We left Roseburg a little after 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 16th. My partner Brook had driven me to meet Charles in the Fred Meyer parking lot, and we said our emotional goodbyes. I would be away from my family for over a week, and I especially was torn about leaving our littlest one, Julia, since I had not spent a single night away from her since she had been born the year before. Nevertheless, we said farewell and Charles and I got in his Honda to embark upon an epic trip to the southwest region of the United States, specifically, to Grand Canyon, Zion and Great Basin National Parks.
We drove south on Interstate-Five, arriving at Mt. Shasta City three hours later to head east towards Susanville and eventually Reno. The hours passed by quickly as we talked endlessly about a myriad of subjects. We took turns driving, stopping occasionally for gas, bathroom and stretching breaks. The sun set when we were in the near-center of Nevada, and we were able to witness a glorious end to the day:
We drove on. As night fell, and I took my next turn behind the wheel, I experienced something I had not expected: Deranged, suicidal Jackrabbits. The first one came charging out of the sagebrush, and I do mean charging. I yelled in surprise, but had no chance to take evasive maneuvers before I ran over the poor guy. I am not sure why they do this, but the one I hit really seemed to be trying to attack the car. Unfortunately, he was not the last one we struck. Charles hit two more that night, including one who hit the side of the car.
The night passed in surreal stages, lack of sleep and non-stop driving making the experience bizarre and dream-like.
We arrived at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon at a little over five in the morning, just as the sun was rising. I was, of course, stunned by the beauty of the canyon. I tried to put my feelings on video, but for once in my life, I was at a loss for words. I didn’t want to speak at all, so powerful and overwhelming was the experience. I walked around in awe at the Lodge, going on short hikes to take in the beauty. I was also completely exhausted, having only gotten a couple of hours fitful sleep during the drive. Luckily we had all day to rest and recuperate before we descended into the canyon.