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Bad Things Can Happen on a Good Journey

I am writing this article as I am waiting to get a rim fixed on my car. I tried to get away for a short weekend to do some hiking in Colorado. Along the way, I hit a pothole, bent my rim, and I am now grounded and am being forced to stay an extra day in Colorado. It would not be so bad except that I am grounded because I am driving around with no spare and one of those crappy little emergency tires.

But, as I sit here, it reminds me of something that happened to me years ago. My wife and I have three sons. As many young families, the early days were really a struggle. Our vacations were of two kinds: going to see family for a holiday, or camping.

Camping was a cheap alternative. We would load up tents, tarps, water bottles, and the like. We had old sleeping bags that weighed way too much. We would venture out as if we know what we were doing (and we didn’t).

One particular year, we decided to go to a part of the state that the kids had never been to: the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. We found a camping spot somewhere in the mountains, set up our tent and then decided to go exploring. The road got very rough. There were a lot of sharp rocks. As we were trying to maneuver over a particular bad area, I got out of the car only to hear a hissing sound. We had a tire going flat.

Needless to say, I did not want to try to change a tire on a mountain road. We bailed down the mountain as quickly as we could, arriving at a gas station. The gas station attendant changed the tire. We got the tire on and headed to the campsite. As we got there, one of the kids pointed out that they heard a hissing sound. Another flat.

Let me be honest. Our tires were way overdue to be replaced. But, like so many young struggling families, we were trying to make due as long as we could.

We went back to the gas station and got the tire fixed.

The person at the gas station said, “Mister, I really would not be driving on these tires with three kids.”

My wife and I talked and headed to some town (probably Pueblo) and purchased a set of tires. I remember going to a movie, sitting there trying to figure out whether we should just go home or keep plugging along on our camping trip.

Our adventures did not end there. A day or two later, we broke camp. We then moved toward the Salida, Colorado area. Suddenly, our car started making a weird knocking sound (I really do not remember now what all was going on). We spent a day in a shop in either Salida or Canon City. The result was a temporary repair, and we had to drive 40 miles per hour back all the way from Colorado to Hays.

I always enjoy my vacations, but I will tell you that this one stretched me to the max.

It is not unusual for clients to come in to see me when bad things are happening. They can range from health issues, financial issues, or even family issues. Life was great, or at least fine until bad things started to happen. Sometimes I can tell they are just ready to give up.

One of the things that we try to do with our families is to help them step back, put the crisis in its proper place, find solutions, and then make a plan to go forward. Sometimes it takes a third party, such as an elder care attorney, to help them step back and get a better perspective on life. It is truly not the end; they just need a plan.

So, it was with us. Though our first trip to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains turned out to be a challenge, we still tell stories about it. We still talk about the flats, but also the beautiful mountains. And, the funny part is that it has really become one of our favorite places in Colorado. Don’t let “flat tires” stop you from enjoying life. Sometimes you just have to fix the flats and go on.

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