My freshman year of college, my family and I went on a cruise where I learned that my brother kept a travel journal. I’ve always loved traveling so I figured I would try it out as well. Since then, I’ve always been incredibly diligent to fill it out remarking on events as insignificant as what snacks I grabbed at a gas station. When I’m 80 and forgetful, I’m convinced I’ll appreciate the attention to detail. For now, though, my journal could put a hyperactive child to sleep.
Despite my general diligence, Evan and I have been so busy the past few weeks that the furthest I’ve gotten in my journal is Mendocino way back during our first week of the trip. This also means that I’ve had next to no time to write anything for the blog. Rather than bore you with every little detail like my journal tends to suffer from, I’ll just quickly update you on what we’ve been up to the past few weeks.
After leaving Portland, Pierre, Evan, and I went to Seattle for a day and then Pierre flew home. Evan and I then drove to Missoula, MT followed by two nights of camping in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. To break up a fourteen hour drive, we made pit stops the next day at Mount Rushmore and Badlands before finally settling in Mitchell, SD where the most exciting thing to see is the Corn Palace and a drug store called Wall Drug. Next we landed in Omaha and Iowa for my Papa’s 90th birthday followed by a short road trip to Dubuque with my parents to see where my mom grew up. Next we headed to Chicago and Scranton, PA, finally landing in Brooklyn to stay with my cousins. Now we’re on our way to D.C to see some more family and a friend who live in the area. And of course hang out with Obama.
Okay, now for a few highlights.
ON small gems. When we booked a hotel for Missoula, neither one of us expected much. We had never heard of the area but needed somewhere to stay to break up the otherwise twelve hour drive. When we got to the hotel, the attendant was fairly reluctant to get up and help us check in. Once he finally came over and saw our IDs, he became very wide-eyed and excited. It turned out he had lived in San Francisco for years and really loved California. Suddenly he was full of helpful advice as to what we should do and where we should go. We took up his advice for dinner and headed to a nearby brewery whose serving sizes were comparable to the “big sky” of Montana. We both made it through a quarter of our meal only to realize that we could feed a small village with what we had left. However, at $8 a plate it was hard to be disappointed with wasting so much food and we left incredibly satisfied and wishing we had a little more time to explore this cool little college town and all it’s great breweries and restaurants.
ON camping. My favorite part of camping is the isolation. I can imagine nothing better than not seeing another person or having a cell signal. This camping mentality did not gel well with the throngs of RVs going through Yellowstone. What should have been a thirty minute drive through the park quickly turned into an hour as we slowed for every group of cars stopped in the middle of the road to stare at a group of elk. Once we finally set up camp, we decided to walk around a hot spring trail where one could mostly find large groups of tourists suffering from volume control ailments. We packed up quickly the next day and headed to the Grand Tetons. There we found exactly what we wanted. Our campsite was relatively full, but a short walk down the road led us to a lake surrounded by private access points. After four hours of lounging around and reading in front of snow-capped mountains, Evan and I felt pretty refreshed and ready to take on the next day’s fourteen hour drive.
ON drunk city people. There is something so enticing about New York that makes me love it so much even when faced with impatient locals and overcrowded streets. It’s such a great city that I can’t help but be in love with it. Evan had never been before so we made the last minute decision to go. While there we did the usual tourist traps, tried to get use to the subway system, and had some of the best food we’ve had all trip. We even got the chance to catch up with a previous employer of mine who took us to our first Ramen experience which ended up being my favorite meal the whole time we were in New York.
One other reason I love New York is for the people watching. There are so many interesting people walking around it’s nearly impossible to go home each day without having seen something odd. Our last night in the city, my cousin took us to the Philharmonic concert in the park. Even with the large police presence, my cousin insisted it was perfectly acceptable to drink in the park. I always thought these lack of rules on really applied in Isla Vista, but it was a nice at-home comfort to drink some wine in a classy red cup in the middle of a park without too much stress of getting caught. As we were walking out, Evan commented on two girls in front of us suffering either from an inability to walk in heels or a high volume of alcohol. As they stumbled in front of us they came across an officer and felt inclined to talk with him. “Haf yov ben standin here alllllllllll night?” They asked. The officer laughed a little and said that he had, to which one of the girls asked if he wanted some entertainment. It must be hard to turn down such an offer from two attractive girls, so the officer said yes. The girls proceeded to shout their old sorority song to him, a form of entertainment he seemed to immediately regret having asked for. Displeased with his lack of enthusiasm for their coherent singing, the girls stumbled off reassuring one another of their ability to turn heads, but maybe not always for the right reasons.
As always let us know if you have any ideas of what we should see or where we should go! We’re heading to Asheville tomorrow followed by Nashville and New Orleans but we’re open to any suggestions!