Our expectations were low, but as per usual on vacation, expectations have little to do with actual outcomes. I suppose if we had been determined to have a bad day, we would have had a bad day. But we only assumed we would. For our second day of travel we braced ourselves for bickering, for one billion potty stops, for three meltdowns, minimum. It was our longest planned travel day – 10 hours without kids, 12+ with. And none of us had slept well, including the one who had already had a massive fit our first night in. We were girding our loins. But we underestimated the power of beauty.
The Flint Hills of Kansas are lovely – one of my favorite places in fact – but they are the normal for us. We’ve seen them a lot. And further west is just hot and flat. Not awe-inspiring, unless there’s a storm brewing or you travel at night and witness the expanse of sky bursting with stars. But mountains? “Ooooh,” and “Wow” aren’t uncommon to hear on a drive through them. Their blue hue and sheer size invite deep thoughts. A good soundtrack. Frequent stops to enjoy the view. And all of this brings down the crabby quotient. At least it did on this day, which was such a pleasant surprise.
Here’s to the plethora of surprises to come on this trip. There will be the opposite kind – the ones that make me sprout another patch of gray hair and curse under my breath. So goes a family road trip. But I’ll take today’s unexpected joy. Road Trip 2015, Day 2, is in the books. And I’m so thankful it didn’t go as planned.
* Update: the only meltdown that occurred was my own. Realizing we still had four hours to go, the unexpected, unplanned part of our day didn’t look so fun anymore. It looked stupid. We rolled in to Flagstaff at 2:00 AM and woke up to little girls making a fort out of the hotel pull-out couch four and a half hours later. I’m leaving my expectations wide open for Day 3.