While I did get a quick QSO in this last week, this post is less about Amateur Radio and more about accepting and navigating life’s changes.
It is of a more serious type and you may choose to skip this. It is long and rambling.
In late February of this year a close friend of our passed away, succumbing to her second bout with cancer. The day before she was admitted to the hospital for the last time, she and my wife were together discussing upcoming vacation plans and our two families plans to head out to Yosemite later this year.
Like us she was in her mid-40’s, and that day was upbeat, feeling good, and going strong.
Our sons are best friends, and I’m grateful to have known her through them over the last few years. She and my wife had very similar kinds of cancer, and seeing her recurrence hits home in very personal ways. They were able to connect in ways that many of us cannot relate to, and quickly became good friends.
The next day she was rushed into the hospital, sedated, and her family was gathered together to say goodbye.
Early the next morning she was gone, leaving her husband and two young children behind.
The day after her funeral service – with some heavy thoughts in my mind – I hit the road with my two younger sons to visit their grandparents who retired to southern Utah.
It was a chance to refocus on family and things that matter the most.
The plan was to take one very long first day from Minnesota into Denver, CO., and then a shorter second day into southwestern Utah.
We left extremely early in the morning, hoping to reach Denver around dinner time and be able to relax and decompress from a long day in the car.
I brought my TX-500 and MPAS Lite with the hopes of even getting some on-air time along the way. Interstate Highway I-70 tops out at over 11,500 feet of elevation (3500 meters), and with multiple rest stops I thought I might be able to put an antenna way up high and see what I could do with just a few watts.
We headed south through Iowa, passing through Des Moines just a few hours prior to a pair of tornados passing through and killing 7 people.
Weather was mile during our time through that state and we didn’t have any knowledge of those events until much later.
Nebraska is my least favorite state to drive through. I don’t mean any offense to any residents there. It isn’t personal.
It’s just that it is a very wide state.
And mostly flat.
And the longest straight line of the journey.
It is a long, slow climb that culminates in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, with mostly farmland on either side of the road and the occasional smells of cattle.
About halfway through that long haul we hit some weather. Wind blown snow began to cover the road, and ice started to build up on the pavement.
Cars began to pile up along the road side as too much speed contributed to too little traction.
Choosing safety over speed, we inched along at about 1/4 of our planned speed.
Arriving in the city of North Platte, we stopped to fuel up and stretch our legs.
And were promptly stuck in a long line of vehicles trying to get into a gas station, blocked by a big rig stuck in the slush and ice.
We sat for about 40 minutes as crews worked to get it moving again, all so that we can get into the parking lot and off the road.
Our planned timeline slipped further and further away.
When we finally got back onto the highway, we saw the remnants of some big crashes that were in the last stages of being cleared. Had we been able to continue as planned, who knows if we would have been caught up in it or not.
Plans change, but sometimes it is for the better.
We arrived very late into Denver, getting checked into our hotel and settled in for a late bedtime and a very early morning.
The forecast was for snow flurries, with little accumulation.
We awoke to thick blowing snow, and this next leg was the start of the climb into the highest parts of our journey.
Roads were caked with snow, the wind was blowing, and it was a slow procession of vehicles up the canyon.
To make an already long story a wee bit shorter, we did arrive at our destination safely, but it was altogether a very different journey than we planned for.
And needless to say I didn’t get any POTA/SOTA contacts along the route, nor did I get to see what propagation is like at 11,500 feet.
Weather moved in again a couple of days later and instead of leaving on the date we had planned for to get me back to work on time, we had to push our departure out a day, move plans with work accordingly, and adjust ourselves to the new reality we faced.
The point of this post is that we cannot foresee what will come both now and in the future.
While what happens in our lives is of great importance, it is our ability to navigate those changes and impacts that matter the most.
We can succumb to the changes and let them overtake us, or we can choose our responses and take ownership of the new direction.
That isn’t to say that we control the directions we are sometimes forced to take, but we can control our response to events and work to figure out how to grow through the process.
In spite of all the challenges and changing of plans, we enjoyed spectacular views and wonderful time with family.
We learned, my sons and I, that adaptation is part of the journey of life. No plan survives first contact with reality unchanged.
Plans change, and so do we.
Now some photos.