Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Road Trip: The Best & Worst of It

We spent 33 days on the road, posed for pictures in front of 33 state signs, visited 44 cities, and drove over 11,000 miles! The adventures were endless and each day held something different. The horizons before us changed colors and shapes as desert turned to badlands and farms turned to cities. Every place was new; every day was new.

With all that newness came a lot of great discoveries and also some that I could probably have done without. Here are some of the best and worst of our days on the open road:

Best Meal: It's hard to decide considering all of the yummy eats we had around the country. One of my favorites was chili cheese fries at Ben's Chili Bowl in D.C. Oh, and the poutine in Montréal. Definitely the poutine. I still dream about it from time to time.

Worst Meal: Well, aside from the probably-sitting-there-all-day awful gas station burgers which don't really count, the worst was probably the chicken fried steak we ate in San Antonio. The place claimed to have the 'best chicken fried steak in town' and was a Man v. Food locale no less. Proof that not every Travel Channel endorsed restaurant has good food

Best Drive: Through Montana, hands down. The creeks, the trees, everything was beautiful. 

Worst Drive: The seemingly endless drive across Texas on a two lane highway at night. No street lights, no other cars, just the ridiculous occurrence of the bright lights game between you and the Mack trucks. 

Best Hotel: The Sand Castle Motel in Daytona Beach, FL. It was the sweetest little place ever and was just steps from the beach. And the beach was beautiful in an I-can't-stay-away-from-it kind of way. Staying there felt like being at home which was a much needed reprieve from such large quantities of road travel. I would trade the big, fancy hotels of Daytona for this little treasure any day. Plus the room was sans roaches. 

Worst Hotel: The one with the most roaches

Biggest Surprise: Striking gold! I never thought I'd pan for gold, or visit South Dakota for that matter, but I found some! Taking in the staggering faces of our forefathers at Mt. Rushmore was an added bonus.

Biggest Disappointment: Not getting to camp at Yosemite. Actually, no that was a relief, let's be real. If this road trip has taught me anything, it's that camping is not for me

Greatest Moment: Standing at the mercy of the Grand Canyon, almost at the edge of life. It was one of those moments you stop in awe of the wonders of this world.

Strangest Moment: Being blocked by four very large Bison in the pitch-black darkness of night while driving into Yellowstone. The only thing crazier would have been actually seeing Yogi Bear.

Coolest City: N'awlins! I don't think you can narrow it down to one thing that makes this city so cool. It just is. You can't beat the music, can't beat the food, and can't beat the madness that is Bourbon Street (even when it isn't Mardi Gras!)

Weirdest City: Roswell. I think they have over-capitalized on the whole alien thing. Or maybe aliens really do live there and have run out all the humans...which would explain the eerie and deserted feel of the place... 

Favorite Thing: The freedom of the road. Forging my own path and discovering the undiscovered that lay before me. There is something truly exhilarating about waking up to something new each day. 

Least Favorite Thing: The price I paid for all of that freedom. I have never been more exhausted  in my entire life.

Thing I'll Never Forget: The hospitality of all the friends and family that took us in and fed us along our journey. They brought us back to life before sending us back to our unlimited adventures. It was the kind of kindness that is not easily forgotten. 

Things I'd Like to Forget: The 90+ gas station restrooms that I was forced to use.

We visited 30 U.S. National Historical Landmarks, ate at 54 restaurants and slept in 15 different beds. It was wild, crazy, and fantastic, but when it was time to go home, I was ready. 

And home never felt so sweet.

I posted a whopping total of 8 blogs while actually on the road, but I'll blame infrequent wifi and exhaustion for my lack of productivity. It has officially taken me 5 1/2 months to blog about 33 days of travel, but the adventure has finally come to an end. My days on the road are over for now, but only to be replaced by air travel, because the travel must go on.

Besides, how long can a travel bug sufferer really stay home before the itch becomes slightly unbearable...?


rose said...

What a great recap!
And don't worry about the posts... I still write about travel I made two years ago. ;)

I'm glad you remember the poutine. You're welcome to come and eat it anytime. :)

Ms. Chan said...

Your trip sounds so memorable and fun!

Tara Donaldson said...

Thank you Marie! I guess we always have to revisit old travels to write about. I must come back for some poutine!

Ashley said...

I loved reading your post. It takes me back to my cross country trip (Boston to LA), on the open road for 20 days, seeing and doing all that we could. The most memorable part of our trip was camping; pitching our tent in darkness only to wake up to the most beautiful scenery!

happy travels!

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