Some things seem like a good idea at the time. Fast forward six years and one kid later, and some things seems like an even better idea…in a well-rested, young, carefree dream world.
So we flashback to the days when ridiculous road trips to Las Vegas not only sounded like a good idea, but were also entirely feasible, fueled by a diet of Mountain Dew, Doritos, and gummy worms.
We were young, newly minted as a dynamic duo, and (after some coaxing) Chris convinced me that a long weekend in Vegas, bookended by two twelve hour days in the car, would be an adventure nothing short of delightful. So we scheduled our departure for Thursday evening after work, and away we went…off into the night.
I remember pulling into a gas station in Utah to stock up on the essential snacks and drinks. A full moon illuminated the sky in one of those eerie dark but not at all dark kind of nights. Given the Utah scenery, our adventure felt far more exotic than an all-night drive in a 1996 Mazda Protégé. I dozed in and out, and I distinctly remember waking up to Chris singing Yonder Mountain. Pure joy from a man on an adventure with some new chick by his side.
He drove all night, as it was only a year or so ago that I finally learned to drive a stick. I copiloted, fiddled with the iPod, replenished the snacks, yapped non-stop. The sun rose and we did the only logical thing we could think of: we pulled into the first casino we found across the Nevada border.
A few rounds of blackjack and childish giggling later, we climbed back into the Protégé and carried on to our destination: Vegas, baby, Vegas.
The weekend passed in a flurry of cheap beer, stinky casinos, a bit of rugby, and plenty of laughter. Hell, we had driven to Vegas! For a weekend! We were living the life.
Sunday rolled around, and thus marked the long voyage home. Our In-n-Out hopes were dashed by Easter Sunday (Nooooooooooooo!), so we found some other crummy joint to eat and then hit the road. Driving, driving, driving. Laughing, laughing, laughing. It’s amazing how alive one can feel during a twelve hour car ride in a car where the air conditioning has been swapped for a good looking new man. We chatted. Schemed. Daydreamed. Felt the beginning realizations that we just might have met someone pretty damn special.
In one of those unexplainable memory kind of ways, I distinctly remember driving down from the mountains back into Denver, and listening to Chris sing Jerry Jeff Walker. The Lady Beside Me came on; he rested his hand on my leg and continued to sing.
It stuck with me, for whatever reason I’ll never be sure.
But what I can be sure of, is that it didn’t seem entirely coincidental that four years later he sang the very same song to me as we danced our first dance together as husband and wife. And while the adventures of today take on a slightly different feel, they still hold that same sense of excitement and the simple joy of being on the road with my favorite person by my side.