the adventures and misadventures (yes, there were a few of those!), and how God was there every mile of the way, blessing us with His presence, His protection, and His provision.
So, tune in next week for a close-up look at Vacation 2017.
Oh, Triune God, what a beautiful world You have created for us! Open our eyes to see You in everything around us. Amen.
Extra tea: Read and meditate on Psalms 8 and 19.
(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.