Driving Round and Round… Just to see a waterfall

I spent Friday with my father, going on an adventure. We set off early in the morning and drove north with only two goals in mind:

  • See the waterfall at Great Falls
  • Eat at Sonic

We accomplished both.

But, a real adventure isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.

I spent most of the day just driving around with my dad. We didn’t have a plan or timeline. We went where we wanted to go. Eight hours of good conversation and taking random turns through town.

Also, cheeseburgers.

There is an apocryphal story my parents tell. Apparently, at some point in our lives, they decided it would be a good idea to pack up their children and drive to Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

Chimney Rock is a giant rock in the middle of nowhere. It is famous for being the only geological formation in Nebraska. According to history only written down at Chimney Rock itself, Settlers used it as a guide marker while traveling the Oregon Trail when they weren’t busy hunting buffalo and dying of dysentery.

It takes years of driving in circles to reach. Years.

Which leads to a phrase I’ve heard attributed to both of my brothers and myself at different times over the years. “We drove round and round just to see a rock.”

It’s one of those stories my parents like to whip out when they think we’re taking too many things for granted. And, I think it really shows the difference between going somewhere for the destination and going somewhere for the journey.

I spent Friday driving around with my father. We took three hours to make a trip we should have done in 90 minutes, then spent five hours more just exploring.

We talked. We joked about things. We saw some countryside we wouldn’t have ever seen if we’d been trying to reach a destination.

We drove round and round because I like to drive and my dad is both curmudgeonly about GPS and out of practice reading a map. We drove round a round because I’m 33 and my father is 60 and we don’t get to spend as much time together as either of us would like.

And, yes. We drove round and round, just to see a waterfall.