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Drive & Smell The Roses

February 16, 2016
Drive & Smell The Roses

An excerpt, from Kenny’s Road Journal

February 11, 2016

It’s noon. I’m packed and the 27 foot trailer that will be my announcer stand for the next 2 days is hooked to my old Dodge Cummins. I reach up and hit the record button on my GoPro camera on the dash. I hope that the cameras auto stabilization will smooth out the bumpy ride that my inner teenager loves but my back hates. The inversion is bad today, a milky fog blocks the view of my snow covered mountains. In less than ten miles I’ll be climbing out of the haze.

The typical audio book or music just doesn’t feel right after some recent emotional events so I just listen to the hum of my diesel engine as I drive down Logan’s main street on my way to the canyon. I look up and see the flashing light on the GoPro. My plan is to make a weekend in the life of an announcer video for It’s About Men. I guess because it’s what I do, I narrate to myself the significance of the places I drive by. Logan, the county seat of Cache County. In 2005 and 2007 it was declared the safest area in the U.S., I served as a deputy those years and I take pride in that.

I turn off main and head toward Logan Canyon. As I begin my climb, I drive by the campus of Utah State University (Go Aggies!). I never matriculated there but I did attend many FFA conferences, livestock judging contests, and once, I even got to be Chris LeDoux’s body guard there (as if he needed it).

Even though the I’m ascending above the valley floor, the inversion is still lingering and I give a little more throttle so I can feel the boost from the turbo, I’m in a hurry to see the sun. In less that thirty miles I’ll climb over 3000 feet. Finally, a couple miles into the canyon, I punch through the fog like an airplane flying above the weather. I’m greeted by the clear blue skies that I haven’t seen for a few days and my mountains. The aspen and pine forest peeks out under a blanket of snow. It’s warmer here. The sheer rock cliffs are reflecting the suns warmth and releasing the water from it’s icy winter prison.

Almost half way to the summit I drive past the Temple Fork turn off. It’s name comes form the quarry from where the stone was taken for the Logan LDS temple in the late 1800’s. It is also home to an 11 foot tall monument to a scourge turned hero and it matches his height. Old Ephraim was a Grizzly bear that wiped out hundreds of sheep and after a near ten year pursuit was taken down in 1923 oddly, he was loved as much as he was hated, and is the namesake of my brothers knife company.

Pushing on, I drive past Tony Grove an outdoor playground all year long for hikers, bikers, fisherman and hunters. I look at the sign and under the title I read “Mount Naomi Wilderness Area”; I giggle. As I near the summit, I look to my right and see The Sinks where the close mountains open into meadows and saddles the intermittent snowmobile tracks make it look like a pure white patchwork quilt.

I’m cresting the summit and look out over Bear Lake. If you want to drive around it, you’ll log 109 miles on your odometer. It shouldn’t, but it surprises me that it’s white instead of the deep blue I’m used to. I’m just happy I can see it, I won’t be descending into the inversion again. I make my way along the Northwest shore and cross into Idaho. In Fish Haven, I drive by the harbor where huge sail boats are dry docked in the parking lot instead of the water. covered in snow they look like lost tourists from a warmer climate.

Then I drive into St Charles Idaho, one of those if you blink you miss it kind of towns. It’s hard to believe this humble little town boasts the birth place of Gutzon Borglum. Passing through several more little towns I arrive in Montpelier Idaho, a stop over for pioneers on the Oregon Trail and where Butch Casidy robbed the local bank in 1891.

I get to my hotel and check the GoPro footage. It was no match for the buck board style suspension on the old truck. I’m disappointed, but I’m inspired by the amount of history that I had driven by at least a hundred times but today a little extra attention to details brought it to the surface and made it a completely different experience than it has ever been before.

I challenge you all to become a little more familiar with your surroundings. Revisit the history you know. and even if you can’t stop and smell the roses, at least take a whiff as you drive by.

From the road,

Kenny

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