The Patterson family has managed another successful Spring Break vacation. But it was one that we totally completed by the seat of our pants, having to recalculate the entire journey within just a few hours.
We had everything booked for a week in Kentucky when we first left the Yazoo County limits. We had a whole schedule mapped out with our accommodations booked and cave tours at the Mammoth Cave National Park scheduled and paid for in advance. When we left right after work last Friday, the sun was beaming down upon us, and the temperatures were hot enough that we had the air conditioning running full blast in our truck. There had been several warnings of a potential winter storm, but we thought just maybe we could get a good enough head start to safely get where we needed to be before the winterly conditions arrived.
We only made it to Memphis before a wave of snow attacked us like a wild animal. The weather was so bad that we literally had to pull over at the next available hotel and book a room for the night. And as the Weather Channel blared in our room and the snow continued to bury us in, we decided that Plan B was in order. I decided that if the snow, ice and winter weather were heading towards our original direction, we would simply head in the opposite one the next morning. Thankfully, the Kentucky folks were accommodating and allowed us to get a refund on everything we had previously booked. And within an hour, I had accommodations, a schedule and activities planned for Plan B, which included a state-wide tour of neighboring Arkansas.
The next morning, we carefully made our way through the remaining snow and ice. And by lunch time, the roads were clear and safe for our continued journey. I thought our children would be disappointed in our new plans, but they went into the journey with positivity.
And it was the best week we have had in a long time.
We explored Native American mounds, learned about primitive farming methods, hiked through impressive rock formations, and lurked inside caves. We toured an entire ghost town on our own and stayed the night in a renovated jail from the 1800s. We had dinner in a Victorian hotel, surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. We played and skipped rocks in a number of mountain creeks. We traveled to the highest point in Arkansas, staying the night on top of a mountain. We went to sleep under the stars by a camp fire. And we made it home safely with only a few mishaps on the road.
Overall, the trip was perfect considering we planned it within an hour inside a snowed-in hotel room.
And that is when it occurred to me that it isn’t always about the destination. It’s the uncharted journey that makes the best memories.
My husband Jason and I have become obsessed with taking our three children to see nature and God’s gifts on our many trips. It’s those places where your cell phone doesn’t work, when the stars outnumber the people and the mountains are your pathway. And I hope when they are adults, they will remember these trips.
I hope they remember the rocks under their feet, the creek waters running in between their toes, the hot dog suppers by the fire, the night serenade inside a sleeping bag and the times when their parents took them beyond the hill…towards the next adventure.