Posted by: zephaniah317 | February 18, 2007

J & N’s Excellent Adventure – Day 4 – My Dad

(ALERT- pretty intensely emotional post this evening – you’ve been warned  🙂  ) 

Still chillin’

 Ah, my Dad…what can I say?  When you’re 83 years old and on three anti-depressants, your attitude is like a box o’ chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.  So, in contrast to the first day and a half of our adventure together – compliant, thankful, a little whiney at times – this morning, J and I got two barrels of “I know what I’m talking about and no one’s gonna tell me different”, a.k.a. Grumpy Dad version 2.0.  My Grumpy Dad is arguably the most negative man on the face of the Earth.  From his perspective, nothing goes right, and everything situation initiated by total strangers is done deliberately to him.  After arguing for a bit about how the route we were taking for the day is the right one, we left the safe harbor of Willits, CA.  And, you betcha, by the time we left, the enemy brought up all sorts of “You’re not good enough” thoughts and feelings in me, especially since Dad was a major source of that stuff in my life when I was younger.  Only this time, I knew that (quoting Eldredge) “the enemy uses others to do to us what he’s trying to do to us”, so throughout the day, I was in a fight, and I think I did pretty well.  But, it’s amazing how hard it is to have the right perspective:  that he’s just trying to prove his worth, show he’s still able to make contributions and show that he knows what he’s talking about.  Which he’s been trying to do his whole life, I figure.  He’s not trying to put me down or imply that I’m an idiot.  That’s the enemy doing that.

My dad had a hard life; grew up on a Texas farm in the depression with a strict father, served in WWII at age 21 (was in the Battle of the Bulge), has been a truck driver, has gone through four marriages (divorce, death (my Mom), annulment, death – in that order), prostate cancer, can’t smell, can’t taste (much), can’t walk any distance without assistance, and can’t operate a cell phone too well, although he disagrees with that one.  So, finally after a couple of very brief conversations tonight, I really believe my heart broke for him.  I can’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but I’m closer than I was to truly loving, forgiving him and getting on with things.  There’s two ways to approach the phrase “I’m not gonna be like my Dad”.  The first is approached with anger, in which case you end up like your Dad.  The second is approached with love, as in “Dad, I love you, but I’m not going to be like you.”  That works.  I’m beginning to be living proof.

Whew!  (a) It’s hard being vulnerable, and (b) it feels great.  If you feel the above is inappropriate, deal with it.  It’s my blog.

OK, on to Day 4 details…there ain’t much.  Oh, I forgot!  Greetings from Barstow, CA!  (and, yes, I know, Needles isn’t in AZ (see previous post), it’s in CA, and yes, thank y’all for not pointing that out)

Today’s drive was much easier than yesterday.  Lots of long flat stretches.

Wine anyone?  (I think we went a total of about 5 minutes without seeing an orchard today)

 Lots o’ grapes during the season…

Traffic jam in the Bay Area for about 20 minutes or so, followed by a lot of this:

Don Quixote would FREAK…OUT…

…there are windmills ALL OVER THE PLACE down here in So CA:


…and Jesus is here too (not the car, the hillside, goob):

Pretty cool

There was more driving (side note:  I had trouble keeping up with J today; he was talking with Mrs. J on the phone for about an hour, that’s when he sped up – I think he’s homesick)


…more windmills:

Don’s still freaking out…

and finally, a sunset in the Mojave desert – much love to J for taking this one, mine was blurry:


We are officially a little over half way to Plainview, TX, our first stop, where we drop off Dad and all his earthly possessions, including Bandit 1.  If all goes well tomorrow, we should arrive there at noon on Monday, and leave for chilly upstate NY sometime Wednesday, maybe Tuesday afternoon.  More to come…


  1. I am glad that you are able to see some great things in your life and are letting go of some painful things. I know it is hard and I pray for your continued growth. Those are some beautiful pictures and thanks for sharing. One of the pictures in your last picture post looked like a scene from The second Pirates of the Carribean. It looked cool. Have fun!!

  2. for my oldest son’s tenth birthday, i took him on a business trip with me to CA. we had like two days to fit in all of the sightseeing we could and drove in the middle of the night down the coast from San Jose airport to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and then back up to San Francisco before flying out of San Jose again. We rented a little white pick up truck and I took pictures AND video while I was driving and reading maps. I’ll never forget seeing all the windmills like these (probably the same highway) and all the beautiful CA scenery. I have video of us driving across the Golden Gate bridge…great memories.

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