"Where are you going this summer?" This is probably the most asked question we get. Now that people know we road trip, they all want to know destinations.
"Um...let's see...Utah, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon...."
"And you're driving?"
"Oh good lord, no. I'm not a camping girl," It's true. I'm not. When it comes to the camping gene, that obviously skipped me. I suppose if you have three kids camping would be the cheaper alternative, but with one kid, we can manage. I need showers and a bed, thank you very much.
"...but...driving? Isn't that...like...far?"
Yes. This year we broke our record and went 9200 kms. Actually we all agreed that it was too much driving and next year we won't go nearly as far-probably spend our time in Utah and maybe southern Colorado, at most.
People don't understand why we drive. Don't we get bored? Isn't it work? Well, sometimes. The reality is that you see so much more of America if you drive that you don't see in planes, and seeing a country isn't about seeing the polished, pretty, touristy parts. It's about seeing the ramshackle stores in the middle of nowhere, the old guys sipping lemonade on their front porches, the rolling fields of wheat, and the cows on the road.
Now THAT is America.
One of our more memorable days of driving took us from Roswell, New Mexico through Arizona and into Las Vegas, Nevada. It wasn't just driving, it was a bit of an adventure. Read ahead and see for yourself. Want some pictures? Check out my Flickr photo stream.
-up and ready to roll-God, this getting up at 5 am is getting old
-Ooo...the road from Hondo, New Mexico to Carrizozo is pretty. Mountains, lush forest...I didn't think it would look like that here. I was expecting flat, desolate, desert.
-Hey! This town of Lincoln looks cool! And there's a state monument even! Too bad we didn't see it earlier. Maybe we'll stop for coffee.
-okay, getting hungry. We're near Socorro. We see a blue sign that says a McDonalds is around here....pull off highway.
-What? It's closed for renovations. We're annoyed and have to pee. Um...Burger King?
-Jake is a bit put off that his French toast bites are actually deep fried. We're tired of deep friend food. "They taste like donuts," he says.
-hey, there's the Very Large Array from the movie "Contact"! How about a visit to the visitor's center?
-move over, cows-coming through
-take pictures, wander museum and outside path. Note sign that says watch for snakes and don't take eyes off of path lest some crazy reptile chases me.
-yes lady, I'm sure it's not often you get a kid with such an interest in science and you'd love to lecture him on quantum physics, but we really need to go.
-Hubs drives while Jake and I sleep.
-Hey! We're in Arizona! It's...um...HOT.
-Sing loudly (and badly) to new Carrie Underwood CD. Find out that Hubs would love to see her in concert. Look at him in shock (the man is not into music so this is quite profound)
-drive through Petrified Forest National Park. Those trees look weird.
-recognize where we are when we hit Flagstaff. Finally! Something familiar!
-scope out hotels that are better then what we had last time and threaten to take Jake to a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
-Hmm. Dark clouds in the distance. Maybe it'll rain?
-wave at the Grand Canyon, folks!
-I start reading a novel.
-Jake, you're killing me. We just stopped to pee 15 minutes ago and you have to go AGAIN?
-Take next exit. Jake considers peeing in a coffee cup, it's that urgent.
-Stop at gas station. What's going on? This place is so busy! Omg, look at the price of GAS! ($4.89/gallon)
-Hey, the sign says this place is the birth of route 66. No wonder there's so many souvenirs and stuff. Get some Snickers bars for sustanance.
-Do I hear thunder?
-get back on the freeway. WOW! Did you see that lightening?!?
-MONSTER thunderstorm. Sometimes Hubs can hardly see the road and is concentrating hard...Jake and I watch the lightening show.
-Jake falls asleep. I continue reading novel.
-Storm is really nasty. We finally come out of it and breathe a sign of relief.
-Grab the map, we're entering the border of Arizona/Nevada and Hubs needs a navigator.
-The map isn't very clear. Where the heck do we go?!?
-Holy crap, look at the temperature!! It's 46 C (that's 114.8 F)!!
-Look at all the people jet skiing, suntanning, the palm trees and casinos. Looks like fun! Too bad they aren't paying attention to the monster storm coming their way.
-Umm...lost. Where the hell is the highway? Stop and consult map.
-climbing...climbing....geez this is a lot of mountains.
-Hey, there's that solar powered thing we saw on Daily Planet!
-This is the part of the drive I hate. The last 100 miles take FOREVER.
-follow the power lines, they're all going to Vegas
-stop for gas. Omg, it's like a sauna outside.
-where's the hotel? Stop again and am shocked when gas jockey actually knows. First time ever.
-curse the massive amounts of traffic, but find the hotel.
-Ahhhh.....soft bed, Mimi's Cafe for dinner....
-hear on the news that the monster storm tore through the town with the bikini clad jet skiers and caused some damage.
-Next day it's off to Reno. (yawn)
(This post was inspired by She-Ra's Road Tales over at her blog.)