We were headed to the White Mountains to promote the college on the Apache reservation. I was 8 years old during that hot summer June, so it was going to be nice to head to cooler-warm weather in Cedar Creek, AZ. A place that I loved to visit as a kid because of the tarantulas, cliff jumping, and chance to chase cows. We jumped in our blue Astro van and cruised on the 60 from Phoenix to Globe, AZ. A trip we had taken a million times before.with my Dad… my Dad who has always been interesting to take road trips.
When we were little he never stopped unless we had been on the road for a minimum of 3 hours. One time, my sister Camie had to stick her butt out the window because we weren’t stopping… I peed in bottles and we always had a plethora of snacks. We listened to the same cassette tapes and I remember drawing in my notepad for most of the trips. I often collected coke bottles and used my pocket knife to make gadgets and what not. We never sat in our seats. We always had these makeshift beds of layered blankets laid between the rubber floors and seats. It’s where we slept for our longer trips. It was a different time back then.
The trip to Cedar Creek wasn’t a long one, it took us about 4 hours with a stop in Globe. After our stop, we headed through the beautiful windy Salt River Canyon. The drive through the canyon was filled with sheer cliffs, flowing waters, and on occasion, waterfalls would burst through the plateaus after heavy rains. After our quick stop in Globe, we embarked on the scenic drive. My sister Camie and I crushed a family size box of cheez its in the beginning half of our trip. About halfway through, just over the Salt River, I felt it coming. My stomach turned, and the cheez its turned on me. I threw up a good half box of cheez its on the rubber floor of our blue Astro van. There’s not really pull-offs, especially then, in the Canyon. So my Dad kept driving. My oldest sister Joy grabbed Camie, and yelled at her, “DON’T LOOK, DON’T LOOK!” But Camie looked, and she threw up the other half of the box of cheez its. Bits of cheez its were running back and forth on the floorboards as our van slowly climbed up the canyon. We pulled off, my Mom got a towel and cleaned as much as she could. My Dad was a little flustered, just because we always ran tight schedules during those trips. Once we finally got to Cedar Creek, my Dad asked his friend for a hose and sprayed the floor clean while my friends and I built a wikiup in their yard.
My Dad is much different to travel with now. He stops every hour or two, he doesn’t get flustered during traffic, car wrecks, or missed turns. He also flies whenever he can. I tease him about changing his road warrior ways, but he told me, “I don’t get flustered or mind getting lost because it means I could have missed a wreck or someone may need me on the other road.” So if you get a little lost, take a few wrong turns or someone delays your trip with throw up, don’t get flustered. It’s just part of the journey you’re meant to be on.
Camie and I still love cheez-its and to this day… Joy can’t be around them.