This will be the fifth of seven Watershed Moments in my life. These are some of the most important moments in my life but not all of them. And they are not in any particular order except for the last one I talk about that will be posted on Sunday. After thinking about these moments for years, the one for Sunday is the one I keep coming to for being the most pivotal moment in how I became….well, me.

Now, my first travel experience and walkabout solo. Well, mostly.


Scared and excited. Those two words are the best words to describe my first foray far from home by myself.

I had friends (some I still have, some I don’t, I suppose) that lived (and still do) in Utah. They invited me out and after much planning and saving (and borrowing), I did. I booked a plane flight, to and from, all by myself. I reserved a rental car (with the help of my dad’s credit card, which I paid him for) all by myself.

The day came, I got a ride with a couple of my friends to the airport, waved goodbye and found my gate after security.

Soon I was on my very first plane ride. I made sure to secure a window seat and I watched in awe as the plane taxied to the runway and grinned like a fool when the g-forces took over as the plane hurtled down the tarmac and lifted into the air.

After landing in St. Louis, I found that my connecting flight was canceled due to bad thunderstorms in Atlanta. So, I had to RUN to the end side of the airport to get onto another plane that was going to Denver, THEN on the Salt Lake City.

Was I scared? You betcha.

But I made it. Then when I landed in Denver, it was nearly forty degrees. I shivered as I waited for the next flight that would take me to SLC.

I finally got there and was met there by my friend Laura (whom I’m still great friends with) and Eric (I have no idea what happened to him). But the one thing that wasn’t waiting for me was my luggage. It wouldn’t be there for another four or five more hours.

Long story short, I survived. I hiked mountains where there was still snow as I walked in a t-shirt and shorts. I walked in the heat of the desert near Moab on a side trip my friend, Matt, and I made south to see Four Corners. On the way back up, I pulled over the side of the road in the desert south of Blanding, Utah and watched a perfectly clear sky to my left and a storm coming in on my right. Calmness and turmoil sharing the Heavens. That was also a Watershed Moment inside a Watershed Moment. You and I got two for one.

I had even walked the streets of Salt Lake City, taking pictures, visiting stores, and seeing the sights with a backpack on. All by myself.

Then I came home with stories to tell.
MY stories.

So, if you ever get the chance to travel alone, do it. Fear be damned.

-Loyd Elmore Jr.
November 9th, 2018


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