When I was a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, my mom and dad would load us into our family's bright red Chevrolet Suburban. This was back in the day when most families drove vans with bucket seats and coolers in the back. The Suburban had only benches in the front, middle and back rows. With four kids in the family, three kids could sit in the middle row and one kid could stretch out and take a nap in the third row. We would put all the luggage in the very back cargo area and then hook a couple bikes to the rear bumper. We'd drive from Oklahoma City to Colorado through Kansas. This long, flat boring drive was transformational. The flat plains of Oklahoma and Kansas would give way to the imposing downtown of Denver followed by the uphill drive to Silverthorne. The Eisenhower tunnel was always a marker that were were getting close--close to craggy mountains, green forest, cold streams. Bike riding, paddle boats, and breakfast horseback rides. We grew up a little faster during that week in the mountains and came back ready for a new school year.
That drive north on I35 out of Oklahoma towards the mountains always brought a sense of adventure. Optimism. Purpose. Those rugged mountains helped us grow up. And it was a time to be thankful for family as well.
We were a bit young to drink coffee back then, but we certainly do now when driving with family and friends to the mountains or to see loved ones. And that sense of adventure, hope, and gratitude endures. The years have passed and we're certainly older now, but we drive on.