Odd that Siri had us turn on a road that didn’t have a sign about Kodachrome Basin. But the kids had languished in the bus all day and I wanted to arrive at our destination. When Siri told me to turn right on to County Road, I should have turned around.
For some reason, I figured that perhaps since Kodachrome Basin didn’t have any cell service, perhaps no paved roads lead into it as well. And those kids must be tired of traveling by now—even though not a single one had asked me, “Are we there yet, Mrs. Ojeda?”
Which lead us to our current predicament. Some thirty miles down a washboard gravel road, we started crossing small streams. “Good thing it hasn’t rained recently,” I quipped to one of the other teachers. At mile 36, the stream crossing the road looked deeper and wider than the previous four trickles.
I carefully angled the bus (a 14-passenger affair about the size of a Class C RV) across the stream and hoped that the trailer wouldn’t bottom out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see over the rock under the right side of the bus, and when the back wheel dropped dramatically, I knew we had a problem.
We piled out of the bus, using stones to step on and avoid soaking our shoes up to our ankles. I had basically buried the trailer hitch in the road. Oops. Pedro would not be proud of me. When I saw the sign for Willis Creek Trail across the road, I knew that if we went forward (IF we could get unstuck), the busses should make it the rest of the way.
A ranger had assured me just the week before that a bus could easily make it from Kodachrome Basin to Willis Creek. Funny that he hadn’t mentioned the 44-mile-long dirt road extravaganza leading into the park. I had crafted my plan so carefully, and despite our good start in the morning, everything seemed to go wrong.
Some boys went to work with all available tools (sticks, rocks, screwdrivers) trying to unbury the hitch. Other boys started carrying rocks to shove under the back wheel.
“This is so much fun!” one of the boys exclaimed. Bless him. I laughed and smiled and prayed that we’d actually make it to camp before dark. No one had eaten since we passed out an afternoon snack two hours earlier. Our supply of drinking water wasn’t that great, either.
With the students’ help, we tried backing out of the situation. Didn’t work. One of the other teachers found a giant metal crowbar, which worked wonders for loosening the dirt and rocks wedged under the hitch. (Note to self, all school vehicles should carry a shovel).
Finally, we tried pushing the trailer and bus forward—wonder of wonders, it worked! It seemed as if we had lost hours trying to get unstuck. I started to fantasize about a hot meal, AND the other staff members setting up the kids’ tents for them.
GPS vs. Maps
As we rumbled down the remaining seven miles of dirt road, I couldn’t help but think of the difference between GPS and maps. Sure, GPS services claim to keep a driver informed about road conditions and the fastest route. But getting stuck in a creek and wasting valuable daylight hours didn’t seem like a faster route to me.
When we arrived at a second expansive creek crossing, I stopped before we started across and we all got off the bus to assess the situation. The students carried rocks and filled in the drop offs BEFORE we drove over. Two hundred feet from the creek, we could see a paved road.
The thought that Kodachrome Basin State Park really DOES have a paved road leading all the way into it niggled at the back of my mind. I vaguely remembered passing it when we moved to Arizona four years ago.
I felt resentful that some GPS program had routed us through a so-called short cut that turned out to waste time and put our group in danger of spending a cold night on the road without food.
If I had just looked a map when I made my plan, I would have known that Johnson Canyon Road lead to an unmaintained dirt road. I would have chosen the logical route along Highway 12 past Bryce Canyon National Park.
The whole situation made me think about the difference between the Bible and books about the Bible. If I rely on the map—the Bible—I won’t have questions about the right route and how to get there.
Read the Book—Not Just Books About It
If I rely on books written by others about the Bible, I might think there’s a shortcut to heaven or that God promises beneficent prosperity to all who claim his name. The last time I checked the Good Book, God promises us trouble—not prosperity—but he also reminds us that he’s overcome the world, so we don’t have to worry.
Don’t get me wrong. GPS programs have saved me countless time by rerouting me around accidents and road construction. Likewise, books written about the Bible have helped me think more deeply and convicted me to strengthen my relationship with God.