Road trips are on my mind this week and for good reason.
As the week peters on normally for me in San Francisco, a friend of mine has been making her way from Los Angeles back to her native East Coast. For good. I’m happy about all that awaits her there, but sad that our visits will be less regular now that our friendship is bicoastal again. She’s been sending photos and updates from the road, and so far, it sounds like quite the adventure.
At the same time my sister in New York is planning her permanent move to San Francisco this June. To get here her and her boyfriend will be road-tripping from NYC through Kansas City all the way out west until they arrive
at my door step, find parking in the city, and make their way upstairs to my door. The thought of them on a road trip makes me laugh because, like most New Yorkers, they haven’t owned or driven cars in years, except on occasion.
With all this road trip talk, I’ve been thinking about the ones I’ve taken (few) and the ones I want to do.
Standing out in the line of “ones I’ve taken” is our Grand Canyon trip last September. The part I didn’t tell you back then was that a few days before the trip, Jordan got an interview for the job he has now the same morning we were planning to get an early start on the road to the GC. For some crazy reason, we decided we’d still take the trip, so we packed the car two days before we left, and on Friday afternoon as Jordan interviewed in Seattle for the job in San Francisco, I drove to Las Vegas, where I picked him up from the airport at 7 p.m. Then, we started our drive to the Grand Canyon.
When we arrived at our campsite at a cool 1:30 a.m., Jordan pitched our tent in the 30-degree dark still wearing the suit he had on from his interview, and then we realized we forgot our air mattress, which would have been fine if we had brought sleeping bags instead of sheets and blankets. The next day Jordan’s hiking boot fell apart at the start of our first hike. The only thing we did right on the trip was bring coffee and a French press. That trip is one we look back on and agree that we were more sure about our relationship withstanding the tests of time after we endured it without calling it quits.
Which brings us to road trips I want to take. On the docket for road trips I dream about are many, but these ones stand out:
An indian summer Pacific Northwest road trip. I loved Seattle the only time I visited there, and I’m itching to get to Vancouver, so when Sunset magazine laid out the best lake vacations in the west last summer, I got the idea to take two weeks driving to lakeside campsites and West Coast cosmopolitan hotels alike. I’d make lake sandwiches using cities as bread and scenic hikes as the cheese. I’d see the great redwoods in Northern California, hit up Portland for some cruelty-free fun, swim in a lake, eat my way around Seattle, swim in a different lake, and then settle in Vancouver for a few days, before turning around. It’s an ambitious road trip, I know. Mostly it would take a lot of time, but it’s on my list.
The across the US road trip. I’ll have missed two opportunities to join friends in their cross-country drives by July of this year. If I get to the cross-country road trip one day, it might take me a while, because hitting Yellowstone, Moab, Austin, Mount Rushmore, Nashville and Kansas City in one trip doesn’t seem to make that much geographic sense.
A camper van road trip. While we were in Australia we saw Volkswagen-esque camper cans all over the place. Travelers would rent the transportation-accomodation duos and then make their way up or down the Australian coast, stopping wherever struck them. Can you get more liberated than that? If and when I get back to Australia, I’d love to see the places I missed via camper van.