When the time came for us to hit the road again after spending Christmas at home with our families, I set my alarm for 5:30am. I woke up before everyone else, smuggled the newly purchased diamond ring outside and began to search for a well-hidden, yet easily accessible place to hide a small black box in a 2-door Jeep Wrangler. I thought about the jack compartment, but contemplated how to maneuver it if we actually got a flat tire. With black duct tape I decided to secure the ring up under my seat—a stealth job James Bond would have been proud of.
Originally, the ring wasn’t intended to live under my seat for long. I had dreamt up a scenario where Eva and I would hike up to Taft Point in Yosemite National Park, an iconic view that would provide the perfect scene to snap the photo that would live on our bed stand or in some scrapbook forever. Before we arrived in Yosemite, a snowstorm made the road to Taft point inaccessible. I contemplated asking Eva to snowshoe up there with me, but the image of us passed out from exhuastion or lost in a snowstorm didn’t have the romantic zing I was looking for. I was bummed, and for the next several days began to formulate a backup plan during the one time I was actually alone—while sitting on the toilet. A train ride up in the PNW sounded cool, but was unpredictable. Colorado was a great option—we both have roots there and John Denver sings a lot of cool lyrics about the Rocky Mountains. Yes, Rocky Mountain National Park was the place. We even got a few suggestions from people we met along the way to check out beautiful Bear Lake. I now had the location narrowed down.
A few months later, June 16 rolls around and we enter Rocky Mountain. The first sign we see says “Bear Lake parking full”. Then we are met by hundreds of cyclists—a bike race is being held on Trail Ridge Road. So, we drive up to the high point of the road, well above 11,000 feet. I don’t know if it’s the altitude but something tells me my plan isn’t going so well. The park is packed, and it’s 2pm. My mind scrambling, I mention trying to make it to Hanging Lakes, a cool spot outside of Glenwood Springs we heard about from friends. Bam. Back in the car and cruising west. Saw a Moose.
A few hours later and we’re getting close and both hungry. We head into Glenwood to the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. After a beer and dinner Eva looks up and asks, “Do you still want to do the hike?” It’s one of those questions you clearly know where the person asking stands on the issue. “Yes, definitely”. By the time we make it to the trailhead it’s getting dark, which not only affects the light of the photo I plan on taking, but also the safety of the 1,000 ft hike up we’re about to embark on. I ask Eva if she wants to change out of her road t-shirt and shorts. I use the excuse that I want to take a photo for our website, and want to look nice. I may as well have asked her if she wanted to carry me up the mountain. After a lot of persuading, she agrees and we begin to trek up, passing many whom wisely started their hike earlier. At the top we are met with a view neither of us has seen before, and I couldn’t have asked for a better setting. Nobody is at the top (finally my timing pays off) and I begin to set up the tripod. A 10-second delay is the longest my camera allows me to prepare before I get down on one knee…
Obviously she said yes…..
So, were there any close calls during those four months? Times when Eva could have stumbled upon her diamond ring clutching the bottom of my seat? YES! A couple months ago we found a mouse living in the Jeep. Eva was going to “tear the Jeep apart until she found Chewy”. I lost a few pounds that hour. Also, she takes pride in the Jeep being clean, and therefore insisted on multiple occasions to vacuum under my seat. Yet the ring remained there, like it was in on the whole thing, vanishing like Frodo was putting it on right before she could discover it.
The whole thing reinforced in me not to get to caught up in the details of trying to make something perfect. It never goes how you think it will go, but if your heart is in it and you are down for the ride, it will turn out pretty great.