FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Get Out The Map

Hello hi good morning, welcome to the Friday Open Thread! It’s me, Vanessa, your community editor, here to talk with you about road trips! And also your life and your week and your world and anything else you’d like to share, per always.

So, road trips! Aren’t they the best? I’ve been on so many great road trips in my life and I feel very, very lucky that this is true. I’ve done short trips around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, longer trips up and down the West Coast, and several truly long trips across different parts of the country. I’ve road tripped with friends and family, I’ve driven for days and sat shotgun at all times, I’ve made intense itineraries and I’ve been spontaneous…the particulars don’t matter, honestly. Something about getting in the car and deciding to go is magic to me. I love it.

In August, I’m going to be embarking on another road trip. I’m moving back to the East Coast for grad school (cue sobbing re: leaving Portland right now, please and thank you) and I have convinced myself it will be very fun and not at all stressful to drive across the country to get myself to school! This is the audience participation part: I want you to suggest a route for me to take! This country is giant and the options are so varied – every single route I could possibly dream up seems perfect. So I want you to help. How should I drive across the country in August? My only restriction is that I begin in Portland, OR and I end in Bronxville, NY. Other than that, our options are limitless!

I also want to hear about your road trips! Do you love them? Do you get car sick? Where is your favorite unexpected place you ended up on a trip? Are you the driver or the passenger? Did you pick up on the fact that the headline of this post is an Indigo Girls lyric? TELL ME EVERYTHING!

If you’d rather talk about your week, that’s totally cool. Later today I’ll be hopping in my car and taking an extremely short road trip from Portland to Ashland, but I’ll be around for the first half of today and for the entirety of the weekend to reply to your lovely comments, so don’t be shy! LET’S CHAT!


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Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer based in Portland, OR. Find her on twitter and instagram or at her personal blog, vanessapamela.com.

Vanessa has written 239 articles for us.

54 Comments

  1. Congrats on grad school! Will you be living in Westchester or the city?

    My last road trip was to Ogunquit, Maine with my sister last summer. We also went to Portland, ME, which was fun, but rainy. I don’t drive, so I’m always the designated DJ and navigator. I haven’t really been between NY and the west coast, so I can’t give you any routes – sorry!

    It’s about to be 90 degrees here in NYC, and I want to cry because the AC is barely on at work, and my desk fan isn’t helping. Also, allergies.

    Aside from complaining about the weather, my mom is coming into the city tomorrow, and she’s taking me and my sister to the ballet (with Misty Copeland!), and she (mom, not Misty) is sleeping over at my apartment, which is something I actually enjoy because my mom is awesome. She lives in Westchester, and though she’s only an hour away, I don’t see her very often. Then on Sunday, my sister and I are seeing Disobedience (again).

    Shabbat Shalom / Happy Friday / Happy long weekend, if you have one!

    • thank you! i’ll be living in bronxville — i want to be walking distance to school, and i honestly don’t miss nyc living very much, so i think (hope) i’ll be happy with this choice!

      i hope you had fun at the ballet and with your mom! shabbat shalom xoxo

  2. Once during a summer in college, I went on an accidental road trip to Canada. My bestie and I were living in Eastern Michigan and were driving the absolute wrong direction (pre GPS) but we were so caught up in our conversation we didn’t notice until we saw the “Last Exit Before Canada” sign fly past us and the border checkpoint looming in front of us. So we went to Canada and had lunch and then turned around and drove back to the US and to the place we were actually trying to go to. Fun times were had by all! (Except probably the customs agent who undoubtedly though we were morons.)

  3. It’s funny that this is the Open Thread topic this week… just yesterday I was talking with my 2 best friends from college, who also happen to be my road trip buddies, about how we’re due to hit the road again. It’s a sign!

    The best road trip I have taken was about 6 years ago. We drove from Chicago to Badlands National Park in South Dakota, then to Custer State Park in South Dakota (we stopped to see Mount Rushmore too) and then we drove into Estes Park, Colorado to explore the Rockies. It was the perfect combination of great friends, awesome road trip music, and incredible scenery. I had never driven in the mountains before, and here they were, all around me. I loved it.

    I also took a trip from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park, and that was a lot of fun too… except for the constant fear that we’d drive off the edge of a cliff… HOW do people do it? I was definitely the passenger. I didn’t want to be held responsible for our safety hahaha.

    I’m really big on making good road trip mixes. Something cinematic, you know? For when you’re driving on a winding road with the windows down and no real schedule to keep. I really dig acoustic-y, folk-adjacent stuff for road trips. And anything that the whole group can sing along to. [my college roommate and I would drive from Chicago to St. Louis and back fairly often and we developed our “parts” for just about every musical/disney duet out there]

    My favorite road trip song is The First Days of Spring by Noah and the Whale. It starts slowly with some dreamy strings and a little guitar and it just builds and builds. Highly recommended for sunrise drives.

    • you should definitely go on a road trip soon! this post is a sign!!

      and thank you for sharing all your road trip memories! i am the worst when it comes to road trip music — i just wanna listen to sad dykes with guitars on repeat for forever, much to the dismay of everyone i have ever driven with — so i rely on heroes like you to make good mixes!!

  4. i don’t drive so i don’t go on roadtrips! i have zero inclination to go on one anytime soon!

    anyway does anyone know of a good place where i can buy property and then realistically live in a secret illegal shed

    preferably in virginia

    i mean I’m also trying to move to Richmond but you know what really sucks

    paying rent that’s what

    also my job

    kinda just wanna go live in a shed and stop showering for a while

  5. Living in the UK road trips aren’t really a thing. Plus, I don’t drive. However, my ambition is to pass my driving test (I’ve had some lessons, currently paused for health reasons) and go on a trip to America, so I can drive up the west coast from California and into Canada, to visit Vancouver.

  6. Congratulations on graduate school! Still can’t believe I’m only 18 credit hours from having to worry about that myself. Best of luck with your move and studies!

    The last time I really did a multi-state road trip was in 2005 (has it really been so long?) when I got off of active duty in the USAF and drove back to my parents’ house for a bit before moving here to Colorado. New Jersey to Kansas. Not exactly one of sweeping vistas and neat sights (I did stop for several days in Gettysburg, though, so that was kind of neat). I don’t really have any special routes as I just stuck to I-70. 🙁

    As for my week? Eventful. My computer has been crashing a ton lately, so I took it to a shop for a diagnostic thinking my RAM might be taking a dive. They couldn’t reproduce the problem, so I picked up my computer only for it to keep crashing on me last night. Then I tried a fix I had forgotten was possible, and it turned out the problem was a HUGE Linux kernel bug. I haven’t read about anyone else having the problem, but loading a prior kernel has solved my computer’s stability issues. Unfortunately, this problem has set me back several days in terms of finding a job. 🙁

  7. A road trip feels like one of those quintessentially American things that doesn’t really translate well. I knew people in high school who drove from Scandinavia to the Middle East every summer, but even covering that kind of distance it definitely wasn’t a “road trip”.

    I grew up in the Scandinavian middle class so we drove on holiday every year. Scandinavia to Croatia, Scandinavia to France, etc. We’d pack the car full, I’d load up on cassette tapes and batteries for my Walkman, and we’d drive, following the main roads, with nothing but a Europan school atlas. On the ferries, we’d stock up on tax free sweets to stay awake – my father’s philosophy was that if you left northern France in the morning and weren’t home by the evening news you weren’t taking full advantage of the autobahn.

    My partner and I drive from western France to southern Scandinavia with our two dogs to visit friends and family. It’s a 30 hour drive, with all the doggy toilet stops and a few hours of sleep at a lorry rest stop once we cross over from the Netherlands to Germany. We’ve got a super efficient system, and are self-sufficient during the trip, except for petrol. I wouldn’t call it pleasurable by a long shot, though. Like all my drives through the continent, it’s utilitarian.

      • Motorways are pretty similar across the continent, to be honest. The French ones have toll booths and are lined with McDonald’s, and the German ones have ongoing construction work and are lined with Burger King. They’re also generally designed to ensure that you don’t see any actual communities. I mean, you can, if you make an effort—we drove through the Somme one year because of traffic issues—but it’s kind of a hassle and you’ll probably end up turning back onto the motorway unless you want to make a massive detour. It’s probably a lot better to go somewhere, maybe a border area, have a base there, and drive around to explore.

    • tbh,other than the border crossings and sudden drastic shifts in culture, that’s not all that different than an American roadtrip. we just pretend they’re not awful here, for some reason

  8. Congrats on getting into grad school. Hopefully it would be easy to get accustomed to cold winters and snow storms. Though I am told those are good excuses to cuddle up and stay warm. I do like road trips, but depends where and with who. I am fortunate to live in an area where I have a lot of place to visit depending on what I want. If I want to gamble there is Vegas(Reno too), want to be in another country Mexico, if want nature, pick a direction and go. I use to take a 45 minute drive to see a now ex almost weekly, does that count as a short road-trip?

    How is everyone? My week has been long. I’ve cried(there is an album I can’t listen to without crying so that’s now a thing), over ate, under-ate, and just existed. My heart is a bit sad, while my mind is telling my there is no reason to be. I’m just hoping time heals whatever I am feeling.

    I spent a Sunday with a dear friend and her partner at Long Beach Pride. Great time spending with friends, but as I mentioned Monday I am a bit over pride. There was a fucking Wal-Mart semi in the parade with a rainbow flag on the front. I went Oy Vey loudly when I saw it. Police also marched in uniform with pride flags and sirens on. Just no to all of it. I heard that Minneapolis is has a policy that if a cop wants to march in pride they can, but they can’t be wearing their uniform, which is great.

    I don’t have too many images from pride(way too many corporate companies there), but groups like this did give me hope. They had posters that said full federal equality, defend trans lives, and the like.

    Hope you enjoy your short trip friend. Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend, however long it maybe!

  9. Congrats on getting into grad school!! XD

    A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to be able to spend 10 days driving/camping around Namibia. It was a bit crazy considering neither me nor my friend know much about cars and the country is mostly just desert with very few people outside the main towns. Thankfully everything went according to plan. I took the photo at the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

  10. oh hi!!!!! phooey leaving the west coast, but good on you with your next big life steps and things!

    I actually really like road trips, though now I have a little baby and they HATE road trips. she can hang for like 45 minutes before being like FUCK. THIS.

    My fave is when we took the one and drove as far as Mendocino County, and really I think that if you don’t say goodbye to the Redwoods, you’ll be sorry, and driving through the SW in the summer is gorgeous but kind of the pits, so maybe never mind.

    So never mind, in August, maybe keep it on the north side, I once drove a friend to Boston for school, and my strongest memories of that (like 15 years ago?) are the brothel museum in Wallace Falls, ID (had a brothel running until like 1995?) and a big statue of a prarie chicken, though had she been more game we might’ve stopped in the gay bars of smaller cities, which is something I always enjoy (Milwaukee!).

    In general, I like road trips with good snacks, and taking enough time to go on detours if you want to, but also with an intention of where we want to get at the end of the day. (they’re not cheap, all that driving) Also with wide pockets of silence, possibly allowed by books on tape or whatever.

    A random thing I really like about road trips is the opportunity to get very specific with my layering needs and have like, a shawl, and a cardigan, and a hoodie all tossed around to meet my very specific needs around temperature regulation.

    Also bringing a cooler of some sort because not all water tastes the same across the country, and if you can catch a farmstand and make things like cucumbers last a few days while you’re in a no-vegetables stretch, I always get grumpy from all the fried food and sugar that is readily accessible, and I’m not even that fussy about like, eating all the colors of food groups most days of the week.

    I’m doing okay- girlfriend has to work all weekend to finish up a project and then hopefully she gets to be a person, so I’ve invented all these little things for myself to do (walk to the library! make those ricotta pancakes from smitten kitchen cookbook!) and she’s sort of grumpy but getting less grumpy as the day goes by, and baby has been pretty chill, so.)

    Oh also suggestion time! I started weightlifting (yay!) and have a really rad coach who puts ‘yes fats yes femmes’ on his advertising (is a queer dude, it’s all good) but the fancy sports bra I have I think is interfering with my posture while trying to maintain good form while lifting.

    Do any of you big-titted babes (I’m like a 40G) have sports bras you wear for things like weightlifting with specific posture needs that you feel good about?
    (I have this one in galaxy print, it’s cute, but idk if it’s the right one for this job. seems to do okay for running, though?

    https://www.barenecessities.com/product.aspx?pfid=Panache5021&cm_mmc=GLPA_NonBrand-_-Bra-_-Panache89-_-Panache5021&BillboardPopupEnabled=false&BorderfreeEnabled=False&color=Grey&amsk=w9a4hfr3k4&cmp=p1&kclid=0eaffaf8-f64a-41c6-b864-cb2d08f06738&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIl97k2M2h2wIVA9RkCh3smAIFEAQYAiABEgKS3_D_BwE)

    Hope everyone has a good long weekend!

    • I have a triumph triaction, that’s worth every penny. A few years ago, I went to an undergarment store, where a woman in her mid fifties with a mountain of permed hair whipped a pink measuring band off of her neck as soon as I stepped into the store and greeted me with a “May I measure you?”
      Total game changer.
      The Triumph bras aren’t the cheapest, but I bought my oldest one about five years ago and it still holds everything in place and the colors are even still ok. Also, if you’re only lifting, you won’t need that much support, which means less costly.
      Good luck and so much yay! for the weight lifting!

    • I had a sports bra injury recently with weightlifting when I used a bra that was a little tight in the waistband. The band twisted over my ribs while I was doing a heavy split jerk which tore my serratus and intercostal. DO NOT RECOMMEND. Make sure your bra fits comfortably even when you are bracing 🙂

  11. Yes I did in fact pick up on the Indigo Girls reference and now I have that song stuck in my head, so thanks for that!

    When I go on road trips I literally do get out the map because I am the last person in the United States without a smartphone and I love navigating with an actual paper map. Solo road trips are awesome because you get to blast whatever music you want and stop to pee as often as you want. I also love being the passenger and irritating whoever’s driving by putting my feet up on the dashboard!

    My route recommendation would be to swing through Arkansas and Tennessee on your way because those are two of the most beautiful states in the country (and yes I realize that’s not even close to being “on the way” from Oregon to New York but whatever!)

  12. I’m so excited for you and your school adventures!!! I similarly had to leave an awesome place/people for school and it was really hard, I kept (and honestly still have to) remind myself that the love I had there is still with me and my friends were so happy to see me push myself to grow in new ways and find new love.
    Also have fun in Ashland, I miss it! I don’t know if you’ve been to Little Shop of Bagels or not, but in my opinion they are the most amazing bagels! (an oregonian’s opinion of bagels, so maybe not the best barometer)
    Often during the summer when my seasonal depression hits I start to plan elaborate road trips and camping trips that I don’t go on. It’s soothing to think about where I would go, and there are some really cute old forest ranger cabins you can rent, but I never actually have the time/money/energy to do it.
    I’m still working through post camp plague and processing. It’s been rough. I feel like I need to make some decisions about boundaries with a few friends and definitely with my family. But instead I just agreed to go to my parents house for dinner tonight, when I know that’s a bad idea. They are probably going to say something that hurts me, I’m probably going to end up hiding some essential part of who I am, I’m probably going to cry cause it hurts to even think about hiding who I am after being so vibrantly myself and being accepted for it by soooo many amazing people. How can so many people so instantly see who I am and love me and they can’t even see a fraction of who I am?

    • I feel so much for you. It’s their loss that they can’t see you as you really are. I know they’re your folks, and I might be skating on thin ice… they just don’t see you, only their own fears, and it’s their bad.

      Carol Aird would totally salute you though. Totally.

  13. I went on a train trip through the South of Europe three years ago. My friend got dumped by his boyfriend, I had taken time off from work due to burn out and we both suddenly had a couple of weeks on our hands in the summer. Air bnb and an interrail ticket each later, we watched Angels in America on his laptop (mine got stolen on day three) ate about ten different kinds of sandwiches at the train stations of four different countries and watched the sun set and rise and shine over mountains and valleys and rivers and the sea.
    There’s this thing about consciously traveling, that I enjoy about the trains. Also:Cheap as hell and I think my carbon footprint was like 80kg altogether?

  14. You’ll probably want to stay as far north as possible in August. To be honest I’d just go with whatever my GPS told me!

    I went on a cross country roadtrip when I was much much younger (directions were printed out from mapquest) and probably won’t ever replicate anything quite like it because honestly it sounds miserable! We went from California, to New York, down to Florida and back across (in 3 weeks)! Two friends and I spent most nights in my parents station wagon because we were on a shoe string budget. I’m glad I did it though because there are a lot of great stories.

  15. It was less of a road trip than it was meant to be, but still one of the best and strangest weeks of my life. The year was 2012 and it was the second week of October. We flew back to Iceland from the UK for my great Grandfather’s funeral and drove from Reykjavík to Akureyri in the North. The journey took over seven hours in the worst blizzard I have ever experienced. My Grandfather (Sveinn) was driving a massive 4×4 mountain jeep. We were considering turning back when out of the blizzard comes my Grandfather’s old friend from college, Torfi, and helps lead us through the storm. Honestly what are the odds?!

    We eventually made it to my great Grandfather’s house where we were basically snowed in for a week. We left only to go to the outdoor swimming pools and to have fun in the snow. It was absolutely amazing to hang out with so many people in my family for a week.The funeral was mostly indoors, save for the lowering of the coffin and a very windswept priest saying about one sentence and hurriedly doing a cross sign as we all ran inside. Funerals aren’t usually funny but that one was a little bit. We cooked everything for the wake and then had a massive gleeful snowball fight amongst the giant rhubarbs in the garden. I think my great Grandad was probably laughing with us. Then we eventually carried on to the West fjords where we went sightseeing in the snow and most of the fjord had frozen over which was amazing and to visit more relatives and then back to Reykjavík. The whole week is one of my most vivid memories.

    I hope everyone has a good weekend! I’ll be voting in my local elections tomorrow, which is pretty exciting.

    • Oh, what a wonderful story to share.

      I have great admiration for the folks of Iceland, politically for sure, and otherwise ! No place is perfect but you sure look good from over here.

  16. There’s no denying it will be hot across the southwest in August, but with climate change there’s no escaping the summer heat anyhow, even in Portland!

    With that in mind, I can think of no better road trip than to follow Historic Route 66 — also known as “The Mother Road” and “Main Street of America” — from Santa Monica to Chicago.

    There’s not much of the original highway left, so you’ll be on the interstate system for the most part, but you can exit at multiple points where your tires can actually roll along on the ancient asphalt for a bit.

    Along the way you can stop at some of the same establishments where generations of Americans have gone before you — the diners, the gas stations, the burger joints, the motels. You can take selfies at the same landmarks — Santa Monica Pier, Wigwam Motel, Petrified Forest, Cadillac Ranch, Leaning Water Tower, World’s Largest Totem Pole, 66 Drive-in Theatre, Rainbow Bridge, Mural City, etc.

    Full disclosure: My family migrated from Oklahoma to Arizona, so that’s the only portion of Route 66 I’ve actually experienced. My memories are also very romanticized because every road trip was a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. What some might view as endless, boring miles of flat, barren landscape was for me a magical journey. The trip took 13 hours and my dad liked to drive straight through, but I was always too excited to sleep.

    So I vividly remember Arizona and New Mexico with beautiful sandstone rock formations and the smell of sagebrush in the air. I watched out the window at a train racing along beside us on the Santa Fe Railroad tracks that ran parallel to the highway. When the sun went down we could turn on the AM radio and listen to KOMA, even though we were still hundreds of miles away. As we drove into the night across the Texas panhandle, we passed a huge, neon cowboy beckoning us to an Amarillo steakhouse. We stretched our legs, gassed up and got a bottle of pop at a truck stop in Oklahoma and the wind carried the smell of oil refineries and diesel fumes — intoxicating because it meant we were almost there.

    No matter which route you take, Vanessa, may your travels be safe. You’re right — road trips are the best.

  17. I’m going to go out on a limb with this sice in all honesty I myself have not done it…but it sounds fun and do-able. If you have a valid passport and time why not drive up thru Canada? Spend time in Banff, out of the Canadian Rockies and on thru the middle of that fine country, maybe stop in Winnipeg. Then you could stay in Canada travel to Ontario and go to Niagra Falls. Then exit back to the US via Buffalo, NY and on your way to Bronxville. Or exit Canada and visit the UP of Michigan and down on thru Ohio and Pennsylvania onward towards your final destination.

    As a disclaimer I have driven through some pretty desolate places in states (TX, KS, ND, SD, MT, NB, and a few boring parts of FL, GA, AL, and MS and let’s not forget IA) I can imagine the very long stretch of the middle of Canada being a mix of long stretches of boring highway and awesome sights. But what an adventure to say you drove west to east across Canada!! The Canadian side of Niagra Falls is quite an amazing site! Not sure how you feel about camping but looks like lots of opportunities along your way to NY with either route in mind. But most of all it is just something different to keep in mind.

    Oh and keep an eye out at truck stops and gas stations alike for Trolli Strwaberry Puffs. The are not everywhere but if you find them try them. It is a little gummy puff of strwaberry-goodness!

    Good luck with sorting out your trip and route! The best part of a road trip is actually planning the route and fun along the way!

  18. SARAH LAWRENCE!!!!!

    I graduated from there twice and I still live in Bronxville. Actually, reading “Bronxville, NY” got the Indigo Girls out of my head because my brain stopped short, thinking I’d read that wrong. Well, when you get here, welcome!

    As for how to wend your way here, I’m liking the route through Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, down through Chicago, and across Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A little more varied than a more southerly route. (Driving back east from New Mexico through the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, etc. was… something I never need to do again.)

  19. If evacuations count as road trips then my favorite unexpected place I ended up was this pier somewhere in Florida with shop of net beach cover ups. I was 14 and I think it was Hurricane Rita? The year of Katrina blurs a lot. My undershirt had a hole about where my mid-drift was so I ripped a strip off and used it for a headband. I walked to the end of the pier and the wind from the storm in Gulf on it’s way to possibly smash my hometown some more made already my wavy hair look like that of a sea goddess and I felt like one with elements and trusted(?) that my home and family would be safe. I really don’t know how to describe a magic moment, still have the “DIY crop top” (it makes me look like a MMFR character) and the uh red net dress I managed to get my mother to buy me because she didn’t see kinky outfit potential just a swim suit cover up. >D

    If evacuations don’t count as a road trip than my favorite unexpected place I ended up on a roadtrip would be this one time Georgia the fam ended up finding a Five Guys and Chick-fil-A right next to each other. I got the best fried chicken tender and the best fries in the very same meal.

    Favourite place I passed by was the town of Transylvania, Louisiana at night because it was unreal creepy and there was fog. My inner goth child was delighted.

    My favourite sight on the trip home is cypress tree swamps and marshlands at sunset, it’s just the most beautiful thing to me. Mountains are majestic, sunsets at the beach are pretty, but sunsets on wetlands move me to my soul.

    The funniest road trip memory I have is the one where my younger brother was on his learners’ permit and drove up a mountain on narrow, winding roadways to a cabin at dusk with my dad who has two volumes loud and louder, and is chronic over-reactor in the front passenger seat and my mom backseat arguing with my dad to calm down and stop yelling because he’s in the car not another room. Also the car was one of the vehicles listed as mostly liked to flip and roll if put on off balance by a little bit. My grandmother started praying to Saint Jude after a Hail Mary, bypassing St. Christopher and St. Joseph entirely.

    It hysterically funny and also scary at the time, now it’s just funny and I dunno if non-catholics will understand why without explanation.
    St. Christopher is the saint of travellers, St. Joseph is the patron saint of Sicilians, St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes.

    My week has been great because the best time of the year is here and it came a day early. New Orleans’ Greek Festival. They have a little market of Greek exports and the day I usually go they’re all out of stuff I want. Not this year y’all I got a gorgeous block of one true love feta cheese.
    If you thinking of visiting New Orleans for just a quick weekend in late May pick the weekend of Greek Festival
    http://www.greekfestnola.com/cuisine/

    They have vegetarian/vegan(?) platter every year (it’s not just lamb all the way) and it’s so good people not vegetarians eat it with gusto. There’s live music and folk dancing
    And the pastry boxes, assorted, pure baklava, and build your own.

  20. I haven’t been on any major road trips in a while, but I just got back from seeing family in the Midwest and am now settling back into work.

    A couple years ago a friend and I roadtripped to Utah for about a week. I would definitely recommend any of the state/national parks around there.

  21. Haven’t commented on here in a while. Got busy with personal stuff and work stuff. I do have a nice road trip story to share.

    I can’t drive because of my CP. So for me a road trip is usually a planned bus trip. A fun one was once I visited a friend who used to live in upstate New York. I live in New Jersey. So I took a bus from my area of NJ to the Port Authority terminal. Then got a (very nice) Coach bus to the bus terminal in a town close to where my friend was. One thing I really love about taking the bus is having a window seat. I can just look out and view all the passing scenery and enjoy myself. I took a few books on that trip (6 hours all together there & back again). And loaded up my iPod with music and podcasts. And brought snacks as well.

    Week wise I am doing well. Spending time with family for the Memorial Day holiday isn’t awful, but it is a way better option than stressing over the housing info I got in the mail for possible places for me to move to in the Fall. I also came up with a Pride display for work (I work in a public library). I’m pretty pleased with how it is turning out.

  22. Once on a road trip with friends, we were camping in the desert and, while we were eating around the fire, a jackal stole someone’s purse! we tried to chase him but didn’t manage, and we found the purse in the morning about half a mile away all chewed up.

    But um Vanessa I know you did a camping cuisine workshop at camp so I want to share the best camping/road trip snack ever: you open a can of oil-packed tuna, light the oil on fire, the fire dies out when the oil burns off and then you have a can of SMOKED TUNA

  23. Best accidental road trip discovery was definitely Foamhenge. A life-size replica of Stonehenge, but made out of foam. In Virginia. There was some other attractions in the same town, like a museum of Indiana Jones riding dinosaurs or something?

    Other accidental discoveries include forests with hidden waterfalls and caves, which were beautiful but less surprising 😀

  24. Living in Australia any drive turns quickly into a road trip because of the distance between anywhere and the unending scenery. Recently my girl and I went to Northern NSW,and on the way home we came across this beautiful beach.

    We had not long driven through Byron Bay and I won’t lie the constant flow of traffic and crowds caused me to have an anxiety attack. So we kept driving and to a road off the main highway, looking for water as it’s one of my ways of grounded myself again. We saw a little gap in the trees, pulled over and went to explore. What we found was miles of sand and water and not another soul in sight. We spend an hour there until I regained my composure. We will be heading back there the next time we are in the area.

    • Yes, we’re really very lucky here. You might have to drive for a while but there’s beautiful isolated beaches and river banks that you can have virtually all to yourself for only a little bit of an effort.
      My partner and I had a road trip up to the northern rivers not long ago and just sitting on the banks of the Clarence watching the fruit bats in the trees and the water dragons in the shallows was sooo peaceful and renewing.
      We’ll be back too.

  25. My favourite road trip was across Canada, in my old teeny Honda Civic. All by myself, my worldly possessions in the back under a blanket, just the radio to keep me company. I was moving home to Alberta from Ontario.
    I still remember getting to Saskatchewan and suddenly the sky was just so much bigger.
    Congrats on grad school!

    • i love this story so much. solo road trips are actually incredibly peaceful to me — i did one through central oregon two summers ago and it brought me so much joy.

      and yes, the way the sky exists — it’s fucking incredible. when i drove to montana a few years ago i couldn’t stop talking about the sky. SO BIG. wow, etc.

      and thank you 🙂 xo

  26. Have to agree with Maddie and Beth, the Badlands and Custer State park are awesome. Beautiful desolation and rock formations, Needles Highway and of course Mount Rushmore. Crazy Horse monument is kind of neat and if ever finished will be awesome, loved the laser light show there, but some people weren’t that thrilled with it.

  27. I love road trips as long as I can drive or be in the front seat — the back seat makes me nauseous.
    Congrats on grad school! This summer my best friend and I are taking a road trip to go look at grad schools together, her for a probable master’s in American history and me for an eventual Ph.D. in English. Hopefully we can squeeze some fun in between all the school stuff (not that school isn’t fun!). Last summer we spontaneously drove from San Francisco to San Diego for a friend’s going-away party and it was crazy fun.

  28. Last year I traveled with my best friend and her 10-year-old daughter. We started from our home in NC, went up through Virginia and Pennsylvania on our way to upstate New York. It was a hiking, camping, educational trip. We crossed over through Vermont and New Hampshire on our way to Maine. Camped several days in Acadia. Met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. We headed back down the coast. We paid enough in tolls to buy a house. We stopped in Washington D.C. We visited the Holocaust Museum. I have no words for that. Everybody should visit.

    We took turns driving and just fell into a routine with everything. We tent camped the whole trip. I don’t know how many miles we hiked but it was amazing. We were still friends at the end and I would jump right back in the car with her for another trip. https://i.imgur.com/QpN6za0.jpg

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