Lessons from bumps in the road trip

Boom! A loud breaking sound. Screeching and rubbing.

What I thought was maybe a blown-out tire on our trailer, was in fact, our bike rack hitting the ground and being dragged behind us. My husband’s instantaneous reaction had us pulled over on the left side of the one-way road before I even realized what had happened.

A quick survey of the damage showed that two welds had broken (I didn’t even know that was possible!), causing our rack to slam down and drag our bikes until we stopped. This was not what we had envisioned for the start of our long drive home from Yosemite National Park.

Maybe it’s the idealist in me, but I like to make myself go through the exercise of looking for the good and/or the lesson in situations where the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, or, ahem, when the bike rack hits the road.

Here’s what I immediately saw amidst the scratched metal and bent tires:

  • we would have been in a (fairly long) tunnel had this happened about a half-mile down the road.
  • our friends (who we didn’t realize were leaving the campground so soon after us) drove by almost immediately after we pulled over and were able to stop and help us.
  • said friends would have veered off onto a different highway from us a half-mile down the road.
  • said friends happened to be prepared campers with strong tie-downs, and a wife who is a former sailor and knows how to tie seriously legit knots.

The craziest part of all this was that while we were working on getting things secured, an older couple came barreling down the road, going the wrong way on the one-way road, and we were able to flag them down and point out that they were going the wrong way before they went around a blind corner. I still cringe when I think about what could have happened if we weren’t there.

Lessons from bumps in the road

I captioned the above photo on Instagram with a short blurb about what happened and then received a comment that seemed to sum up how I felt about the whole thing.

“You are *right* where you are supposed to be,” said my friend Stephanie, and that felt just about right.

Sometimes if we’re not yet where we want to be in life, maybe we’re right we’re supposed to be. That idea helps me keep trucking along, keep dreaming, keep working, keep rigging up problems with experimental solutions.

When we got home from our trip, my husband spoke to his parents who had been on their own epic road trip, much farther than ours.

They told stories of an antenna ripped off, a completely unexpected thunderstorm, and a ripped RV awning. I thought back on road trips with blown-out tires in the middle of nowhere, cars dying just as the exit ramp approached, items flying out of the back of the truck, rocks hitting windshields.

The truth is, the more you’re out on the road, the more you travel along, the more you’re bound to hit some snags. I’m no statistician but I can see the logic in this. Honestly, we just have to expect the bumps, because they’re going to come in one way or another.

That’s okay though. Sometimes, what’s inconvenient to us puts us right where we need to be to benefit someone else. If we live to tell, these bumps give us shared experiences which bond us closer together to those we’re traveling with, and let’s face it: good stories to tell.

It’s as simple as this: if we value adventure and want to see the world, we have to just see where the road takes us, and risk the bumps that may come.

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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9 months, 5 backpacks, 4 continents, 3 kids,
1 husband.

(It was worth it.)

9 months, 5 backpacks, 4 continents, 3 kids, 1 husband.

(It was worth it.)

7 Comments

  1. Wellie

    One of the things I love about travel is how the unexpected can send you down roads you’d never have even thought to explore, or put you in places you never knew you needed to be. I’m so glad that things worked out, and especially that you were able to help that couple!

  2. Sherri

    OH my , I stumbled across your blog tonight. I was grinning from ear to ear as I read about your bumps in the road. My husband and I too just came back from an amazing trip with our kids across the country. from PA to SD to WY. to MT to OR to CA..to TUCSON! and up through CO..and back to the good ol PA.(not to mention all those states in between! We were in YOSEMITE too! talk about BUMPS in the road…in our three week rv trip we experienced…..a trip to urgent care in IOWA, a black eye for me (bathroom mis adventure with the cabinet flying open) , a bloody nose in the swimming pool for my oldest, a bear in our campground in the Grand Tetons (this was a good thing!), a very sick husband while in yosemite, a bummed ride from fellow campers to the nearest town for a prescription for hubby, e.r. visit in tucson (husband had strep throat 3 times in 6 weeks), a monsoon in tucson…flashfloods after leaving er..and yes we drove through them! our lights to the rv shorting out in the dark dead of night in monument valley. it was the BEST /worst vacation ever! and I couldnt resist to share my own “bumps” 😉

  3. Sherri

    and….a horrible storm in SD..where I was sure we would blow over..it wasnt until two days later that my husband revealed he saw a fifth wheel actually did blow over! all of this while we had his 85 year old mom who needed alot of help( we love her)! I know there was more ..but I think you get the idea. bumps yes…but memories for a lifetime.

  4. Hannah

    My husband’s grandfather is quoted as saying, “It’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.”

    • Hannah

      Thank you for sharing this story!

  5. Kristina

    Man, did I need to hear this right now. I’m taking my youngest daughter on a trip to the Scottish Highlands in a couple of weeks to celebrate her HS graduation. I’m renting a car in the UK for the first time ever, and I’m mildly terrified of driving on the “wrong” side of the road. But that part of the world is not terribly accessible by public transport, so if we want the best adventure possible, driving it is!

  6. Nicole

    Thank you for your wonderful perspective on bumps on the road! Thank God I have not had any crazy things happen while traveling however, life has given my family and I serious detours that I have gotten lost in. But I am coming to realize we are right where we are suppose to be. Growing and pushing our comfort zone out of the water, expanding our belief systems and authentically experiencing real life! I’m not really sure how where or why we are learning these life lessons but I know they are impacting our character and others who surround and encounter us. With Gratitude and blessings, Nicole

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