So, those women who are great at writing during their road trips, and give tutorials on how to pack and tours of their cute refurbished Airstream….yeah, I’m not one of them. So, now that I’ve officially put 5,000 miles on the ole Jeep, and I’ve collected my thoughts and recovered thoroughly from what I call “Summer Round 1”, I can reflect on the drive.
All I can do is marvel at the diversity in landscape of our continent. We saw moose and bears and epic lakes and canyons, and then later I saw vast desert and intricate rock formations. This place is so huge, stretching so far! There was far too much to see and explore, and I see why people do take their motorhomes and make a summer of it. Maybe when I’m old. Who knows.
I guess we should start with Exhibit A, thank you to Kelly Lemon for the photo:
That’s her good side, and this is her…not so good side. Yes, I bought it that way. It ran just fine! d
So, if you’ll notice, the door doesn’t really work. At all, ever again, unless I pull the whole side of the car off, which is not going to happen. And the car is riding low because it was pretty full of everything I own. So, this means that my passenger–Mom–had to climb over the center console, maneuvering around the steering wheel and her knitting every time we stopped. For 9 days. Ahem. I know, I should give her a trophy. There were a few times where I was like “We’ll laugh about this later”, and she would respond with “I’m getting all limbered up for sure!”
I know there was much opportunity to stop and sight see through Canada. I kind of got a bit driving obsessed, particularly since we did have a time limit and the roads were a lot slower than I expected. Highlights though:
The Sign Post Forest in Watson Lake, Yukon Territory
Muncho Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia
No joke–there was a moment where I was going to get out of the car and take a photo, and then I saw a black bear just sitting on the side of the road. It was like the 10th one we had seen that morning, but it was enough to convince me to keep driving. So, I borrowed a photo to give reference-
Fraser Canyon in British Columbia–one of the longest canyon drives I’ve ever done, and it took my FULL concentration, but WOW was it gorgeous.
Astoria, Oregon, home of the Goonies! Oh, I was kicking myself later that we didn’t stop for longer there. It was CUTE. Mom and I agree that we crossed the longest bridge we had ever been on to get there. Confession: not much freaks me out, but driving over long bridges does. So, while Mom was delighted and taking photos, I was white-knuckling the steering wheel. Whatever, we’ve all got something.
The Avenue of Giants, Northern California.
Generally speaking, I fell in love, like ABSOLUTELY SMITTEN with the concept of driving almost solely on 2 lane highways. Between the Alcan and Highway 101, oh, be still my heart.
We did make it in one piece. One notable experience though– you’ll notice that the “window” on the passenger’s side of the car is actually a piece of plexiglass duct taped on. Well, duct tape is good for the Alaskan man, and for anyone who lives in a cold place. It does not, I repeat, does NOT survive desert heat. When we got below San Francisco, and it was about 100 degrees, that duct tape melted right off. For the last few hundred miles we got on the 5 freeway, just because 9 days in the car was enough and Mom’s dogs were desperate for her return, not to mention her husband. Anyway, we are just moseying along on I-5, minding our own business, when the window just about falls off because the duct tape gave out. We used the rest of the roll to tape it from the inside, and it barely hung on for the last 250 miles. Mom had a noisy ride, to put it lightly.
So, for the next 1,000 miles of my drive, California to Colorado, I decided to try a new route. All my life, I have driven between these two states; some of my earliest memories were California to Colorado drives, where my parents would drive all night in hopes that we would sleep through it. We always always always took I-15 to I-70 and that was that.
Well, with my new found love for smaller highways, I decided to try a new route. Plus, I HATE driving through Las Vegas. So, I went a little ways on I-40, got on Historic Route 66 through much of Arizona, detoured to go see the Grand Canyon, and eventually got on little Hwy 160, which led me through Four Corners, Cortez, Colorado, Durango, and the southern route into Buena Vista. OHMYGOSH, why am I 30 and just experiencing all that glory for the first time?? After living for 8 years in the blistering heat of the Palm Springs area, I’m not crazy about the desert by any means. This drive, however, felt like I was stepping into a significant part of American history, so I was willing to suffer for a few hours.
And so, I arrived in Colorado in one piece. I simply cannot believe that the Jeep made it without one single problem, minus the duct tape. Thank you for everyone who prayed for us during the trip.