When I was a child,about 8 years old,my family went on a road trip. We drove from Tennessee to Seattle.I don’t remember all the stops we made. I don’t remember who we were visiting. Maybe it was for a family reunion. Maybe it was just for fun.

I do remember the history we visited.We stood in wagon ruts of the Oregon Tail. They were huge to me! We jumped from rut to rut. We visited places explored by Lewis and Clark seeing what they saw and learning about their trip and the people they met. My brother picked out a coloring story book that featured their dog. I think we still have it, even though I don’t remember his name.

I remember long games of “I Spy” over vast amounts of flat land. I remember watching the rain fall off in the distance. Dark lines of water pouring from the oppressive clouds above slowly matching toward our car. I remember the fences lining the flat road as far as I could see out the front and back windows of our rental van. The mountains seemed to pop up out of no where and slowly continued rising until we came up to them. I remember walking through the geysers in Yellowstone National Park – I couldn’t figure out why it smelled like eggs gone bad, why the water didn’t spray orange, yellow, and red like the pools that they seemed to jump from.

In Bear Country USA, three black bears surrounded our rental van. One stood in all fours looking at us through the windshield. One wandered on the right side snuffling the ground as though looking for scraps. We weren’t allowed to open the windows. One stood on his big, shaggy hindlegs to sniff at the bundle on top of the van. We worried they would scratch the van, but they didn’t. I wanted to pet them.

We camped somewhere in that area. We all worked together to put the tent up and make the food. I think we were eating s’mores when we heard people talking anxiously. Mommy told us to get in the car. We looked out the windows. There was a dark brown shaggy bison wandering through the campsite! He lumbered al, the way through the camp without bothering anyone. My brother was giddy with joy – he loved Bison!

These are a few of the moments I remember from that long trip across the country. We saw sparkling steamy waters dyed orange and yellow and red by the clay they sat in. We saw Old Faithful shoot glorious sparkling water hundreds of feet into the air. The air danced with water droplets playing tag with the sunlight. We saw herds of elk and bison, roaming bears, and birds of all shapes, sizes, and colors soaring and fluttering in the blue sky. We saw long lines of fences in flat brown green land.

We saw and experienced so much, that my young brain couldn’t keep up with all the events. The events above are the ones I remember without parental or picture prompting. I hope that these memories stick with me for years to come.

*originally posted on my temporary blog, A Dancing Writer’s Explorations. I’m in the process of merging it with this one.