Three weeks ago (suspended disbelief: I wrote this blog the day we got back), two friends and I stuffed some bags with clothes, tossed in a load of camping equipment, and packed two metric tons of food inside our minivan. Since then, we’ve traveled from one coast to the other, and back again. My oh my.
You’ve read our adventures and experienced with us the highs and lows, the near-death moments and instances where we felt like we brushed the fringe of heaven. The stories abounded. The memories will last the rest of our lives.
So how has this enormous undertaking served our lives? How am I different? What have I learned? I’ve compiled a list of just such things:
~ Iced tea apparently doesn’t go stale if it’s not refrigerated, no matter how long it sits in the car
~ Paying to enter national parks can be optional
~ There actually comes a point when granola bars aren’t appetizing anymore, at all, not even a little
~ If you encounter a sign at Zion National Park that says “steep and not for people with fear of heights,” its not kidding
~ Showering daily is a luxury, like owning a GPS, sleeping in a bed, eating square meals, and having electricity
~ Every state in this country has something beautiful about it, some places more so than others (except for Kansas because it’s got nothing…let’s sell it to Mexico and get out of this economic downturn)
That about does it for lessons. I have plenty more tidbits but I think that you might not be so entertained by the rest of my epiphanies. But I do have other big news for you. Can I get a drumroll, please. Seriously, for dramatic effect I would really appreciate you drumming your pen, pencil, spoon, carrot stick, french fry, thermometer, or whatever your holding. (I’ll even accept fingernail-tapping.)
The final count for pullovers is…………….36. Thank you Police Officer for patrolling our nation’s roadways and keeping our country protected and traveling within the prescribed bounds of speed. Thank you as well Mr. Speed Limit Violator for keeping those officers busy so that we were able to pick up were you left off.
The final count for road kill is……………….105. What a slaughterfest! Some interstates resembled how I’ve always envisioned ancient Jewish animal sacrifice customs. I could go more in-depth about the blood, sinews, bone, and skin and how they smeared the streets in splatters of dull red and chunks of furry brown, but I’ve decided to avoid that topic entirely to cater to the soft stomachs of the world (in other words Derek). At least we didn’t add to the tally, unless you count that bird, but I’m still not even sure it died; I mean, I never heard a thud and just because I didn’t see it reemerge on the other side of the van doesn’t mean it couldn’t have.
Now let’s tackle the issue of the License Plate Challenge: sighting all 50 states’ plates in one road trip. So how many did we see? 40? 45? 50? With a note of sadness in my words I sit here and reveal that we only captured 49. Who was the delinquent? Hawaii? After all, it’s in the middle of the ocean. Alaska? A whole country sits between us and that state. Montana? They own horses there, not cars. The truth was that we saw all of these states. Not to mention plates from 5 Canadian provinces, a country in Europe, and a car from Back to the Future. Yet, in all of these sightings Rhode Island escaped us. I shake my fist at them and their lacking sense of tourism.
So where does this leave us? Well, now I’m living at home. Jobless. Without a car. Single. But I have a 100+k college education and a three-week road trip under my belt. I’ve got the world just where I want it to be!
Currently, Fox, TNT, and Sci-Fi are all ruthlessly fighting over the rights to our blog to make it into a series. I told them, though, that school has dibs and that I’m not interested in a show or movie about our trip. The offers haven’t stopped pouring in the mail to go on the sequel road trip, asking us to stop at certain places all over the states. We’ll see how that happens. Brett Faro released a comment to the syndicated press, “We went West this trip. Next time, Go West Young Men go East, Middle East.” Stay tuned for developments in the coming years.
Oil Change: $20
In-N-Out Burger Fries: not much
In-N-Out Burger Fries Animal Style: a lot more
Yellowstone/Zion/Grand Canyon Entrance Fees: $0 (suckers!!)
Roadtrip of a Lifetime: Priceless
There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Messiah grants!
Anything I write to bring this blog to a finish would feel trite. In these portions, I’ve offered snippets of wisdom from Coach John Wooden. I’ve written television themesong lyrics, homespun lessons, sarcastic remarks, Star Wars quotes, poems, movie lines, trivia questions, hopeful blurbs about tomorrow, Messiah shout outs, and more. I wanted to conclude all this hoopla with a smattering of funny, fascinating, and insightful quotes.
“Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf.” – Lewis Mumford
“The shortest distance between two points is under construction.” – Noelie Altito
“A driver is a king on a vinyl bucket-seat throne, changing direction with the turn of a wheel, changing the climate with a flick of the button, changing the music with the switch of a dial.” – Andrew H. Malcolm
“Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.” – Author Unknown
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.” – Dave Barry
Thank you all (so my mom and the people she told) for taking the time to read the blog. Thanks for your comments and prayers. May you all find adventures of your own whether driving down the road in a car, raising a herd of children, working at the office, or sitting at home with a well-worn book. It’s a big, beautiful world. Enjoy it everyday!
- JD and the boys