Having found myself approaching early retirement felt that despite having been a wife, mother & nurse I was rapidly being dismissed from society. This sense of growing invisibility was shocking & prompted the need to take stock. A chance meeting let to the opportunity of having a song written for me by Danny Wright (an up & coming pop/punk artist from the UK).
Collaborating with Danny Wright was fun as despite the age difference we share a similar taste in music. Ostensibly Drive (4 Denise) is about a road trip but the metaphor relates to approaching the ‘sunset years’ but not in a passive way. The song is a regular playlist favourite on my various travels bringing me joy and encouragement to face what happens next. In sharing it here I hope it may make those who listen feel as inspired as I do to take up & accomplish what ever challenges they may face.
Twin Falls was a ‘go to’ place on the map and it didn’t disappoint with the amazing waterfalls that tumble into the gorge along which we happily wandered down the footpath that followed the edge on one side. It was a beautiful hot day & the silence was only disturbed by sequential gunfire. This potentially was a little troubling until we discovered it was the local police firearms practice range.
The other interesting discovery was that this is where the legendary Evil Kinevil attempted some of his bike stunts. I remember as a child the press in the UK coverage of the various stunts attempted by Evil Kinevil so stumbling across this was an unexpected bonus. Scaling the front of the ramp like a mountain goat I realised to my chagrin that I could have easily nipped up the smooth ramp at the back!
It was a long drive from here to Ely which involved meandering between state borders to end up in Nevada. We drove into an area where wild fire raged on the hills and the smoke was so thick it blanked out the bright blue sky. It was as fascinating as it was horrific & we did what only British people probably do in the face of such adversity which was to stop & brew some tea!
It was a touch of the ‘ ground hog ‘ day for me in Ely having stayed there earlier in the year with my daughter as we stopped overnight enroute for Bend that had us turning off at Eureka. Sadly this was too brief a visit to dig for Rubies or ride the ghost train but it was a great place to kick start our bid to survive highway 50 or ‘ the loneliest road’
Armed with the booklet & a stamp the following day we pointed the van in search of the towns along the route that counted towards our goal. It meant we stopped in some odd places including a casino which we ventured into. With a self imposed limit of $10 we weren’t likely to bankrupt ourselves & for a few minutes we experienced the heady trill of the machines of chance. I lost all mine but hey it was fun & apart from the near confiscation of my phone all was good.
Highway 50 is as you can see quite a long & lonely road indeed although to be fair we did travel on some roads that probably could have been considered equally as long & felt a great deal more isolated during our adventure. Still we were on a quest & as the miles rolled we were optimistic that we would get our certificate & badge as planned.
We stopped at one place for a coffee & I was captivated by the small plaque with the John Wayne quote so this was duly purchased & hung in Bertha for the rest of the way. It now adorns my office where I see it daily & it evokes memories of those wide empty spaces.
It was a long old drive that day & we had only had a rough idea of where the wild camp sites would be at the end. As the stamps amounted in the booklet the light was starting to fade & there was maybe a small concern of where we would park up for the night.
The grand Tetons beckoned but before leaving Yellowstone we set the sat nav to get us to see Old Faithful.
I felt immensely sorry for the lady who having waited for ages suddenly dashed for the bathroom & missed the rush of hot water as it soared into the air.
We were also lucky enough to get to meet a charming explorer & wild life photographer who signed a copy of his book for us.
Having assumed we could find a wild campsite we weren’t unduly worried but as dusk started to fall and no suitable spot availed itself we opted for a RV site. It was the last pitch & tight to reverse into but we survived & at least the showers were good. It proved to be the most expensive of all the sites we stayed at even with the discount so to be warned maybe plan ahead if travelling that way.
Visiting Jenny Lake I treated myself to a book of letters from the pioneer women who made the journey in very arduous conditions. Reading it surrounded by the mountains evoked a real sense of the courage & fortitude of those women. Probably goes a long way to explain the American love of the RV today as it does seem to hold a real connection to the country’s history.
Driving on to the next stop we travelled for many miles on long stretches of road to keep amused we started silo snapping until we had acquired a random selection of them. Next came logging trucks but more of that later.
Having briefly tiptoed in the Tetons we then set off for Twin Falls.