My Amazing Trip Through the Rocky Mountains - Conclusion

The Rocky Mountains - My Amazing Trip - Conclusion

By Dexter Yarbrough. At the end of Part 3, I had conquered my hunger and managed to get away from that coyote that was laughing at me. What an experience! I recall thinking just how I missed the sound of sirens, airplanes flying above and elevated trains screeching to a halt to pick up more passengers.

I was really glad that none of my friends came along on this specific adventure. Sometimes they can be obnoxious! But, I guess I can be as well. I won't let one friend (I'll call him James) forget the time he dated, what he claimed, was this really attractive woman. He was so protective of her. He would not let me or our other friends come around when they were together, so I became suspicious. After about two weeks, I gathered two of our friends and followed James from his house to his girlfriend's apartment.

We watched from my car as they exited her apartment after about five minutes. Since we were a distance away, it was hard to get an up close view, but from where we were, she appeared very beautiful. Yet, even from a distance, she seemed familiar. We followed them to a restaurant in one of Chicago's south suburbs. We waited about 15 minutes until they got in and seated. Our purpose was not to invade his privacy, but to make sure he was OK.

We went in to the restaurant, and after giving the hostess a description of James, asked her to take us to where he was sitting. I had to tell my friends to shut up. They were giggling a bit much! When we arrived at the table, James, who was sitting alone, jumped up and said, "What are you fools doing here?!"

I told him that we were worried about him and that he shouldn't leave his friends out. Just then, I saw his new girlfriend coming toward us from the other side of the restaurant. From a distance, she looked gorgeous - I mean drop-dead gorgeous. I told James, in a joking way, to be a gentleman and introduce us. As she walked up behind us he said, "Guys, this is Danica, Danica, these are my friends." As I turned to look her in the face, a horror came over me and "Donald?" came roaring out over my lips.

Yes. It was Donald! A guy (male) that went to the same high school as I did (he had on makeup and looked just like a woman and I remembered because he use to do this in school, making him quite controversial). Danica/Donald looked at me and said, "Oh, my God!" We all looked at Danica/Donald and then turned to James. I said, "James, did you know this is a man?" Danica/Donald said, "James, I am so sorry" and ran out of the restaurant. By this time, James was falling over into the booth seat and we had to catch him before he hit his head. Well, as you can imagine, we had to drive James home (he was truly distressed, crying and cussing) and he endured our cruel laughter and jokes while swearing he didn't know it was a man and insisting we stop at Walgreen's to get him a bottle of Lavoris mouthwash. Yep, it was funny as heck! James is married to a very beautiful woman (he told us he checked) and they have three teenagers. You just have to watch the clip to the right!

The Man

Anyway, while walking and laughing, I came across a roaring river called the Cache La Poudre River. The water was flowing quickly down from the mountains. It was absolutely beautiful and powerful. There were several other people viewing it as well. I stood mesmerized for about twenty minutes before I started to take photos of it.

A man approached me and began to make some small, friendly conversation. He was about forty-five, with pale skin and soulful eyes. He saw my camping gear and asked me where I was going. I told him about my almost two day journey and he got a big kick out of it. I told him that I was going to head about three miles east, head north and camp overnight before ending my journey.

As I began to pack up my camera, he told me that he owned a ranch about two miles away and invited me to have breakfast with him. He said, "You look hungry and a heavy thunderstorm is expected this afternoon." When you are raised in a big city, life teaches you to be suspicious of people. Hell, I mean John Wayne Gacy committed his acts just outside Chicago and Jeffrey Dahmer was just an hour north on I-94. I might be breakfast!

I said, "Well, I appreciate your offer but I..."

"Look," he said, "Come have a bite to eat. If you want to continue on your adventure, at least you'll have a belly full. My wife is expecting me. It will be alright!"

Something told me to trust this guy, so I walked with him over to his Dodge Ram 3500 and got in. He was a really nice man. He had an easy laugh and listened as if he thrived upon every word. I told him about my cow story and he laughed like there was no tomorrow. We drove down a long drive to a beautiful ranch. There was a red house on a hill behind the main house.


The Family

When we got out of the truck, five kids ran up and hugged him. A woman followed them and gave him a passionate kiss. The kids laughed and I stood there uncomfortably. She looked over at me with a smile and said, "What's wrong with you? Never seen a woman kiss her husband before?" The kids laughed and I just stood there!

She introduced herself as Shawna and told Justin (the husband) to bring me into the house. Before I went in, I looked at the beautiful mountains and hills that spread across the area. It was breathtaking! And the horses! They were absolutely beautiful. I went in, washed up and had a breakfast like you would find in a Las Vegas hotel - pancakes, biscuits, eggs, sausage (none for me, thanks), and fruit. Everything!

I was wondering just as you, the reader, so I asked Justin and Shawna if they were in the habit of inviting strangers to their home. After breakfast, Shawna got the kids up and had them to go outside. After they were gone, she sat back down and Justin told me that on this very day seven years ago, his father, Jim, died. Jim (on his deathbed) told Justin that when he was about twenty years old and an appliance repairman in Los Angeles, he went to a house to repair a refrigerator in a very run-down area of Watts. None of the other repairmen wanted to go into the area. While there, he was touched by a liitle girl with a beautiful smile. He recalled how she kept calling him "Mister."

Justin's father told him that the little girl was studying the Rocky Mountains in her class and kept saying how much she wanted to go there to see if they were as high as they were in the pictures. Jim assured her that they were, having traveled through while trying to pick up the pieces of his troubled young life. The little girl asked Jim if he had a girlfriend and he said no.

"Mister, my mama don't have no boyfriend neither." Jim told Justin that, the mother was certainly pretty enough but he was still trying to find himself and, well, the times were still hostile to interracial relationships. After completion of the job, he told the little girl to be good in school. "Mister, will you come back?"

"Sure. Mind your mother, you hear?" Jim told Justin that he thought of the little girl (her name was Tanya) and her mother often and about six months later, he was back in the neighborhood fixing an appliance for a customer. He got up the nerve to stop and say hello.

Riding ATV
Riding ATV

Tragedy to Friendship

A woman (the little girl's aunt) came to the door and told Jim that the mother and little girl were driving to visit the Rocky Mountains when they were struck and killed by a semi-trailer during heavy rain, about three weeks prior. The aunt told Jim that the mother had saved as much money as she could to take that girl on the trip. Jim left the house heartbroken.

"Justin, I don't know if the mother and I could have made it. But I could have been friends with them. I have a beautiful family and I have loved your mother and brothers and sisters dearly. But I have never forgotten about Tanya and her mother," Jim said on his deathbed.

Justin looked at me and said, "Dex, my father became a very successful businessman. We lived in California most of our lives but he bought this ranch in the Rockies because he found peace here. I brought my family here after my Dad died. We really love it here. He made me promise that every year on the anniversary of his death that I do something special for someone. He told me that if I am ever in a position to help someone, to just do it."

I was not able to move on my own accord.

Justin continued. "I was out walking this morning and thinking of my Dad when I heard this scream and saw you running. I went over to see what was happening and saw you stop and then go back and take pictures of that coyote. I followed as you walked to the Poudre River. Dude, you looked hungry and I know it is supposed to rain later this afternoon. I just knew that my Dad would want me to help you out!"

Shawna chimed in and said, "Every year since Jim died, we have traveled around the anniversary of his death so that we can keep his promise on the actual day. We have been to China, Ghana, France and other places. We decided to stay home this year. This breakfast is part of the anniversary celebration of his death and I am so glad that you are now a part of it."

I played with the kids, rode an ATV and enjoyed sitting and talking while the rains poured outside that evening. Yes, I spent the night. The next day, as Justin prepared to drive me back to my vehicle at the starting point of my amazing trip, I gave Shawna and her kids big hugs. I thanked them all and we embraced again as if we had known each other for years. Upon arriving at my vehicle, I thanked Justin and told him that he had a remarkable family. He told me that he had a remarkable father. He said that as a result of his death, he had met some wonderful friends over the last seven years.

"Hey," I said. "What if I didn't take your offer to come over to your house for breakfast?"

"I put my faith and trust in God. A good spirit speaks to another good spirit," Justin remarked.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

An Amazing Trip

I had so much to think about during my drive back to Chicago. Certainly, my encounters with the cows, deer and the coyote. And of course, falling down, running out of toilet paper and food. More importantly, I found that there still are really good people around and that a friend is just a "hello" away.

When I got back into cell phone coverage, I called my wife to let her know I was fine. I then called that friend, as you may recall from Part 1, who joked about me being the same color as the deer and to watch out because I might become the venison during my trip. I told him that I had some trying times during my trip, but that I really learned some life lessons. Humor, courage, perseverance and trust got me through.

It has been almost two months since I completed my trip and I have kept in touch with Justin and Shawna regularly. It is really amazing how we are connected. A little girl had a profound effect upon a young man. A son keeps a promise to a father. A family opens its home to a stranger. Life is an amazing trip. We come into this world alone. But life is so much more worthwhile when we can share our good times and lean on others during the bad times. While I may have started this trip alone, I had some help along the way. An amazing trip is out there for you as well, if you haven't experienced it yet. And you know what is so great about it? You may start out alone, but if you open your heart and have faith and trust, and sprinkle in some humor and perseverance, you won't have to go through it alone.

Copyright 2011 - Dexter Yarbrough

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Comments 42 comments

Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

Wow! What an amazing turn of events. I sure am glad that man gave you some food! I wish I was there to experience the Rockies, sounds like a beautiful place and wonderful experience...except for running from a wait..there was nothing chasing you, I

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Cardisa! I am so glad you tuned in! Yeah, it was an amazing turn of events. I learned so much! Even from the cows! lol

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

This is more than just a hub about a Rocky Mountain trip, Dex. You have also written about kindness, caring and the compassion of strangers. And even included the Danica/Donald story. Humorous for the reader but maybe not so for your friend. Thanks for the read - I enjoyed it.

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 5 years ago from Tucson, Az.


What a beautiful story dude. Extremely well written too. I'm really impressed my friend. thank you.


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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Drbj!Thank you so much. This trip had a profound effect upon my life. Thanks for realizing it.

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Jim! Thank you so much. Your kind words mean the world to me!

WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent! Was that you on the ATV?

annamg717 profile image

annamg717 5 years ago from lubbock, tx


iZeko profile image

iZeko 5 years ago

You can't ask for a better ending of your trip than that. Great story! And the “James” part was so much fun ;-)) You are a fantastic writer!

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Dex, I am speechless and profoundly moved by your story. Your journey was amazing and I thank you for making me a part of it. I laughed, I cried, I laughed again and then I smiled. Up across the board!!!

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Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Wow, Dex. What a story! Amazing how friendships begin, isn't it? I hope that this one will last a lifetime...and just think, next time you're in the Rockies, you might not need to worry about running out of toilet paper!

Awesome and beautiful, my friend!

Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Dexter, as always, I enjoyed your humor and candidness in your hub. However, I only have one question in reference to your friend's mouthwash. Are you sure it was Lavoris mouthwash and not Labor-ious mouthwash? I'm sure he did a whole lot of smooching while going out with Donica/Donald.

Well, I have to say you had a lot of guts getting into a stranger's vehicle in the middle of nowhere where only the cows and the coyotes' can hear you scream, but I'm glad to hear that your experience was a good one.

Thanks for sharing with your readers; I really enjoyed following your adventure.

Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

WELL Dexter as always you have succeeded in entertaining me from start to finish. I had a good little chuckle at the Danica/Donald episode, your wit and humour certainly shone through in this one and it was a great conclusion to your exciting adventure. Well done, you!

Voted up/awesome


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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Will! Thanks for the comment! No, I wasn't riding that time!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Annamg717! Thanks for checking it out!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi iZeko! Thank you so much. I had a great time. I really appreciate your kind comments!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Pop! Thank you so much. I had a great time and made some wonderful friends. It was a touching time for me. Thanks so much for your wonderful remarks!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Mo! I just love your sense of humor. This friendship will certainly last a lifetime. And you are right about the toilet paper! lol

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Faithful Daughter! You are hilarious! Yeah, it was Lavoris. He was really embarrassed. He wouldn't go out on dates for awhile!

I am glad you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Thank you so much!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Cloverleaf! Thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed and I appreciate you reading from beginning to end! I appreciate you very much!

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Ghost32 5 years ago

Aw-w-w-w...poor Danica! (Yeah, I mean that. One of my best friends is a crossdressing pre-op transgender. It ain't easy being Queen.)

As for the rest of it: Up and across.

The "funny" vote is for Justin having witnessed you doing your coyote-screaming. :)

I'll read this one to Pam, someday when she's having a good one and can hang here in the office long enough to hear it--and I know full well it'll be one of those that choke me up reading it aloud.

May the blessings be.

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Ghost! Surprisingly, I never heard from Danica/Donald again. I guess it ain't easy being a queen! Yeah, Justin does a good imitation of it. I'm not as amused :-)

Thanks so much, Ghost. I pray that Pam gets a chance to hear it from you.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

I didn't read this because i havn't read the beginning, but i watched the video of Ray Charles and Geraldine and i'm still laughing, Oh how i miss them. Thank you, i'm off to read chapter one.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Dex, I have been looking forward to reading 'the conclusion' you didn't disappoint!

It has everything, humour, sadness, compassion, what an adventure!

Loved it Dex, voting up and everything.

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

I hope you enjoy reading about my adventure, Always Exploring. Ray Charles and Geraldine were really funny!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Movie Master! Thank you so much. I am thrilled that you enjoyed reading about my amazing trip!

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Ghost32 5 years ago

Dex, I just read this to Pam. Her words: "Unbelievable. This is my kind of read, and I'm nitpicky. I like touching true stories where people are loving each other instead of hating. Thank you thank you for writing this. It was inspirational."

Back to me: It's extremely rare for my wife to comment on a Hub (other than her husband's--a bit of understandable bias there). She was flowing and glowing as I was typing her words.

You (and Justin and Shawna and Jim and Tanya) done good.

In a very real sense, I relate most to Jim, "sort of" having "my own Tanya" in my life. Which means I'd best go write a Hub about it. Now.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Ghost! You and Pam both have made my month! I am so glad she was inspired by my adventure. I am thrilled that it touched Pam the way it did. Wow!

I look forward to reading about your "Tanya." Thanks so much!

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Sueswan 5 years ago

Hi Dexter,

I can't find the words to express how much your experiences touched my heart.

Voted up, up and away!

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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sueswan! Wow! I am thrilled that you enjoyed my amazing trip. Thank you so much!

CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Dexter, I enjoyed this so much, it was amazing and humorous...what more can you offer from a hub? You have a way with words that keep it fun and interesting.

and what a trip! Thanks for sharing!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, CMerritt! It was an amazing trip and I had a great experience. Thanks for your kind words!

always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

This was so good Dexter. I'm glad you wrote about it. You show us that there are good people out there, we just gotta be willing to give and share our love. Not only did you meet good people, you had fun.. Thank you for sharing your trip.....

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

What a great hub Dexter, I am bookmarking this one into My 'Armchair travelling 'slots.

Plus a vote up,your obvious hard work has definitly paid off here.

Take care


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Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks so much, Eiddwen! It was a really fantastic trip. Thanks, again!

feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Hello, Dexter,

I hated to see this story come to an end. It is very entertaining.

And so far as your friend's experience with "Danica," that's part of modern life in the big city. I mean, like, things have gotten so bad, a guy would be well advised to take any new female he meets to the closest airport so she can pass through one of those x-ray scanning machines.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Hi Feenix and thanks! Yeah, I know. I have seen many beautiful women, later to be told that it was a man! Whew!

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

Sunshine is speechless and in awe at the this moment. That's a rare occurence. Kudos to you Dexter. Thank you for sharing and again glad you made it home safely. Wonderful memories!

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks Sunshine! Not only was it an amazing journey for me, but very inspiring. Thanks so much for your wonderful comments!

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

What a great ending! Talk about remarkable people! That story had my tears watering. You are a master storteller my friend.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Billybuc! But I get my inspiration from people like you.

empire mike profile image

empire mike 4 years ago from empire, colorado

dex, i read your interview with maria last night, along with mine. your interviews with obama intrigued me, so i had to come check out your humor. got sidetracked reading your amazing trip series because i live in colorado- i totally enjoyed every word and picture of your travels and your heartwarming stories. you've already won me as a fan. still need to go read the mornings. by the way, the cache la poudre river, has the nickname up here "catch the poodle."- a worthless but funny piece of info. if you ever have the urge to come back to colorado, give me a holler. good to get to know you...mike

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