My husband and I were obsessed with the weather during our cross-country road trip. It seemed that about 90% of our conversations revolved around whatever region's particular climate.
"It's the middle of May, there is no way we can get snowed in... right?"
"Look, this towel was soaking wet last night. Feel it. Completely dry! How about that?!"
"A high of 110 today but tonight it will be 56! Incredible!"
"Whaaaaat? I made this sandwich 5 minutes ago, the bread is as dry as toast!"
Since I have lived in the sticky South nearly all my life, experiencing the intensely dry heat out west was fascinating. At first it was amazing. Everything was covered in dust -- but my hair never looked better. Yet as the temperature rose the novelty of bone dry kitchen sponges every morning began to wear off. Then there was that day outside Las Vegas where the sky felt like 1,000 hairdryers in your face. We learned that tons of people died building the Hoover Dam because of the heat and I totally get it because my hands literally broke out in heat blisters just looking at the dam. And there was that one time we saw a gigantic rainstorm in the distance. Oh, how I longed for it as we drove closer and closer to the ominous clouds. Only to discover it was a Virga rain - a storm that evaporates before it hits the ground. My bones ached for rain! At one point, I searched the web for "places with coolest summers in the US". We rerouted our trip and hightailed it to Flagstaff, Arizona where each afternoon was kissed with a gentle sunshower and peaceful breezes throughout the night.
There is a word that I want to use to describe Flagstaff that sounds way too fancy to be a Molly Flanagan word, but I am going to use it anyway. Respite. Which is a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. Heat, snow, sickness, injury, car troubles, wrong turns, tarantulas. Our 77 day adventure was filled with difficult and unpleasant things marked with many glorious respites which made the unbearable parts bearable. Respites in the form of Reeces Blizzards at Dairy Queen, listening to Mystery Show, hot showers that did not require flip flops, and Shawn & Courtney Zimmerman.
We were only supposed to stay in Southern Oregon with the Zimmermans for a few nights, but our respite somehow became a maybe-we-should-be-paying-rent type of situation. They took in all five of us. Four of whom arrived with a stomach virus. Let us (repeatedly) eat all their food. Took us to rivers and lakes. Camped with us on the coast. And hijacked their friends swimming pool for us. All while Shawn transitioned to a new job and temperatures soared above 100 degrees every day. We finally said our good-byes, but then after our 4 year old was injured they welcomed us back so he would have time to begin to heal and we could reconfigure our travel plans. We savored the care and hospitality we received from each member of the Zimmerman family. It was the most beautiful example of a respite.
Thank you Zimmermans for opening your home and your hearts to us and for providing us with a respite we will always remember.