Cross country poem and photos

I woke up this morning to an email from my son Ryan who is out in California following his dream of playing baseball. He is a freshman at Ohlone College in Fremont, CA.

View of San Francisco Bay, looking west from the Ohlone Hills

Of course being three hours behind us, I don’t see some of his evening emails until the following day. Anyway, Theodore was up before 6am, so I brought him downstairs with me to get our day started. Eventually I got around to my email, and a simple message from Ryan. Immediately I thought about how I haven’t seen him since August 30th, he’s well over 3000 miles from home, I haven’t been able to see him play any ball this fall, and I just miss him.

So I had to think on something more uplifting to start my day. I perused through several different things I have written about the kids, as the kids are always a source of enjoyment for me. I came across this piece I had posted on Facebook. I thought I would post it on my blog here, with the addition of several pictures that Steve and I took along the way. For some of you this will be repetitive, for others, brand new. I hope you enjoy it. For those of you who have sent your children off to college, I am sure you can relate on some level. For those of you who haven’t done so yet, get ready for it. The best way to get ready, in my opinion, is to spend every moment you can with the kids now, be present now, (not when you think you have time, be present NOW because when you have the time, they’ll be at school and you’ll have a void you wish had filled before they left) and don’t let anything stop you. So this is how it looked … with the addition of pictures.

Yesterday I left Ryan at school in California. Ryan is going to Ohlone College in Fremont, CA. He is pursuing his education while following his dream of playing baseball. This moving day was much different from last year with Steve and not any easier to walk away from. Steve came with me to help his brother get set up for his first semester of college. I was fine with all this until I hugged Ryan and said good-bye yesterday morning. I am pretty sure it went something like this.

In Ryan’s car; Steve and I pulled out of the driveway at about 6:45,                     this ride was different, a true cross-country drive.

Ohio, the end of day one.

We shared the driving and stopped in Ohio on day one,                                                 we drove through a tornado warning but we still had fun.

Route 50 West

Day two we headed to Route 50, destination Missouri,                                                   we didn’t stop for much more than Tim Horton’s as we were in a hurry.

The gateway to the west

Entering Jefferson City, MO. End of day two

Flat field of hay

Straight roads, telephone poles, nostalgic for me

Wide open spaces

For some reason I imagine this scene has existed in Kansas for centuries

This BNSF train, full of coal, heads east from the Powder River Basin

We left Missouri’s State Capital headed through Kansas and the plains,                 we enjoyed the slow climb, lots of prairie dogs, and coal loaded trains.

These little guys are tough to photograph … when you’re driving 75 on the highway.

In Colorado the land and sky are both beautiful

The Arkansas River cuts through the canyon, creating recreational opportunities for miles and miles

Mountains and more mountains

The ceiling just seems higher in Colorado than back east

The clouds were still high enough for us to see this majestic view

Blue sky, rain, puffy clouds, all at once in the mountains

The view while climbing Monarch Mountain

At more than 11,000 feet the temperature (59 F) was 33 degrees cooler than in Pueblo, CO at 4700 feet

Day four, we left Lamar, Colorado to climb the Rockies and Continental Divide, we went through Big Horn Canyon and over Monarch Mountain at 11,000 feet along the ride.

Can you imagine discovering this land for the first time?

Brilliant cloud illumination

The contours of the land in Utah were diverse and amazing

How big is the sky to make this plateau look small?

Updrafts result in beautiful clouds

The high ground drops to the valley, leaving amazing views

Steve takes in the views of a Utah canyon

I get in the way of a beautiful backdrop

The lens runs out of zoom before the depth runs out of view

Sun penetrates the high clouds

We continued through the mountains and valleys of Colorado and onto Utah’s Wasatch Plateau, the views were breathtaking and we saw a dozen eagles or so.

This valley is about 7000 feet above sea level and the morning drive out of the valley was gorgeous

Wide open, straight road looking towards Nevada

Yes, that’s snow in Nevada, in August. Most of the ride across Nevada we were at elevations more than 5000 feet

The Loneliest Road in America

We left through a gorgeous valley in Utah for the high desert of Nevada on day five, Route 50 in Nevada, known as “The Loneliest Road in America” was that day’s drive.

Entering Carson City, NV, which was the easterly border of The Ponderosa on TV’s Bonanza

We had been on the Santa Fe and Lewis & Clark Trails, even the trail used by the Pony Express, we pulled into Carson City anxious for a good night’s rest.

In the meantime, Ryan had flown to California with my brother and some family friends, Steve and I barely fit in the loaded car on the drive that soon ends.

There were bear crossing signs all through the Sierra’s

Approaching the gorgeous Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe surrounded by rugged land and gorgeous vista’s

This tunnel in the side of a mountain is also on Lake Tahoe’s edge

A view of Eldorado National Forest from Route 50

We left Carson City, around Lake Tahoe and into California’s Great Valley; we met for lunch in Union City, we drove more than 3500 miles, our final tally.

Once we arrived it was time to get Ryan and make sure he was ready for term one, we went to the campus for books, moved all his stuff in, while managing some fun.

With no dorms on campus his apartment down the road will have to do, Steve set up his printer, we got him unpacked, and we were quite the efficient crew.

The Bay Bridge looking west towards San Francisco

The Bay Bridge makes cars seem small while crossing San Francisco Bay

We made it to the piers in San Francisco

Pier 39 flags in San Francisco

Steve and Ryan graciously pose with Dad at Pier 39

We spent time together with a morning trip into San Francisco and Pier 39, we could see Alcatraz, the amazing bridges, and dozens of attractions in the warm sunshine.

Ryan shows how musically inclined my boys and I really are

Pick the mode of transportation that suits you best on and around Fisherman’s Wharf

We had a great time visiting many of the stores and shops on Pier 39

It’s definitely a different feeling when you stop, stare, and take in Alcatraz

Sea lions congregate along side Pier 39. Just another attraction along the pier

Somewhere in the morning fog is the grand Golden Gate Bridge

It all started to hit me as we took in the sites and I watched my boys together, knowing full well that once this trip ended things would be different forever.

Then yesterday on his way to school I walked Ryan to the car to say good-bye, I hugged him and stumbled over some words as I tried not to cry.

Ryan I know you will be awesome and will truly have the time of your life. I am proud of you and love you very much. Don’t change. You are wonderful young man.

Love, Dad

One response to “Cross country poem and photos

  1. Pingback: Solitude | 1inawesomewonder

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