I don't recall how many vacations we may have taken when somebody in the car called, "Are we there yet?"
I give my parents credit for livening up the journey for us - allowing us to enjoy the traveling part - well, as much as can be expected. Our car problems were never a part of the plan - in fact it actually deferred us more than once. After a while, though we still couldn't plan for whatever car problem might occur, we learned to roll with the punches. No family vacation was complete without car problems and/or rain.
I wasn't able to go to Yellowstone with my family the year that car broke down 18 miles outside of Pocatello, Idaho. My mom and sister left my brother, Corey, and my dad in the car while attempting to walk to the next town on foot. Back in the day when we just had road maps to go by. No GPSs to let one know the upcoming mileage or nearest service station.
As with ALL vacations that we took, prayer has always played an important role. Before long, they were picked up by couple who opted to spend the next three hours with my family. This is how Corey remembers it:
None of us knew how to get the car working again. Dad was in no shape to walk and we felt one of us should stay with him. It was also decided that I should be with the car in case I was able to get it started again. I do remember feeling bad that I was essentially making the two women walk into town. Mom and [Kayla] decided to walk however far they needed to walk to get to town. Before they ventured off, I suggested we say a prayer that we would get to Pocatello somehow. I remember as Mom and [Kayla] walked off, I felt helpless in this car that wouldn't start with my ailing father watching my sister and mother walk away.
"Mom and Kayla hadn't gotten too far (maybe two or three city blocks; I remember they were still in sight) when a car pulled over and asked them if they needed help. They picked them up and backed up to our car and then maneuvered behind us and pushed us to the next town. There [had been] only one lane of traffic at one point, so there were a whole bunch of cars behind us.
"Once they pushed us into town they pushed us to a repair shop and then they took Mom to Pocatello to get the part and then drove her back and did the repair. The man and his wife spent a good portion of their day with us and they really went the extra mile. Because of them, we did eventually get to Pocatello just as we prayed for."
There was there was one time when the tire flattened or the rim had broken, forcing us to turn around and drive back to a town we knew was there as opposed to uncertainty of how many miles ahead. We spent more than an hour in Mojave - which put us behind. Sure, mom may have rolled her eyes, but we were able to deal with it. I think we played a game to pass the time.
We also broke down near Beaver, Utah. A tow truck took our car to Beaver. We were really impressed with the mechanic and would have liked for him to be able to service our car all the time - but that was not realistic.
A rollover on the road prevented us from getting to Corey's college graduation on time. It had been a really long day. My niece took a nap in the car, but became cranky before we arrived to Ephraim. My sister, Kayla, and our niece, Ellen and I were dropped off at a park while the rest continued on to Snow College. I wasn't sorry I had missed Corey's graduation. I know Kayla, Ellen and I enjoyed the park more than we would have the graduation ceremony - particularly Ellen who probably would not have allowed either of her parents to focus on the ceremony either had we gone.
Many vacations are often better planned than is life itself. Often what we strive for or believe will be the end result doesn't necessarily work out to our expectations - which isn't always a bad thing - perhaps, for some, it turns out to be a better thing. Definitely a different thing. And there are some who feel they've wasted time preparing for something that never came to pass while others simply enjoy the journey and are grateful for the experiences that sent them to the path that they are on now. They continue to learn and to enjoy their journey - always moving forward - even if they don't always see what's up ahead.
It took the Willy & Martin handcart companies 111 days to reach the Salt Lake valley. That was close to the number of days it also took Brigham Young and the first Latter Day Saint settlers to reach the Salt Lake valley as well!
Between 1856 and 1860, nearly 3,000 emigrant members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined ten handcart companies--about 650 handcarts total--and walked to Utah from Iowa City, Iowa, (a distance of 1,300 miles) or from Florence, Nebraska (1,030 miles). This journey or “Trek” took them about 111 days to complete.
Many of the handcart pioneers were foreigners who had sold their homes and possessions for money to get passage on a long boat trip from European countries to be gathered with the saints in Zion. When they arrived in America, they had so little that they could not afford wagons, teams, and provisions to make the long journey to the Salt Lake valley. Then they were advised to leave behind everything they did own except for the few essential items necessary for their trek across the plains and mountains to Zion. These “pioneers” knew that they faced many dangers and hardships, even death along the way. Yet, they chose to do it! What POWER could cause so many people to undertake such a challenging and dangerous trek?
Jenna has two weeks left of primary. The week after Conference, she will be attending Young Women instead of going to singing/sharing time with the entire primary. We've already started attending the Trek themed firesides and activities geared to the youth.
On Sunday we went to the stake center in the big city of Roseburg, where she had the opportunity of meeting her new Ma and Pa. It was the start of their 111 day challenge. One stake, six wards, 17 families, 161 youth (and counting) - half are (or will be) 12 years of age. Jenna said there was only one in her group who has done the trek before and it wasn't Ma or Pa.
Each youth was given a packet that outlines each week from April 13, 2016 to July 1 when the group returns from their four-day pioneer experience. Tomorrow night she will return to the stake center for another activity. Next week will be her last opportunity for attending Achievement Days for primary as she will be attending the young women's every week after that.
“What a story it is. It is filled with suffering and hunger and cold and death. It is replete with accounts of freezing rivers that had to be waded through; of howling blizzards; of the long, slow t forgotten. But hopefully it will be told again and again to remind future generations of the suffering and the faith of those who came before. Their faith is our inheritance. Their faith is a reminder to us of the price they paid for the comforts we enjoy.” - Gordon B. Hinckley
I hope that Jenna understands this opportunity she has and will be as excited as I am for her. I hope that when she returns home from her activity tomorrow that she will have more enthusiasm than "being forced to go" and that she will look forward to the day that she will reenact (among others) the journey of our pioneer ancestors (if even only a small part) and that she may enjoy the journey she is currently taking in getting there. I hope that all the youth do.