Archive

Tag Archives: road trip

We woke up at 5 am to beat the traffic. We then ate our leftover Chipotle for breakfast. We said goodbye to Jamie’s cat. We hit the road with one thing on the brain: OREGON.

We drove and drove and drove. We got to the border, I had no clichéd song to play, only a deep feeling of happiness.

When we got to Eugene we were starving, so what was the first thing we ate in Oregon? Panda Express.

Then we hung out at my homegirl Meaghan’s house, exhausted and out of it but happy to be with a friend who I felt comfortable being exhausted and out of it around.

The comfort of shared silences = the feeling of home.

We had promised Lisa France, RECENT COLLEGE GRAD, a Greek food dinner date (what an awful obligation) and of course had a great, delicious time eating together like family.

We had tossed around the idea of staying the night in Eugene, but there was no way I could stay away. Home was too close. I wanted to be there.

We got in the car to finish the final 115 miles.

It was the fastest drive I have ever had between Eugene and Portland. 2 hours were nothing compared to 11 days.

And when we pulled off the highway exit 64 on Highway 26 lo and behold who do we pull up behind but my parents unmistakable with their vanity plate of “GG 25 .”

For the first time in my life I HONKED at someone. I flashed my lights. I did a little dance. I was home, I was home I WAS HOME.

Now, all that being said I have no idea what Alejandro felt. Was he nervous about seeing my parents again? Did he feel a rush of joy when we pulled into my drive way?

You better ask him because I was too busy trying to laugh and cry at the same time.

What I do know is that he was more than excited to plug-in his desktop computer and start working on his animation again.

So we were both ecstatic and overwhelmed with joy when we finally went to sleep in a place that we’d be staying for a while.

672 miles b-t-dubs.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

We wanted to leave early, so we did because we are boss. Also, we had traveled through so many time zones that our sleep schedules were weird and mysterious creatures.

Since GLaDOS was navigating I forgot to think about where we were going. Mainly that we’d have to go over a bridge at some point and pay a toll. By the time I did realize that fact it was too late to get cash.

We only had $4 in change and the toll was $6 so we go a nice fine in the mail a month later.

But this did no upset us because being back in a city made us very happy. And I’m not talking from this road trip through the wilderness but from living in teeny, tiny Savannah, Ga.

We explored San Fran a bit, did some hill driving, saw us some golden gate and ate some lunch.

Then we headed to Santa Clara where my friend Jamie was letting us stay in her apartment. “You’ll know my room by the international sex symbol on the door,” she said. Sure enough Sean Connery was there to greet us. Unfortunately we had missed seeing Jamie by a couple of days, but, her cat kept us company.

Also, there was internet and much rejoicing. (Fun fact: that is when I wrote this column.)

For dinner we met up with the super awesome fabulous SCAD GRAD Jessi Gilbert and her gentleman-caller at a Chipotle halfway between us. Proof:

Full and happy we joined Jamie’s cat in a prolonged nap. Unable to believe that by that time tomorrow we’d be in Oregon.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

Fortunately,  the only thing that tried to attack us in the middle of the night was a gang of kids with flashlights. We leisurely made breakfast and headed back into Yosemite.

This time we actually wanted to walk around a bit on the valley floor and decided on an easy paved loop up to Lower Yosemite Falls. It was probably not the best the park has to offer but, to be honest, weren’t in the mood for extreme hiking.

We then ate lunch up at tunnel point overlook. Highlights included were watching families with young uncooperative children try to get a good family photo and a kid puking in the parking lot. (I gave him a telepathic nod of solidarity though since I throw-up everywhere I go).

I did a watercolor sketch and tried to deflect the countless people approaching me. (For some reason you pull out a paint brush and everyone thinks it is an open invitation to talk).

At this point in the trip we were all hiked out, camped out, and in general really just wanted to get home. We went back to the campsite to hang loose.

Alejandro listened to music and drank beer. I ate about five S’mores and read my book.

Life was good.

I walked to the bathroom and saw a little tent themed like the vacuum cleaner from Teletubbies, life was even better.

The next day we were heading for San Francisco … I looked around for a flower to put in my hair.

The driving we did the day before gave us almost a full day in Yosemite. But first we got to our campsite and set up the tent. We were staying two nights so I thought it’d be nice to drive through the park and check out the sequoia grove on the other side.

We weren’t able to get reservations in time to camp inside the actual park like we did in the Grand Canyon so our KOA site was about a 30 minute drive from the entrance.

Yosemite is basically like the everything I’ve seen in the Northwest but on steroids. Worn out from Bright Angel we had no intention on doing a strenuous hike and decided to drive around the loop instead.

We sat in traffic for an hour.

The juxtaposition of idling cars and natural beauty was astounding. I turned my car off whenever we came to a dead stop in hopes of preventing too much damage.

Then we drove through winding, climbing forest, by large drop offs. It was beautiful but I was getting carsick driving.

Finally we reached the other end of the park and the Sequoia Grove. And here I think is an adequate time to tell you how convinced that Alejandro was that bears were going to attack us.

He had been worrying about this the whole trip and was upset that I did not purchase a bear bell in advance (why he couldn’t get one for himself, I don’t know).  But I have to admit he was right, we were in bear country.

I tried to convince him that bears are only attracted to food, which he responded with “yeah, we are food.”

The Giant Sequoia did what I could not: distract him from thoughts of bears.

We toured around them for a while and headed back to our campsite with the help of GLaDOS.

There is a certain point when you own a GPS that you wish you didn’t trust it to get you where you were going but you are so far lost in the middle of nowhere that you have to let it guide you.

The point for us was a gravel road supposedly on the way back to our campsite. The gravel road turned into the one-lane of “Triangle Rd” which a few miles later turned again into “Triangle Rd.”

An hour of trepidation in the dark finally led us back to a two-lane road and eventually our campsite.

We made curry in the dark, hoped the bears wouldn’t like the smell and went to bed.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

To my surprise I wasn’t that sore and was glad to leave the Grand Canyon. (My skin is still dry to this day.) We hit the road heading for California. Originally this we were going to stay at the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada. But the east-side access to Yosemite was still closed for the season so it was no longer on our way.

Instead we planned to get as close as we could to Yosemite National Park and stay in a random motel along the road.

When we reached the California border I did what any self-respecting road-tripper would do: played California by Phantom Planet. Loudly. And sang along with genuine joy.  All Alejandro could say was, “Really Anna?”

Obviously he doesn’t understand that my life is a movie and the overwhelming joy I felt from being so close to the west coast and in PST. Not even the endless Mojave desert could dampen my spirits.

But don’t let Alejandro’s lack of love for my clichéd antics fool you. Being in California please him for a number of reasons, but most importantly so he could try a burger from In-N-Out.

We decided to stop in Bakersfield to achieve this. By that time I had driven for a little under 9 hours and was pretty out of it, but Alejandro seemed to enjoy his burger.


Alejandro took over the wheel and we drove to somewhere near Fresno before deciding to find a motel.

Now some of you might be thinking, “Anna, why did you by-pass Las Vegas entirely?” Here are my reasons:

  1. Las Vegas is dirty. I’m not talking about the strippers, I mean the streets are filthy.
  2. I don’t like gambling.
  3. I  am not 21.
  4. Maybe we did and are secretly married?

So there you have it.

We were in a shady motel, I worried the car would be stolen. I had told the woman at the front desk there was only one of us so we wouldn’t be charged more. Alejandro was watching animal planet on the television. Exhausted, I fell asleep.

AW yeah, 617 miles baby.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

Waking as ice cubes once again, we decided to drive to the Bright Angel Trail head armed with water, salty snacks, sunscreen, lunch and layers.

They should really rename this elevation dropping, switch-backing trail into the canyon to Bright Angle Trail because it is steee … eeep, sorry I got out of breath just thinking about it.

People die on this trail every year because they simply just underestimate the trail, are unprepared and over-extend themselves. The park service strongly advises people to start hiking early and stop hiking between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. so you’re out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

And since the Grand Canyon is so X-treme not only are you supposed to drink a ton of water, but every time you drink you need to eat something salty. Basically you can either die of drinking too little or die of drinking too much and sweating out all your salt.

Despite the danger, we made it down to the 3 mile rest house intact and decided to rest until after 4. We ate our lunch while some very vicious outgoing squirrels attacked us. I got out my watercolors, Alejandro read some of his book and fell asleep. A terrifying friendly squirrel woke him up by jumping on his head.

We still had a long time to wait until 4 p.m. rolled around. And none of the other hikers were paying attention to the time. Even overnight campers with heavy gear were stopping for a few minutes and continuing up and down the trail.

So we made a rash decision: to hike back up before noon.

We soaked our shirts with water and hiked, slowly, up the canyon wall.  About a mile in, our clothes were dry again. We made it to the 1st rest house and ran into a lot of tourists that had woken up later than we did.

They were in flip-flops and tube tops. Some weren’t even carrying water.

The closer we got to the top the more unprepared hikers we ran into. One woman with a perfectly made-up face was wearing a mini skirt. I did not envy the park service that day.

Tried and hungry we reached the top. We feasted on victory bacon cheeseburgers and redemption cheesecake hoping we’d be able to move the next day.


(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)

We woke up feeling like dry ice, lips chapped and freezing.  After putting on every semi-warm item of clothing with us, we awkwardly suavely moved our tent from site 117 to 177.

We headed toward the rim. Was I excited to see this monument I had driven 1800+ miles to see? Yes, but, I was also incredible cold.

Could a vast abyss warm my soul?

WHATWHATWHATWHATWHAT.

In the words of Tina Fey parodying Sarah Palin, “you betacha.”

We spent the day viewing vista after vista on the Hermit’s Rest bus route. And gazing down at the hike I wanted to go on the next day: Bright Angel Trail, a switch-backing elevation changing beast.

Unprepared professional athletes have died overdoing it on this trail so we weren’t convinced if it was a good idea. But on the bus ride back from the sunset that night a couple in their 60s told us they had hiked it in their 20s and it was unforgettable. They told us not to miss it.

I usually don’t trust strangers, but, I really love hiking. I hoped me+them would convince Alejandro to go.

All that was left was the unbearable coldness of sleeping.

Hoods up, sleeping bags zipped and over our heads. We had no trouble waking up at 5 a.m. the next day to get ready for our hike because it is quite possible that our brains were just frozen and we never went to sleep.

Introducing Satellite View.

(Just in case you were beginning to get confused this is a very extended recap of the road trip Alejandro and I went on to get back to Oregon from Savannah, Ga. I made a few posts during the drive, but most of the time I was too busy/exhausted/without internet. We took 12 days to drive across the country starting June 3.)