Dave suggested a hike for our family night. We decided on a trail which we had been to before since we knew the twins would be able to walk it on their own. We packed dinner, water and bug spray and set off. The weather was perfect. We forgot how long the trail was so I was nervous about it getting dark, but we had plenty of time to eat our picnic and splash and explore in the creek before returning to the van. Before our hike, I had noticed wild raspberry bushes near the van and knew they would be a treat upon our return. They were indeed! And as we were driving back to the main road we spotted a bunch more and pulled over to pick our hearts out. They proved to be a tasty treat on the yogurt and granola the next morning.
Liam managed to get all the way across the creek on the branch.
A couple spots were more rustic than others, but a good walking stick helps everything.
Caleb eyeing up the water.
He could not be kept from it and was soaking as soon as we let him near it.
On our drive home, Dave noticed a road that took us to another road, where he had seen that a house was for sale. Sure, let's go look, it's not out of our way. So we make the turn only to find that after a while there is a sign that says "Pavement Ends". We were feeling adventurous from our successful hike, so we kept on. But first we checked the map, yes, it was a through road, and yes, it brought us to Main Street right where Dave thought. Up, up we go. In general the kids we quiet, Liam was the most verbal asking why it was so bumpy, if there were bears in the forest, etc. Up, up. There were ruts and bumps and then at the crest of the hill we see a HUGE rut. Dave tries to go over it slowly, but we hear the bottom scrape, so he backs up and we think. It's too narrow to turn around, and too far to drive in reverse. I suggest getting out and finding tree branches to build up the road where our wheels will drive so the under carriage of the van is higher. Works like a charm. We are back on the road, only to find that we now need to go down. Way down the hill we can see where the pavement begins again. We nervously begin our descent. Kiddos are still quiet, but Liam is starting to fuss. Why did we take this road? This isn't good. I don't like this. Dave is slow and deliberate with choosing his path. Gas, brake, gas, brake. It's too steep to need gas, yet we need it to push us out of the ruts. So we continue slowly: gas, brake, gas, brake. The van is wobbly and we are happy for our seat belts. Before we know what has happened, we are worried that the van is going to flip. In trying to avoid the ruts, we are now up on the left side of the road and leaning significantly.
Dave stops and we look at each other. Liam's aware of things even from the back seat of the van. Why are we stopping? What's wrong? I wonder: Should I get the kids out of the van to wait on the side of the road or walk down? Should I unbuckle and load everyone onto the left side to prevent tipping? Who would we call to rescue us if we rolled the van? Would AAA help us? I pray silently and we keep going. We don't know what else to do. I resist the urge to tell Dave where I think he should drive and instead rub his shoulder and tell him I think he is doing a great job.
We bounce our way down to the bottom with white knuckles, some addition mud on our tires, all children still buckled and safe and all parts of the underside of our van still attached. Our driveway shows no extra drips (from a damage leak) under our van the next morning.
Go Family Night. I wonder what we will do next week?