The last three years running, someone has arrived on my (figurative) doorstep to invite me along on a cross-continental road trip. Unexpectedly.
Two years ago, my friend, The Truculent Wonder called from a job in Colorado and informed me that she had more than enough room in her car for a best friend to tag along on her drive home. If a best friend showed up, it just might turn into an adventure akin to Gulliver’s or Odysseus’, and she would be okay with that.
I flew out to meet her and we drove from Denver to Los Angeles to Boston. We got lost in Arizona (because we had too much ice cream, if we’re being honest). We accidentally stayed out all night in Las Vegas. We walked the entire Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. We ate breakfast in Wal-mart parking lots, slept in a tent that looked a little drunken in its composure, dyed our hair in a friend’s bathroom, pulled over for every bird-brained bird-named body of water, and had dance parties at stop lights. When we got home, we were exhausted, and ready to do it all over again.
Last year, my uncle stopped by for dinner and told me he had room for a niece on his trip to Yellowstone National Park. In his opinion, road trips were three times as good with company as without.
I hopped in his hatchback, and we drove from Baltimore to Yellowstone and back, stopping at every national park in between. We also stopped at the National Bicycle Museum, the World’s Largest Ball of Sisal Twine, the World’s Largest Crane Statue, the World’s Largest Basket, and Mark Twain’s Boyhood home. We hiked for miles, and tried to decide how long it would take us to collect a rival amount of twine. When we came home again, I had a new tan, and we were both amazed at the breadth of our country’s national treasures.
This year, it was my brother’s turn, and there was enough room in the car to take three sisters.
We left home earlier this week, aiming for the head of the Oregon Trail, and moving west along it to Portland.
So far, our party status stands:
Me: GOOD AND SLEEPY
The wagon has not tipped. We have forded every river without incident. We still have our grandfather clock and butter churn, but had to leave our cast iron stove by the side of the road.
We won’t be home until the end of the month.
If you see us on the road, wish us luck. Sooner or later, we’re going to have to caulk the wagon and float.
But I like the roll of this open road.