Every road trip we take is an adventure — whether we like it or not.
This time my husband and I were headed to the Clark Fork River in Montana, our canoe on top of the Jeep and tent-trailer in tow.
No sooner had we successfully backed out of the driveway — a feat in itself — than the adventure began.
“What’s wrong with the speedometer?” I asked from the passenger seat as we rolled down the highway. “It’s not moving!”
Because Bill is on “retirement time” I’ve taken on the role of Speed Monitor.
This self-appointed job works like this: When it appears that vehicles are stacked like cords of wood behind us and drivers are waving as if there’s a fire, I stare at length at the speedometer. If this doesn’t magically accelerate us then, rather than nagging, I heave exaggerated sighs.
I had a feeling I’d be doing a lot of sighing after Bill spoke up.
“Well, we’re supposed to be in St. Regis by two o’clock to meet up with friends. We can’t turn around now.”
So off we went, matching our speed to little old ladies. The miles dragged, but it got worse. About the time we got close to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we found ourselves in a traffic jam — and we weren’t leading the pack.
As I looked ahead on the interstate, I just figured that a bunch of folks on “retirement time” were holding up miles of cars. But when we finally inched forward enough to see the delay, Bill and I were shocked.
A small airplane was in the highway median, news crews and a crane hovering nearby. Evidently, the Cessna had lost power and then emergency-landed on the roadway the day before. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
We did our share of gawking and then rolled on past. By late afternoon, we at long last reached our destination, found a camp spot by the river and made plans for a 26-mile canoe ride the next day.
On the trek down the Clark Fork we saw eagles and osprey. But what we didn’t see coming was trouble at the end of the journey. Our Jeep started up OK, even drove a few miles, but then lost power and refused to budge.
“It could be worse,” Bill commented wearily. “We could be in a plane.”
Yes, if that were the case it would be the first time this Speed Monitor stared at the speedometer and wished Bill would slow down.