I’m about to conclude my first road trip in years. I was yearning for a vacation that didn’t require standing barefoot in a crowded security line, so we decided it was time to see North California and Southern Oregon.
Road trips are my new thing.
First of all, you have a suitcase the size of…well, the trunk of your car. You are free to take with you all kinds of things you might not consider when traveling by plane (such as walking sticks, extra hiking shoes and more books than you could possibly read in a week.)
You also get to pack a big canvas tote just for the back seat. With maps, snacks, water bottles, flip flops and a tower of CD’s.
The trip becomes about the trip, not about getting there (in fact, if you never get there, that’s OK.) You can stop whenever you want. Drive for as long as you want. Listen to music you didn’t know you owned and talk to your favorite person without having to rush, summarize or even get to the point. (OK. Your favorite person might appreciate if you do some day get to the point – but it can take you several days.) You can sit in silence as you drive through the Avenue of the Giants (that would be Coastal Redwoods.)
You can explore rural America, buy fruit off fruit stands on the side of the road, spend oodles of time in used bookstores. You can walk up and down several Main Streets in a single day. If you want, in very hushed tones lest someone think you a show off, you can congratulate yourself on your incredibly good eye for really delicious places to eat.
You can make your trip as varied as you want, and in the same week visit several state parks (such as Humbolt), a Victorian Mansion (in Ferndale), a teeny coastal town (Trinidad). You can stay in a cabin in the middle of the woods in Port Ortford, hike in Cape Blanco, and then drive all the way to the jaw dropping, eye popping sight of Crater Lake (which really is as blue as the photo you see above). You can spend half a day in a restored Western town looking at jewelry made with old silverware (Jacksonville). Top it off by catching a play in Ashland, famous for it’s nine month Shakespeare Festival.
At the end of it all, of course, you’re equally free to bring back whatever you want, even if it’s heavy (such as petrified wood specimens, an Ammonite fossil and a bag of really good books you bought for three dollars each.)
Which leaves you with just one question: are we leaving yet?