By Sarah Herlong
I‘ve never written a story about my first epic road trip. I remember the route, but not all the fresh insights of seeing this country for the first time. We were just out of college and I had the trip planned to
. With my boyfriend Eric, we pieced
together the rest of the trip on the fly. We drove 10-12 hours a day. We were
busy stopping at national parks and monuments, and roadside attractions. We
were poor, so we stayed at hostels and Motel 6’s along the way. So here is the
story of my epic road trip in 394 words. Arizona
We traveled through 26 states in 15 days. We left
having been paid by my boyfriend’s
mom for making her a sequined Christmas tree skirt. Weird, I know. We sped away
from an angry mob in Charlotte ,
where we saw burned out cars. Stayed in New Orleans in a hostel full of cowboys. Then to El
Paso where we saw the
most beautiful sunset ever amongst the saguaro cacti. Then it was on to the
meteor crater. That’s in Tucson Arizona along with
the little known place called the Grand Canyon.
If you have a choice, go to the meteor crater, seriously.
At this point I was faced with driving through the desert at night up into the hills and then over the Hoover Dam. There were lots of white crosses with messages warning about hell that added to the ambience of fear. Then we rounded a curve and there was Vegas laid out beneath us, lighting up the sky. It was breathtaking. We stayed in a Motel 6 off the strip with lots of people clutching briefcases, and wearing desperate looks on their faces.
It was disconcerting.
The next day we drove the length of
which is all desert. We crossed over the Sierra Nevadas and made our way to Nevada . We were
totally overwhelmed with its beauty, and promptly made our way through the
tenderloin district on foot. I looked as tough and mean as I could. Eric did
too, but he was wearing a sweater vest, and that look is hard to pull off. We
made quite the bizarre pair alongside all the crack heads. San Francisco
Yellowstone where we made the acquaintance
of some menacing buffalo surrounding our car, with us still in it. And we saw a
moose minding it’s own business. We went to Thermopolis, a town with an old hot
spring spa turned hostel. I remember a scary lady staring out at us from her
window, never taking her eyes off us. It was a little Bates Motel. We had to
use a payphone to contact the manager to actually let us in, which we were
having a considerably hard time doing. This was before cell phones. I swear
some places are just built scary, like that’s what the architect had in mind.
Then after some more adventures, it was time to go home.