The Zekey Trip: Part 2

Last Thursday we left our campsite in Flagstaff, AZ, and headed north in a rented car toward the Grand Canyon. It would be my second time to the Grand Canyon, but for Breena and the kids, it was their first. Before we arrived at the park, we drove through some beautiful country on the Arizona backroads.

Just south of the park is a little town that has benefitted greatly from the tourism the Canyon draws. I don’t remember it being there when I last visited the park in 2003, and anyway, all the buildings look as though they’ve been built in the last five years. The kids were grateful to stop someplace familiar: Wendy’s. As we waited in line, Breena spotted a brochure for a helicopter ride over the Canyon. On a normal trip this wouldn’t even be a consideration, but this is the Zekey Trip after all, and we’re here to make memories. So we booked our helicopter ride for 4:10, and we sped off toward the Canyon to get as much sight-seeing in as we could in the meantime.

The Canyon defies description. It is vast and deep and intricate and beautiful. That first glimpse into the Canyon’s depths will take your breath away, no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Photographs, obviously, cannot do it justice. The kids loved it, especially the girls. Bexley had no fear – she wanted to get as close to the edge as she could. But all Cyrus and Eisley could seem to talk about was the impending helicopter ride.

It was amazing. It was worth the cost. I almost threw up.

The winds blowing up out of the southwest were exceptionally strong that afternoon, and our helicopter moved forward, up and down in fits and starts. By the time we reached the north rim I was wondering just where that barf bag was hiding. Determined not to puke in front of my kids, however, I stared silently out the window while everyone else was having a great time.

This will most likely be the thing that our kids remember most from this trip. This is the story they’ll be telling their kids about one day. My hope is that the excitement they felt during the helicopter ride will be emotionally associated with the memory of their brother for the rest of their lives. May the joy and wonder they experienced over the Grand Canyon be linked with the love and tenderness they have for Zeke, and may both rest firmly in their hearts for all their days.

After our visit to the Grand Canyon we drove to San Diego to stay with Breena’s aunt Melody and grandpa. We had such a wonderful time there, and I even got to celebrate Cyrus’s birthday by taking him to Legoland. (Let’s face it, Legoland is probably going to be his favorite part of this trip.) Breena also got to spend some time at her favorite vacation destination: the beach! We had dinner with Breena’s family at the San Diego Harbor, and went to church with them on Sunday morning. It was a fantastic weekend, and we capped it off by visiting some friends of mine from college in Los Angeles.

I so appreciated our time with my friends Jen and Sara and their families because I got to see what God has done in their lives in the past 13 years. They are truly living by faith in the heart of Los Angeles, doing church as we had hoped to do it with Ember. I could sense how strongly the Lord was with them and among them, and our entire family felt right at home with them.

I’ll save the next leg of our journey – California Highway 1 & Yosemite – for the next post. We’ve had a lot of fun since leaving southern California, and the trip is barely halfway done! Thank you, again, to everyone who helped make this trip possible. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and trust me when I say we are drinking this experience down to its dregs!