Free Falling

Greetings from Sacramento CA! About a month ago I wrote a blog about my “impromptu” trip here that was actually a trip to interview for a job, which I was offered and accepted! You longtime followers of my blog know that I started writing this blog a few years back about job hunting and unemployment. More about the job and my search in another post! This blog is about the drive and road trip from CO to CA, which was a little dicey in a number of ways.

I love a good road trip – always have. There is nothing like loading up the car, filling up the gas tank and hitting the open road whether it’s to a familiar destination, somewhere new or wherever the wind takes you! I had taken this particular route only once before some 20 plus years ago with a dear friend of mine – a SF native – who moved back to SF from CO after a divorce. If I remember right we also had her little shih tzu dog as part of our entourage. As I was preparing to travel the same route, I tried to remember the details of our trip together all those years ago and couldn’t summon up much. I remembered spending the night in Salt Lake City and seeing the expanse of the Great Salt Lake and traversing Donner Pass. My friend via FB filled in a few blanks, such as we listened to Basia, which I had on a cassette tape. (Anybody remember Basia??)

What I thought about most as I prepared for the trip, other than the excitement about the new job and living in CA, was how I  was going to handle some issues I have had in recent years with “open road driving anxiety” especially that related to driving in the mountains and even more so driving over mountain passes, something I hadn’t done by myself in a very long time. I didn’t come up with any particular plan other than just to try and conquer it. Lest anyone reading this think I am a big old wimp – I used to be quite fearless about such driving. When I was younger my sister came to visit me in Denver and we took a road trip to the Grand Canyon. I didn’t even bat an eyelid or sweat one single drop when I drove over the Million Dollar Highway in southwest CO and traversed several mountain passes. But times they have a changed. I am not sure why I have developed this particular type of anxiety, and I don’t think it really matters. What matters is learning to deal with it.

Utah mountain range preceding Parley's Summit

Utah mountain range preceding Parley’s Summit

I am not going to go over all the details of the trip. There were definitely some moments of some intense anxiety and times when I wanted to bail, although that is not an option high on a mountain pass. The first big pass I encountered was Parley’s Summit in Utah, and I had no idea it was even ahead of me. I had only heard about Parley’s Canyon on the Salt Lake City TV news, due to snowstorm the days preceding (the snowstorm and high winds are another story). As my vehicle was climbing up the mountain to Parley’s summit the Tom Petty song “Free Falling” came on the radio, and I somehow found comfort in this song as my sweaty hands gripped the wheel. As it turned out the song spoke to the way for me to tackle and how I had been tackling this 1,000 plus mile drive. It was to jump in feet first, free fall so to speak, and not look back. The song continued to play as I sailed down Parley’s Summit. I also took a lot of deep breaths, uttered self affirmations and looked for inspiration to road warrior and 17 year old kit kat

Kit cat Jenni is one awesome road kitty!

Kit cat Jenni is one awesome road kitty!

Jenni, who fortunately doesn’t suffer from my afflictions and is cool as a cucumber on road trips – flat land or high country. And glad I am that I jumped feet first. The beauty of Parley’s Summit and Canyon, and all the passes, deserts and mountain forests that I drove through was spectacular and well worth every drop of sweat. I have faced similar fears before in other situations and come out on top. When you conquer your fears you feel – at first a little relieved – and then empowered, liberated and ready to take on the world.

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4 Responses to Free Falling

  1. Congratulations, Lisa! I’m very happy for you and I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures in California!

  2. Tam says:

    I have driven thru a lot of mountain passes but never this one. Good Luck on your new Job!

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