I used to refer to all of our road trips as reconnaissance missions. Mostly to lessen disappointments I had suffered on the trip. Weird statues that Terry wouldn’t stop for to let me get a picture. Famous city intersection signs that Terry wouldn’t stop for to let me get a picture. My sad face in the window as some one-of-a-kind roadside oddity whipped by. That kind of disappointment. I had to tell myself, this is just a reconnaissance mission. We’re just here to see what there is to see. Now that I know that statue is right there, I’ll be able to get a picture of it the next time we come through here.
And I’m glad I did that. It worked. It turned out to be real.
So, my point is that I don’t call them recon missions anymore. They aren’t anymore, I guess. We’re going out west for the sixth time this summer. Of course, there are places that Benjamin hasn’t gone, that I want him to see, like the Great Salt Desert. And he doesn’t even remember going to Death Valley in 2005, so we have to go back there. Besides, we didn’t see the moving rocks when we were there before, the Racetrack. I’ve been wanting to go back for that anyway.
I also want to go back through the Petrified Forest National Park. The petrified trees aren’t all that spectacular, but the hills of the Painted Desert’s Chinle Formation are incredible. I have a couple of photos I took with a so-so camera back in 1997, and I have to get more pictures of that.