Fourteen days, twelve states, and approximately 4,100 miles. Coast to Coast…what a fun voyage! There were so many things that I enjoyed about the overall voyage – a chance to see the diverse cultures within my own country, to challenge some of my perceptions, and to eat copious amounts of fried food…what more can you ask for?!
I looked at the trip as if it were a movie preview; it gave me a small taste of what it was all about and I could decide if I wanted to go back and see the whole thing sometime. With just two weeks time, you aren’t really able to get in depth into any one area. The trip helped me see an area, get familiar with the activities there, and take a mental note on how I would want to spend more time in the area in the future. One of the ‘previews’ that I loved was the Grand Canyon and all of the Utah National Parks. We actually were able to see many of the sites; however, we didn’t really get to experience them. I was longing to put on my hiking boots, backpack and get dirty and sweaty; or sign up for a week long rafting trip…but there was no time for that…it was just a preview. The full movie would have to be seen at a later date.
I feel lucky that I was able to do this trip with Kathleen, it provided us a chance to reconnect since we’ve both been out of the country for a long time. It’s not often that you get to spend 14 days with a friend in a car; thank God that we got along! Granted – we did have some fights – mainly over directions at a time when our blood sugar was low; but we persevered, got on the right track and made it to a Sonic burger diverting a full blown screaming argument!
Some of the most fun we had was going into gas stations and picking out junk food for the trip; items that we hadn’t eaten since we were teenagers. But if you’ve ever been on a road trip, then you understand the need to munch. We had a never ending array of munchies and bad food consisting of HoHo’s, beef jerkey, M&Ms, fruit pies, chips, cheetos, fig newtons, chex mix and fruit loops. This may be why our complexions were all of a sudden back to looking like a pimply 14 year old by the time we arrived in California.
The most expensive part of this trip was the cost of fuel – especially since we were driving an SUV. Since rising gas prices seem to always be in the news, I decided to conduct my own research. Every time we stopped for gas, I recorded our price so that we could determine the cheapest and the most expensive state for gas:
Washington DC – $3.53/gal
Virginia – $3.21/gal
West Virginia – $3.43/gal
Kentucky – $3.25/gal
Tennessee – $3.09/gal ****Cheapest!
Oklahoma – $3.25/gal
Texas – $3.29/gal
New Mexico – $3.35/gal
Arizona – $3.25/gal
Utah – $3.47/gal
Nevada – $3.59/gal
California – $3.99/gal *****Most Expensive!
You spend a lot of time looking out of windows when you are driving hundreds of miles a day. You have a lot of time to think while looking out those windows. I used this trip to make some big life decisions; decisions that I couldn’t seem to make while I was sitting in my apartment. Somehow, sitting in the car for hours provided me a change of scenery, and a chance to map out a plan for my near future. I saw many strange sites out the window, including 23 Walmarts. I also saw signs; some funny, some bewildering, and some that I used as ‘sign therapy’. They were the signs that actually put a few things in perspective on my path to making life decisions and prompted me to act.
Sign in Tennessee: “ You can’t plow a field just turning it over in your mind.”
Sign in Utah: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, then build a door.”
The one sign that we seemed to see most frequently was the road crossing signs. You know the ones, _(fill in the blank)_ Crossing – warning you of what may be crossing your path ahead. Up until now, I was very familiar with the Deer Crossing signs; however, this cross country journey opened my eyes beyond leaping deer in our path. We saw crossing signs for all kinds of animals: elk, cows, pigs, donkeys, steers, and even tractors. The things that actually did cross our path were only deer, cows, and dogs. However we both screamed when we were driving along a desolate highway in Utah and all of a sudden a huge vulture that was on the side of the road happily munching away at road kill was startled by our car. It started to fly away with the LARGE piece of road kill in it’s claws, The road kill was too heavy for it, and it dropped to the ground next to our car as we sped past. The vulture just about dropped it on our car! Luckily it was a failed bombing attempt!
Overall the trip was great. Sure, we were able to accomplish our goal; moving Kathleen’s car to the west coast; however it was much more than that. I was able to see places I’ve only heard about, and determine where I wanted to come back to. I was able to drive again (woohoo…it was fun being back behind the wheel)! I tried new foods, and gained a few pounds and pimples. I went to states that I had never visited before. I was able to spend time with a good friend, and I was able to make new friends. Finally, I was able to put my life in perspective again. These are the things that make a trip successful.