Sunday, June 10, 2012

One Car, Five People, Twenty States, Two Months

(Or as I like to call it, "Operation: Road Trip")

It's hot here in Colorado, but we keep getting freak rainstorms that quickly flood the highway and turn my backyard into a river.  This past week, we were locked inside two days in a row because of a tornado.  It brought enough hail to cover the roads in a couple inches of ice.  It was cold and stormy and felt like the middle of April instead of the middle of June.  Then the next day it was ninety-one.  So I've decided it's time for a road trip!

(The tornado pictured is not one of the ones that struck us over the last few days.  I just happen to think it's a cool picture!)

The Participants:
My husband, our two children, my best friend.  And me, of course!

The Goal:
To see as many places in the United States as we can squeeze in over the next two months.

The Plan:
We'll drive through Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  We'll stop to camp in about half the states, and stay at least a week in a few of them.

The Equipment:
Aside from normal camping gear, I don't need much.  My Kindle, my phone and a journal.  I guess it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring a few toys to keep the kids entertained on the long trip.

The Sights:
We're hitting up Lincoln's birthplace, Mammoth Caves, Lost River Caves, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, the Mall of America, Mt. Rushmore, Devil's Tower, Old Faithful, the Olympic National Forest (and yes...Forks), Crater Lake, the Golden Gate Bridge, Big Sur, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, and finally the Cliff Palace of Mesa Verde.
What's wrong with me?  I blame the tornadoes.  I think they showed up to ruin my summer fun.  No?  Oh, fine.  I blame writing, too.  I am inspired by new people, new events, and (especially) new places.  I set most of my stories in the real world, and I love it when I can describe something from memory, rather than an image I found while scrounging through Google's search results.  (Sorry, Google, I love you!)  It's what drives me to explore a cave by boat, or find castles in Ohio, or hike over fifty-foot rocks to see the beach.  And yes, it's what pushes me to sit in the car for nine hours each day, staring at the road in front of me, wondering when we're going to arrive.  It might sound crazy, but it's an adventure.

I'm sure I'll be posting pictures and talking about how amazingly hot and/or humid it is in the coming weeks.  I'm not used to the humidity, and I'm going to miss my air conditioner, but I think we'll survive.  In the meantime, what kind of summer adventure are you going to have?


  1. Tricia, that sounds amazing! I love road trips. I've lived in five states, and managed to cross the country four and a half times (the half being a drive from Florida to Massachusetts). Crater Lake is amazing. Highway 1 through Big Sur is my favorite drive in the country.

    If you need any recommendations on where to stop or what highways are terrible, let me know your route and I'll see what I can dredge up from memory! (For example: if you take the 101 south from San Francisco to the 156 west toward Monterey, there are dozens of stands with amazing fruit and berries and other produce. Castroville, along that route, is the artichoke capital of the U.S.).

    1. I will make sure to drive Highway 1, and I love the produce in California. I miss the strawberry stands that used to pop up in the summer. I'll make a special trip down 156 west. Thank you!

  2. Sounds like an awesome adventure. I'm sure it will be one your family will always remember. :)

    I definitely don't have the energy for a trip like that. At least not until my kids are older. I can't make it through a shopping trip without having to find a bathroom for one of my girls little bladders. I don't think I can handle days of driving for eight hours with little girls who seem to have to go all the time.

    Good luck to you, and keep us posted. :)

    Just out of curiousity, are tornadoes common in Colorado, or is this a really unusual season? I never think of Colorado associated with tornadoes.

    1. I didn't used to think so, but since I've been here (11 years now) we seem to get them almost every year. It's really common out on the high plains, but it's starting to become more common down where I live, too.

  3. This sounds absolutely incredible! I hope you have a fantastic time, and I can't wait to read your blog posts.

  4. Good luck with it. I'm sure you'll make some amazing memories. When are you going to be in Utah? Email me, and maybe we can get together (with MaryAnn) and have lunch or something.

    1. Yes, please do. It would be awesome to meet up with you and Sheena. :)

    2. I'll only be in the southern part of the state, but I drive to California a lot and usually go right through Salt Lake. (I've got family in Provo, so I'm sure I'll be in that area later this year or early next year.) I'll make sure to email you if plans change (which they might) and we decide to take I-80 home from Monterey.

  5. How fun! I love South Dakota (went there every summer when I was a kid). My favorite spot is Crazy Horse, and the Badlands, oh, and Landstrom's Black Hills Gold jewelry factory (see it made!) - at least all that stuff was awesome 20 years ago.

    Email me, too, if you want info about the Olympic Nat'l Forst - dh will be hiking down the coast in a few weeks and has some great spots to visit - shipwrecks, petroglyphs, etc.

    Most of all, have an excellent adventure.

    1. That sounds excellent. I'm not headed up to Washington for another month, but before I'll be sure to email you. Thanks Susan!


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