Our family doesn’t do many multistate road trips. We love traveling whenever we get a chance to get away from the farm, but it’s usually destinations we can get to in half a day. Maybe once every couple years we get in the car and do a drive that takes more than a day to complete. I’m reminded why we didn’t do it much in the past talking with my siblings with young children about how much extra time it takes to travel with young kids. Our youngest is still not beyond asking, at obnoxious times like when I’m trying not to slide off the side of a sheer cliff on an icy mountain pass, “Are we there yet?” But, we can now drive for as long as a cup of coffee lasts without having to stop for a bathroom break or fratricide prevention when someone won’t stop humming a bit too loudly.
My brother married a wonderful girl from Colorado a couple weeks ago, and they had the wedding on a ranch in the mountains by Marble, Colorado. A fun fact I learned was that the marble quarry there was the source of marble for many monuments, like the Lincoln Memorial, and sculptures you’ll find throughout the country. I’m told one of the waterfalls by the town is the one pictured on Coors beer cans. Marble is about 17 hours away from Elko, Minnesota, if you drive continuously only stopping for gas.We made it there in about that many hours thanks to our oldest son being able to take shifts driving now that he has a driving permit and a lot of excitement to get there pushing us along like a strong tailwind.
We took the route Google said was most fuel efficient, zigzagging through Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado on mostly backroads. Gas isn’t cheap and Ford Explorers aren’t exactly known as a fuel economy vehicle. Also, the interstate from Minnesota to Colorado is possibly the most boring stretch of driving in the entire United States. Taking the backroads also afforded me the option to do a lot of one of my favorite activities while driving which is looking at other people’s farms. This is usually a cause of annoyance to my wife Emily as I don’t always drive quite as straight when looking around at cows and crops. Thankfully with Emily and Erik taking over every 2-3 hours, I had plenty of time to look at all the beef cattle grazing and corn being chopped. We all agreed that unlike past road trips this one, although long, was not so bad and maybe we’d all be up for an even longer one in the future to Canada.
You are possibly wondering how our whole family left the farm for a family wedding. The answer is we have a lot of great part-time and past employees who stepped up and ran things for five days without us. We had all our neighbors, repair services and friends on call in case anything happened. Turns out we had a very convenient lack of calves born or equipment breakdowns while gone. Kind of makes me wonder if we could do such a thing again and actually all have a family vacation together instead of half of us at a time while the other half run the farm.
We are so grateful to have gotten the chance to celebrate a wedding and do a few activities in Colorado. We even got to accomplish a family goal of ours which was to climb a mountain. We hiked up to the summit of Mount Sopris after the wedding. I can’t say it was any harder to climb a mountain than it is to walk over a layer of badly stacked small square bales except you have to do it for a couple miles and the views when you get to the top of the stack of rock are spectacular. Also, there’s the whole elevation thing. Anyway, I’d suggest you try it some time. It was worth the walk.
Until next time, keep living the dream and climbing whatever literal or figurative mountain you are currently on because it feels pretty good when you get to the top and look around at the views.
Tim Zweber farms with his wife, Emily, their three children and his parents, Jon and Lisa, by Elko, Minnesota.