Boom! A loud breaking sound. Screeching and rubbing.

What I thought was maybe a blown-out tire on our trailer, was in fact, our bike rack hitting the ground and being dragged behind us. My husband’s instantaneous reaction had us pulled over on the left side of the one-way road before I even realized what had happened.

A quick survey of the damage showed that two welds had broken (I didn’t even know that was possible!), causing our rack to slam down and drag our bikes until we stopped. This was not what we had envisioned for the start of our long drive home from Yosemite National Park.

Maybe it’s the idealist in me, but I like to make myself go through the exercise of looking for the good and/or the lesson in situations where the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, or, ahem, when the bike rack hits the road.

Here’s what I immediately saw amidst the scratched metal and bent tires:

  • we would have been in a (fairly long) tunnel had this happened about a half-mile down the road.
  • our friends (who we didn’t realize were leaving the campground so soon after us) drove by almost immediately after we pulled over and were able to stop and help us.
  • said friends would have veered off onto a different highway from us a half-mile down the road.
  • said friends happened to be prepared campers with strong tie-downs, and a wife who is a former sailor and knows how to tie seriously legit knots.

The craziest part of all this was that while we were working on getting things secured, an older couple came barreling down the road, going the wrong way on the one-way road, and we were able to flag them down and point out that they were going the wrong way before they went around a blind corner. I still cringe when I think about what could have happened if we weren’t there.

Lessons from bumps in the road

I captioned the above photo on Instagram with a short blurb about what happened and then received a comment that seemed to sum up how I felt about the whole thing.

“You are *right* where you are supposed to be,” said my friend Stephanie, and that felt just about right.

Sometimes if we’re not yet where we want to be in life, maybe we’re right we’re supposed to be. That idea helps me keep trucking along, keep dreaming, keep working, keep rigging up problems with experimental solutions.

When we got home from our trip, my husband spoke to his parents who had been on their own epic road trip, much farther than ours.

They told stories of an antenna ripped off, a completely unexpected thunderstorm, and a ripped RV awning. I thought back on road trips with blown-out tires in the middle of nowhere, cars dying just as the exit ramp approached, items flying out of the back of the truck, rocks hitting windshields.

The truth is, the more you’re out on the road, the more you travel along, the more you’re bound to hit some snags. I’m no statistician but I can see the logic in this. Honestly, we just have to expect the bumps, because they’re going to come in one way or another.

That’s okay though. Sometimes, what’s inconvenient to us puts us right where we need to be to benefit someone else. If we live to tell, these bumps give us shared experiences which bond us closer together to those we’re traveling with, and let’s face it: good stories to tell.

It’s as simple as this: if we value adventure and want to see the world, we have to just see where the road takes us, and risk the bumps that may come.

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince