Friday, February 03, 2006

18 hour pilgrimage to a wonder of the world

7:00am-9:00am Columbia to Charlotte
10:00am (EST)– 11:15am (CST) Charlotte to Chicago
2:55pm – 5:30pm (MST) Chicago to Phoenix
6:30pm – 10:45pm Phoenix to Grand Canyon

This morning, after Will and Molly had left for school, we told Jack that we had to drive him, and coaxed him to the car. We had packed a bag for him and off we drove toward Charlotte. Jack, being the un-rousable that he is, hardly said a word all the way to the airport. He was slightly upset that we’d made him late for school, until he realized that he, too, was boarding the plane.
At this point, all he knew was that he was going to Chicago, and I don’t really think he thought it was all that exciting. When we rose above the clouds, he audibly gasped and I don’t think he turned his head away from the window until we landed.
We arrived in Chicago to a mixed, rainy-snowy 31 degrees. And soon Jack realized that we were waiting for another flight. At boarding time, he realized we were heading to Phoenix and his whole demeanor changed. Somehow Phoenix sounded more exciting than Chicago. This time we got to see some really strange landscape from the window and landed in a different world to 73 degrees, palm trees and cacti. We shuttled to the rental car, and hit I-17 and drove for 30 minutes into an unbelievable, gargantuan, Arizona sunset.
After dark, we began to climb into the mountains and soon found ourselves at 8500 feet. Here, after feeling the 73 degrees an hour earlier, we experienced the coldest temps of the day. At Flagstaff, we headed Northwest, and drove under a first-quarter moon and myriad stars in the pitch-black night. As we left Flagstaff, I stopped for a drink, and from then on, we met 5 cars in 84 miles. Jack was asleep for long before Flagstaff.
At 10:45, we checked into our accommodations only a few feet from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Jack woke up long enough to stumble inside, and crawl under the covers. Now he’s laying there snoring like his mom and I’m pretty sure, he has no idea where he is.
Tomorrow we’ll fill the day wearing ourselves out with spectacular sights and hiking and doing some hokey rite-of-passage ceremonies performed by a hokey, emotional, sentimental dad.
This weekend, my son will become a young man, complete with all the rights and responsibilities thereof. You will not know him when he returns.