RoadTrip 16: Everyone Has a Story

DeLinda and my journey began 25 years ago on Chapel Street in New Haven. It includes miles in Connecticut and Texas, days along city streets and back roads in France, and now great expanses of highway from the east coast to Wyoming. We have a story.

We have a story that intertwines with others’ stories…

Like the cool family who recently purchased the Hisega Lodge near Rapid City, South Dakota (above). Taking over this historic 1908 lodge was no small feat, but they seem to have settled in quite nicely. They’ve created a friendly and easy-going space for guests, staff and their gregarious son, Dash. They have a story.

stories-003Their guests have stories, too, like Justin and Robin from Kansas — the enviably energetic young couple who loved to be outdoors and especially enjoyed the breakfasts at Hisega. Or George and Deb from Colorado who were celebrating their wedding anniversary. Quiet conversations over breakfast and on the sprawling front porch revealed a recent tragedy in their life, as well as an amazing sense of gratitude. They definitely had a story to share!

stories-004Like “Kentucky,” the traveler we met along the Beartooth Highway near the Montana border. His favorite place in the world was Yellowstone, he’d traveled there many times. The Lamar Valley was the best place to see wildlife, he told us. He was wide-eyed with wonder, like a child might be seeing something for the first time, and willing to share his enthusiasm with us and with others along the way.

stories-005“New Jersey” had a story, too. We met him on the benches near Old Faithful. He was introducing himself to the folks nearby, getting us to talk to each other in that way people used to but don’t quite as much anymore. Getting us to see the connections—“I lived there, too.” “I went to school there.” “My parent grew up in the next town over.”

Such a small world.

Indeed. We met up with “Kentucky” again at Old Faithful, some 350 miles and 24 hours later. And the next day, we reconnected with “New Jersey” — at Jackson Lake Lodge, where we all enjoyed a view of the sun setting below the Grand Tetons.

The happenstance of all of that is part of our story now, too. And theirs.

©2016, Jen Payne

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