A Windy Exit From the Grand Canyon

10.26.2020 In which we our hero stares fate in the eyes

Shannon Driskill
3 min readApr 19, 2021
“Is that my hat?” — — — — “It’s time to shave your beard.”

Our journey back to the Sunshine State finds our hero facing his greatest challenge yet. Inside the walls of Taco Smurf hormones are raging. For the last few days there’ve been tears, yelling matches about doing dishes, and fights about who has the worst bed. And yet, expectations are high. His family members are ready to be home and they are so close to California they can smell the sales tax.

But outside the wind howls blowing in a cold front which has chilled the Arizona desert to 28 degrees overnight. As he grips the steering wheel assuredly he turns the oversized vehicle into canyon after canyon where the wind gusts over 40mph.

It’s a race against the clock.
It’s a showdown with Mother Nature.
Can he make it?

Lucky for the passengers, their driver turned 53 years old yesterday and with such advanced age comes wisdom. Just as they cross the border into California he makes a decision which will save all of their lives. Although they’ll never know just how close they came to flipping over into a ditch alongside Interstate 40, the man at the wheel knows. He knows his limits and he loves his cargo, especially his favorite crew member, Marvin the Australian cattle dog. He knows the risks and he knows the reward. He recalibrates the motorhome’s navigation system and pulls into yet another shitty RV park along the Colorado River in Needles, ending this day of perilous travel.

The teenagers are a little disappointed in the curtailed progress made today toward the Pacific Ocean. But, just as they start to voice this disappointment another gust of wind rattles the RV windows so hard it sounds like the protective tarps are going to rip right off. Their eyes widen and they realize, it will do no good to protest. There’s no point in complaining. Their dad has driven in this apocalyptic madness as long as he can. They are resigned to defeat but cannot flee the scene. It’s too blustery to sit outside and they can’t exactly hide in their rooms. On top of that injustice we are out of ice cream AND cookies, so emotional eating is also out. There’s only one thing to do. They turn on Netflix.

The wind rages outside while familiar sounds of The Office fill the cabin and all is right again inside the Smurf. At least for now. The weather forecast predicts another 36 hours of hurricane-level winds. But never fear! Our hero has a plan: wake up at 5am when it will hopefully settle down to about 17 mph. Only then, only when he is sure they can arrive safely, will he drive on toward freedom.

PS- The grand canyon was very nice.

We braved the wind to hike down the South Kaibab trail on Sunday.
In an EXTRA Clark Griswald-y moment, Jeff led us across a random field on a “short-cut” to the hiking trail.

We still have a few days to drive and our house is rented out for all of October. So don’t expect any welcome home events or announcements for a while. Also, I think Los Angeles is still filled with smoke. Ugh.

Thanks for reading,

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Shannon Driskill

I make a mean martini; am often reading; and usually thinking about my relationships, my teenagers and how I’m probably messing them up.