Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a special feeling that only comes from driving a rusty old pickup truck down a scorching summer highway.
It’s a breathtaking feeling (but maybe not in the way you’d expect).
You’ve got all the windows rolled down, your hair is blowing in the wind, the sound of rushing air is loud enough to drown out the sound of the noisy old engine — but it doesn’t seem to matter how much you hang your arm out the window, there is absolutely no chance of cooling down.
It’s a heavy feeling.
Sweat is rolling down creases in which sweat ought not to roll. You find yourself, almost subconsciously, scanning the farmland on either side of the road, hoping for an actively-spraying wheel line or sprinkler pivot — because maybe, just maybe, the air might feel a little cooler as you drive past it.
It’s a smothering feeling.
You crane your neck to look in the rear-view mirror, and you see both your little girls fast asleep and panting in their car seats — with sweat curls plastered to their glistening foreheads.
Yep, it’s the wonderful feeling of being slowly roasted alive.
Very reminiscent of a convection oven.
Like I said, it’s breathtaking…
And that’s exactly how we were all feeling a week or so ago as we drove home in “Old Red.” Although, if I can be completely honest with you, the heat felt even MORE oppressive than usual, due to the fact that we’d just spent the past 3 days up in the high Uinta mountains — somewhere around 10,000 feet above sea level.
Unfortunately, we’d grown accustomed to jacket weather.
Y’see we’d packed all our gear about 4 miles into the backcountry (which is no small feat with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old), and from there, we had thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the light mountain breezes and the cool mountain air.
I tell ya, I could really get used to eating fresh butter-fried brook trout for dinner every night, especially when it took less than 10 minutes to get ’em from the lake to the frying pan)… And then there was that icy free-flowing spring where we got all our water…
It. Was. Heavenly!
But fast-forward 3 hours, 150 miles, and a decrease of roughly 6,000 feet in elevation — and there we were, roasting in our own tired, smelly, non-showered juices.
The truck rocked back and forth a little as we rolled off the highway and onto the dirt road leading home, waking our 3-year-old in the process.
She rubbed her eyes a bit and then realized where we were. She sat straight up and shouted:
“We’re almost home! I LOVE this Road!”
And despite the dust wafting in through the open windows and the hellishly warm temperatures, I couldn’t agree more.
There’s no place like home!