I had the opportunity recently to spend several days in Wyoming at Brush Creek Ranch where fly fishing is a major activity along with numerous other western sports such as archery, sporting clays and targets, horseback riding and a lot of social interaction around food and drink. Needless to say perhaps but those days of delight were filled with being engaged in lots of activity. And the company of a couple of special family members made it even more meaningful and enjoyable.
However, during the trip to and from the ranch, I decided to take a different approach and in addition to escaping the interstates and expressways, I chose instead to travel some of William Least Heat Moon’s highways. And, I did not intentionally take a GPS although I had a couple of good, old-fashioned maps which allowed me to see the bigger picture and make some on the spot choices about a different route here and there, or from here to there, and there to here. Here is northern New Mexico and there is southeastern Wyoming, just over Snowy Range in Medicine Bow National Forest. The lesson here is seeing the big picture and making conscious choices.
In addition to less than the fastest route, how quickly we can get somewhere or how fast we can get the job done, even with a high level of efficiency, I also chose to drive under the speed limit by at least 5-10 miles per hour. This was not to annoy other drivers although at times, I know it did. What it did for me was not only to gain better fuel consumption but to allow me to relax and enjoy the scenery so much more, even being able to stop if I saw something of particular interest. Driving at or above the speed limit, which is my usual practice, carries an element of stress which was eliminated completely. The goal was not the arrival at the end of the journey but rather being more immersed in the journey itself and not see it simply as a means to the end.
Besides spectacular scenery in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming, I saw many more details that would have otherwise passed by in a blur. Those details included wildlife, architecture, small town cultures, local cuisine, and one of my favored pastimes of flea markets and antique shops. There was also the usual music, NPR and chatter on the radio, if I wanted it, and often that was silent to avoid any distraction.
This was a nourishing road trip, soul food if you will, and I look forward to the next one whenever and wherever it will be. Lots of lessons learned!