“Do you want to go on an adventure?”
My wife asked that question yesterday, which was another 100-degree scorcher. Our air conditioning hadn’t been working since the severe heat set in, and we’ve been spending our days on the water instead of at home, enjoying our paddleboards and cooling off in various lakes around the region.
Our adventure yesterday involved strapping the boards to the racks on our 2013 Subaru Legacy and trying to find the back way to a secluded lake in the woods.
Armed with our GPS, our car and a passionate desire to find water, we hit the road. It was supposed to be a quick journey with a rewarding payoff. Instead we promptly got lost and had the adventure of our lives.
Just days ago I wrote about Subaru being one of the top off-roading cars. I mocked that finding but now understand the pull of the off-road Subie.
We left our driveway with smiles on our faces, the air conditioning on full blast and a mapped-out route to our destination. We also made note of the puffy clouds far in the distance. A few miles later we turned off the paved road and onto the first of many gravel roads that theoretically led to our lake.
Fifteen minutes later we came upon this sign:
We ignored it at first, trusted our iPhone map and continued driving.
The next sign wasn’t so forgiving, and I didn’t take the time to snap a photo. It had a picture of a guy with a gun that said, “Your GPS is wrong, but my aim is true. Turn around now.” Even the font was threatening.
So we turned around and headed all the way back to the paved road. Then we found another dirt road that should have, after 15 miles or so, led directly to our lake.
We considered turning around when we came upon another sign warning us that the road we were about to embark on was a summer road only with no maintenance. We trusted our desire for adventure, though, and trudged on.
We ignored the ruts in the road and slowly navigated past the boulders and fallen tree limbs. The road narrowed.
“So how far are we going to keep going on this road, Sweetie?” I asked.
“Until we get to the lake,” she answered.
We bumped along the road as thorn bushes reached out and clawed at the doors. The temperature, 101 at home when we left, dropped to 73. The clouds that were once so far away suddenly began to churn and grumble. Then we came to a canyon in the road.
There’s no way the Subaru, or even a Hummer H2, could safely traverse the crack in the earth that lay before us. Rather than giving up, we got out of the car to look for logs or rocks or something we could use to create a bridge. On foot, we turned a corner and saw this:
Our journey had ended. We were out in the middle of nowhere, close to our destination but unable to go any farther. The clouds flashed. The air rumbled. The rain fell in large, slow drops. We turned back toward the car, wondering how we’d back out.
That’s when we saw the trail. A wide grassy area led to a path that disappeared deeper into the woods. We looked at one another, and I said, “You know, there are towels in the car…”
Rather than paddleboarding on a pristine mountain lake, we lay down on towels in the grass, stared up at the trees, and listened to nothing but birds and thunder while letting the rain soak our heat-weary bodies.
That’s when we knew our adventure paid off. Getting lost was the best thing that could have happened to us, and we have a memory that will last our lifetime.
You might think the lasting memory would be lying in a mountain meadow during a thunderstorm, but actually the greatest memory is using that Subaru to back out of a treacherous situation.
Since there was no way we could make a 3-point turn, we used the backup camera to navigate back to safety.
Sure, we could have stayed home and cooled off with fans while watching TV or browsing Facebook. Instead we did what everyone should do: spent an afternoon in nature getting lost and connecting as a couple, with our trusty Subaru as our steed leading the way back home.
What’s your favorite car for adventures?