Last year I went to Ogden, Utah in November. The roads were a little wintry when I traveled home and I decided never to travel that stretch of road again during winter. And I didn’t. At least, I didn’t again last winter. Imagine my surprise when I realized I planned a trip on the same road at almost the exact time this year.
That’s what you call poor planning.
I tried to pretend I planned a little smarter this year. Instead of cramming it all into a one-day round trip I decided to stretch it into two days. That would be much, much better. How? I’m not quite sure at the moment but it sounded good when I made plans to go.
A few days before my trip I was invited to attend a special function in which my niece was performing. The date? The same night I was supposed to be snoozing away in a different city because I was not going to make the trip in one day. So, I changed my plans slightly. I would travel the same road as I did the year before in about the same time frame. My two day trip became a one day trip. Again.
I watched the weather report and felt confident I could do it with no problem.
The morning of my trip, there were a few snowy spots but overall traveling to my destination was uneventful. A few hours later it was time to return home and I dutifully checked the road report. The road was closed at Evanston. Really? The weather seemed better than when I arrived. How could that be?
I had to make a choice. Should I travel down to Salt Lake and stay with my sister for the night or head to Evanston hoping the roads would open up? I’m what you would call stubborn or pigheaded so I headed to Evanston. As I drove, I may have had a conversation with Heavenly Father in my head. “Why can’t I ever feel the Spirit?” I asked. “Why is it so hard for me to hear an answer?” And of course, “why am I always wrong?”
I continued my way to Evanston and checked for road updates about every 15 minutes. The updates all said the same thing, “Road Closed at Evanston.” The weather remained clear though. The roads were dryer and in better shape than they were in the morning.
I hoped I would be able to keep my promise to my niece and traveled onward. Right before I arrived in Evanston the alert changed slightly. “Road closed from Cheyenne to Evanston until further notice.”
Crud. That doesn’t sound good. There is a chance I may have made the wrong choice. As usual.
I pulled into a rest stop outside of town and ate a quick snack. I noticed cars were going up to the barricade. Maybe they were letting local traffic through? It wasn’t stormy out and the roads were clear. Maybe the storm on the other side of the state caused a chain reaction closing the road in the whole state? That happens. I didn’t need to travel to the other side of the state I just needed to travel to home.
I decided to give it a try and drove to the gas station. As I filled up my vehicle, I watched cars heading for the barricade.
However, someone I knew from town was also getting gas in her vehicle. She asked which way I was headed and when I told her I was headed home she grimaced. “Oh, so what are you going to do? Wait it out or take the short cut?” Thinking about it now, I don’t think she actually said ‘short cut.’ I’m not sure what she said but I’m pretty sure she didn’t say short cut.
But at the time I thought, “That’s right! Surely, there’s another way to get home. It might take a little longer but there has got to be another way to get there. The weather is fine. The roads are fine. I’ll just bypass the interstate and use a different route. No problem.”
I asked Siri for his advice (my Siri is a dude). He told me I should get on the interstate. When I chose to drive in the opposite direction he kinda got mad. Over and over again he told me to make a U-turn. I couldn’t get him to shut up. For about 10 minutes I drove with him telling me to turn around. When I wouldn’t, he tried getting me to make a right on the next street and then make another right. I refused to listen and I tried to turn him off. He would not go away.
Finally, I pulled over and focused on getting him to just stop talking. That’s when he showed me a map of where I was headed. “Oh, that’s not good,” I said. “Maybe I should at least go back to the interstate and give it a try before I end up in Idaho.”
So, I did. I drove up to the barricade. The Highway Patrolman asked where I was headed. I thought to myself, “What answer are you looking for that will get me to the other side of that barricade?” I said my town’s name in a question.
That was the magic answer. I got a pass to go.
The road was closed to through traffic which meant there were no trucks on it. Good weather, good roads, no trucks, and I didn’t dare use my cruise control so I made really, really good time. It was actually a really nice drive.
When I arrived home, I told my dad about my adventure. He is familiar with all the roads in our region since he traveled them for 50 years for work. When I got to the part about the short cut he asked, “What short cut?” That’s when I realized I probably heard that part wrong so I quickly finished my story trying to take the focus off that part. Undeterred, he shook his head and asked again. “What short cut?”
Looking back, it appears I listened to the Spirit on this one. First of all, I headed to Evanston instead of just going to my sister’s. Second, Siri annoyed me enough to go back to my original plan. Third, I’m not one to question things like this. Driving up to the barricade is not in my nature as I tend to be fairly obedient to authority figures such as Highway Patrolmen. Fourth, the weather took a turn for the worse the next day. I drove home during the best possible time in that window.
It’s amazing the miracles that are out there in life if we are paying attention. And sometimes we don’t realize them until later.