As most of you already know, I will be leaving this weekend, heading back home to Michigan. This is going to be a very different trip than the one out here, in almost every way possible.
The trip out was made with a very dear friend of mine, and we did it in a quick 5 days (for 45 hours, that is pretty quick), stopping in cities, staying in nice hotels and enjoying a festive dinners out and whatever we could in our 8 hours in each city. It had all the earmarks of the coming of age road trip; we packed massive amounts of food and picnicked along the way, handing each other cream-cheese bagels, cookies, and little pitas stuffed with hummus and tabouleh (ok, in my coming of age story, there’s tabouleh). We drove fairly long days, listened to a lot of 90s music, sang at the top of our lungs, and played lots of stupid little games to entertain ourselves (I have a half-completed book of supposedly easy but mostly ridiculous crossword puzzles for you if you ever go on a trip like this of your own). We pranked each other (she got me good), we drank spumante, and we made friends with Mormons, biker gangs, middle aged lawyers in hot tubs, and dinosaurs. And of course we talked about our souls, almost cried several times (each, and for various and “growing up” type reasons), wrote, read, took pictures, tweeted, and saw unbelievably beautiful things we’d never seen before. We were two girls, exploring our country and our souls, embarking on a journey that mirrored the decade in which we live now – the epic, dramatic, unexpectedly beautiful, sometimes white-knuckled and mountainous, hurry-up-and-wait, modest yet decadent, and long yet so so short years know as our twenties.
This trip back will be with my father. There aren’t any Hyatts on this leg of the trip, and I doubt I’ll do much batting of my eyes (like we did in SLC? Who knew there were so many attractive men in Utah??) We spend our first night in Vegas which will be, I expect, the perfect way to start the trip. I’m not expecting much Fear and Loathing, but anyone who know my father probably knows that he’s a surprisingly hilarious guy, and being in Las Vegas with him is likely to be as ridiculous (albeit reasonably sober) as being there with anyone else. And from there we embark on the more traditional road trip – the one I promised myself I’d take before the economy crashed and that, as it happens, I get to take anyway. We’ll take the days slower, 45 hours in just under 2 weeks, stopping to hike along the way at Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks. We’ll stay at lodges and cabins, eat at In-and-Out Burger and cowboy bars, and sweat like dogs in the Utah heat (110 degrees here we come!).
And now that I’ve been away for a while and gained a little perspective, I’m looking forward to this. My dad and I have always been close, and we are both happiest when we are traveling. And the older I get, the more I realize how much I value my family, and how unlikely it is that I will be close to them one day (and for the rest of my days). This is a trip I’ve wanted to take for a long time, and now I get the chance to take it as a last hurrah with one of the best human beings I know.