One month ago, on the verge of a huge transition, I packed up our humble little Rav4 with the last of my belongings that made it past the goodwill piles and the u-Haul load and picked up three of the finest gals I know to begin a cross-country road trip. Their husbands came prepared with coffee and donuts and patiently snapped photos and offered last minute driving advice and before we took off. On an adventure we were calling the #bestworstroadtrip.
We have the kind of friendships that are made from adventures - big and small - so it took a few states before the reality of the situation sunk in (four leaving and only three would return, though that sounds a little dark…). We powered through the first 5 states without much fan-fare (no offense Midwest), but a healthy stock of magazines, trail mix, 90's tunes and an evening cookout at a friends' house in St. Louis kept us going. Texas offered our first real landscape change and the variety continued through New Mexico, Arizona and into California where we intentionally added some extra time to take it all in. Though the later proved more visually exciting, we made our own party along the way as we stopped to take video of ourselves dancing in each state. While wearing gold animal masks. Because what else would you do for 36 hours in a car?
It's a humbling thing to realize you have the kind of pals who would give up vacation days and flight points to drive you to your new home 2,238 miles away (after, mind you, they've helped pack and load your stuff, clean your apartment and babysit your kid). And then a very sad thing when you realize, really realize, that you'll soon be separated from those pals by those miles.
Needless to say we cried hard. (But laughed harder.) The minute I'd start breathing irregularly or cursing heavily or sweating profusely, one of them would calmly start massaging my head with that magical 20-finger scalp massager (you know what I'm talking about #instarelax), and we'd power on. Having these strong, wonderful women to gently remind me of truth along the way and physically accompany me through such a big transition is something I will never take for granted.
The first time we slowed down was to explore The Petrified Forest + Painted Desert National Park which was probably our favorite stop of the trip. So vast and so gloriously unlike anything we'd ever seen.
Our favorite overnight spot was the colorful Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. We had a delicious late night tacos at the restaurant before literally crashing into bed and enjoying a leisure poolside-morning. No one wanted to leave but we had a date with the sea that evening.
Our only collective grumpy moment was upon finally entering Joshua Tree and realizing we probably should have a full tank of gas… and then backtracking to get that gas at the only station 30 miles away, along with every other individual within a 100 mile radius… but alas we decided not to let it ruin our adventure and immediately began the search for wildlife. Which Reika "Eagle-Eyes" Kadlec spotted immediately. #rams
We also highly recommend driving South to North through Joshua Tree as the landscape just got better and better. So colorful and so otherworldly - again, we could have stayed all day.
It seemed only fitting that our cross-country journey end at the edge of the continent, so we followed good ol' Route 66 right to the Santa Monica Pier. And danced one more time.
It was a magnificent success and an experience that will always be dear to my heart. I've wanted to drive across the country for years now and I can't imagine a better way to do it. I'm so grateful for the countless ways these ladies and the rest of our Ohio community loved on us, fed us, prayed for us and encouraged us in these months of transition and during this crazy adventure. And can't wait to see what the future holds for each one of us (#hurryupandfollowuswest)…. I love you dearly.
states | 9
miles | 2,458
polaroids | 45
rolls of film | 5
food poisoning | 1
speeding ticket | 1
hours in the car | 37
dance moves | countless
bee stings | 1
instagrams | 91
postcards | 36
shattered iphone | 1
cactus injuries | 1
games of MASH | 4
wildlife sightings | 8
songs on our Spotify playlist | 547
"Oogum Boogum" song by Brenton Wood
Film processed by Richard Photo Lab