Promise of The Open Road

Do you ever need to just get out of town? Change your perspective? Leave your normal life behind for a day? I absolutely love the feeling of heading out on a trip. I don’t think I can describe it any better than I did in More Than a Promise, when Cassie left Eugene for Ocean View Stables:

Despite the circumstances, Cassie felt the heady freedom of the open road, adventure, and possibility. When you’re driving out of town, it’s not about anything behind you. It’s all about the road ahead. A tiny part of her thought about what she wanted, where she was headed in life, and not just this trip. The bigger part of her wanted to take a deep breath and simply live.

I know that feeling too: when you have things to stress over, but you’re taking the day off from thinking about everything you need to do. It’s healthy to get away from the laptop, thinking about work, and even the everyday responsibilities of home–since I work at home, my job and housework can blend together.

amberbeadsI’ve been hiking lately but the weather turned, and it’s completely soggy outside. So yesterday, despite the pouring rain and winds, I decided to take off for Crater Rock Museum, about an hour and a half down the freeway. (I know, not a long trip, but enough to clear our heads!)  My youngest son is turning into a real rock hound. He has boxes of rocks, drawers of rocks and even boulders outside. He was rocks of all colors from clear, to smokey, to bright red, to some with ten colors all dotted or swirled together. One clear-to-milky rock looks like it has an ancient bug in it, which could actually be a mineral or maybe a bug. Who knows? I suppose we could cut it open, but that would ruin the mystery. He’s found quite a few, bought some, and received others as gifts.  I enjoy looking at the different colors and crystals, and learning how they’re formed–I have a lot to learn still, which keeps things fun.

At the museum, we saw hundreds of rocks, minerals, seashells, fossils, scrimshaw (carved ivory), arrowheads, masks and a few other artifacts from Native Americans. The day actually began with a talk about garnets, and there was local sand for all of the kids to shift through.  As interesting as the museum was, it was made even more fascinating by the people we met. It’s really something to learn about a topic from someone passionately interested in it.

The museum allows people to visit the rock workshop, and on kids’ day, kids can go out back to a rock pile to find their own treasures. It’s 25 cents a pound, and we found quite a few cool rocks, including one that might be a thunder egg. We’ll cut it soon to see! A man in the workshop had to take us around to different exhibits and show us his favorites.

After three hours at the museum, we headed to a pizza place, and I have to give a shout out to Wild River Brewing and Pizza in Medford, Oregon. Talk about fantastic pizza! If you like beer, I’m sure that’s great too. But the highlight was, for me at least, they had gluten free pizza crust so my son could have pizza too.

Every time I drive anywhere, I’m struck by all the places I could visit–a park, a trail, little shops, new spots on the river, new towns, new countries, new oceans. It’s a wonderful feeling to know I’ll never run out of new places to visit!