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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Crossing The Divide

The last time my wife and I crossed the Continental Divide was in 2000, driving on "Going To The Sun Road" en route to/from Glacier National Park. That experience was, without question, the most terrifying time I've ever spent behind the wheel. Ever driven that road? If yes, has any driving experience you've had ever scared you more?

Over our thirty eight years together, the worst moments my wife and I have had have been connected to my driving. So as we planned our current itinerary - taking us across the Continental Divide again, this time from east to west in Rocky Mountain National Park - our dialogue included strategies to ensure our marriage survived this trip. Because "Going To The Sun Road" had so traumatized my wife as a passenger - and she only went one direction! - her taking the wheel across the Divide this second time was never an option. That put me in the driver's seat, again -  uh oh.

The benign name of this section of road crossing the Divide - Trail Ridge Road - was my first hint our marriage might remain intact. And as we ascended and I was able to see trees almost all the way up, I relaxed. I never removed both my hands from the wheel - even to change the radio station - but unlike my driving experience in 2000, this time when we arrived at the 12,000 foot summit, my arms weren't shaking. Better yet, my wife remained upright the entire time, leaning toward the driver's side only once and not one swear word was aimed my way. Of course, the hard-to-top views made the anticipatory stress - for both of us - all worthwhile. If you ever have an opportunity to cross the Continental Divide, be sure to take it.

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