Road Trippin’

Road trips seem to be one of our favorite things. Ask someone if they would rather fly or drive. They might come back with an inquisition of how much time they have. If there isn’t much time to spare, flying is the key. Flying increases the time we get to spend at our destination. Who wouldn’t want more time when traveling somewhere exciting. Someone who possessed a more flexible schedule may give a different answer. They might come from a perspective of taking the time to drive. Road trips present all kinds of positive opportunities. They allow us to see more sights along our journey. Spending long periods of time in a car can bring us closer to someone. A road trip provides plenty of opportunity to bond over conversation or measure your ability to sit in silence with someone. They also provide the chance to clear your mind. Especially during the warm months, just rolling the windows down and turning up the stereo. A solo road trip can solve some of life’s most complex challenges. Or, maybe it’s simply another way to see our great country. Our road trip this fall took us down to Southern California. A drive made a couple times in my life. We had the chance again to make our trip on the road instead of fly. It turned out to be a fun decision, driving down to California from Seattle and back again.

Driving has been a fun part of my life. Having cerebral palsy has brought questions from people over my ability to operate a vehicle. The questions have often struck me as unusual. Driving has always been a part of my life. As a young man driving around golf carts was normal. Getting older my parents had me driving around the neighborhood before turning sixteen. They would of course be riding with me during these joy rides. Cerebral palsy doesn’t come into play while driving. My body is fairly easy to manipulate while in a seated position. Driving also requires much more gross motor skills, instead of fine motor skills. Using my major muscle groups has always been much easier.

Driving seems to give most of us a feeling of freedom. It’s no different for me, but might give me the emotion of even greater freedom. Having the ability to drive takes away challenges of cerebral palsy. There aren’t many things that cause me to feel able. Driving is something I do most similar to someone without a disability. It is one of the easiest activities during my daily life. Being able to learn driving from an early age probably helped. The activity becoming second nature being around the game of golf. With most things in life, it can take longer for me to learn. The cerebral palsy forcing me to learn manipulations slightly different from other people. Experiencing how to use the gas, brake, and steering in a golf cart   probably helped me translate to a car. With a golf cart, there is little risk for running into things, making it a good way for me to become accustom to driving. It also showed driving to most likely be part of my future. Going from a cart to a car wasn’t going to be easy, but was likely going to be possible.

On our road trip to California, there wasn’t much driving for me. It was fun to ride for most of the trip heading south. We didn’t depart Seattle at any crazy hour in the morning. Around eight in the morning we began our journey. The resting point for that first day would be Sacramento. Approximate taking 12 hours to reach that destination. Our excitement in reaching California was getting an In-N-Out burger. Sacramento was sure to have a few of them, so the dinner menu was set. We battled through the morning traffic of Seattle. Finally making it to I-5, which took us all the way into Sacramento, completing the first day of travel.

We woke the following morning with the best burgers settled in our stomachs. The second day of driving would lead to our final destination of Palm Desert. If was difficult to know what kind of traffic might await going through Los Angeles. Our bodies began to thaw as we reached warmer temperatures with each passing southbound hour. Cerebral palsy can make for challenging road trips. Sitting in a car for extended periods of time causing my body to kind of lock-up. The CP always wanting to tighten my muscles when not in use. Especially in the cold of our first driving day. However, stopping more often during the drive to Sacramento helped handle the cold. Getting out of the car to walk around lessened the toll cerebral palsy was taking. The second day didn’t take the toll on my body. The natural warmth from the sun helped my body remain loose along the road. Frequent stops weren’t as necessary to help the cerebral palsy. The warmer it became, the happier my body was. Our week in Palm Desert was warm, causes my CP symptoms to release. We played some golf and saw the sights before beginning the road trip home.

The return jaunt to Seattle would take a different route.  We decided returning the same way would be boring. So, the varied route took a more eastern direction, through Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and finally into Washington State. This time my body would be more challenging to handle, as we drove into colder weather. The first day would be relatively comfortable. The car took us along some backroads beginning our trip. Meeting up with the interstate after a few hours and into Las Vegas. We admired the large hotels, while the highway lead past the desert city. Our next rest point would be St. George, Utah. It was the last In-N-Out stop along our route, perfect spot for lunch. After enjoying the burger for the final time that week, it was onward toward Salt Lake City. Driving through Utah is one of the most beautiful stretches of road. We enjoyed the terrain while the sun remained in the sky. Darkness descended just north of Salt Lake, while a neighborhood pizza place filled our stomachs. A few more hours with the headlights guiding the way, our heads hit the pillow in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Morning met us with colder weather for the home stretch. Cerebral palsy would make the final part of our trip challenging. After a week, away from the training and chiropractor, my body had been through a lot. The cold weather only causing the cramping muscle to ache more. The end of our journey found me in the driver seat for the first seven hours. It let my mind focus on driving instead of the pain of the body. Finding our way back into the home state, we stopped for a famous burger, we’d yet to try. Satisfying our appetite, the rains were passed off, as exhaustion lead me to the back seat. Resting the final three hours, we enjoyed the familiar terrain of our home state. Without hitting traffic on the way in, we arrived safely home before night fall. It didn’t take long for my tired and achy body to find the familiar bed of my home. It was a fun trip.

Road trips are a good way to get away. Spending time on the road clears a mind. It provides peace to the pace of life. Time to slow down and enjoy the ride. We learn about the people riding with us, as we pass the miles. Taking in sights of our country we wouldn’t experience inside an airplane. Even having traveled a route before, we seem to notice different things about the route next time. The weather might be different or traveling time changes, causing changing views. Driving to Southern California felt new this time. It was less stressful than in times past. We took our time and enjoyed the ride. Taking in the country side and towers of each big city. Stopping in small farming towns to gas up, getting snacks to recharge along the way. It’s true that cerebral palsy makes travelling by road challenging. Sitting for long periods causing the body to ach. Still, I wouldn’t have traded the adventure. It was a fun idea to drive instead of fly. Doing something differently is how we make memories.













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