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On the road — the good, the bad & the stats

When I decided to move to Colorado, the idea of the road trip excited me. Then my best pal Allison decided she was going to come along for the ride, and that’s when shit got real. Like, really real. 

Aside from one relatively small mishap involving a defective GoPro or two, I have thanked all of my luckiest stars that this road trip went as smoothly as it did. No accidents, no broken down vehicles, no injuries or major health emergencies — other than one quick detour when the GPS routed us 5 minutes in the wrong direction in Nashville, we didn’t even get lost. Brushin’ off my shoulder, over here. You just can’t see it.

Over the course of the almost-week on the road, Allison & I survived with plenty of stories to tell, souvenirs to remind us, and little memories to share between the two of us. We laughed, we listened to music (shout out to 1D & Spotify for keeping the tunes fresh all the way across the country), we talked a lot about the male species and their general lack of intelligence/sanity.

We ate far too much fast food, we woke up early every day, we survived the intrusion of an unwanted guest in Virginia (a stink bug). We took pictures, we took video, we almost peed our pants in terror driving through a thick fog/torrential downpour down a tractor trailer-infested winding mountain road in Tennessee. IMG_1156IMG_6370

We crossed the Mississippi River from Memphis into Arkansas and freaked out every time we entered a new state. We befriended the people working at the front desk in hotels and fell in love with waiters. We watched for rattlesnakes in west Texas and adopted a tumbleweed named Claude. We gawked at the adobes in New Mexico and celebrated when we arrived in my new home state of Colorado.IMG_1240IMG_6415

Our trip from Philadelphia to Denver was a complete success & will be an adventure that we’ll be able to remember for the rest of our lives — with memories to pull out for a quick laugh via text message or for reference during future bridesmaid speeches. If this trip showed me one thing, it’s that the United States is really, really, really big, and there is so so so so so so much more out there to explore. I’ve still got to see the Grand Canyon, Vegas, the Pacific Northwest, California…. the list goes on. But in the meantime, here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers and memorable moments of #roadtrip2015 (now referred to as #tumbleweed2015).

Miles driven: 2,515

Hours driven: 37
(Compared to if we had taken a straight shot across the -yawn- Midwest: 1,729 miles/25 hours)

Days/nights on the road: 6/5

States driven through: 9
Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado

Cash spent on gas: $147.78
(It was a good time to travel! Yay for dropping gas prices!)

Number of hotels: 3

Cash spent on hotels: $167.35
(Thank you, cousin employed with Hilton!)

Most memorable moments
Allison:
1. Standing on the eerie spot that JFK was shot in Dallas
2. Driving down that road to Santa Fe where we were the only car and it was all open land and mountains and things
3. Arriving in Colorado
4. The Mississippi River

Kristen:
1. Seeing the Mississippi River for the first time — driving through Memphis, over a hill and watching the river come gradually into view was something I had been anticipating for a long time
2. Our night out with Megan in Nashville — getting the chance to see a darling darling friend I hadn’t seen since studying in London made my heart burst into smithereens
3. Driving across the changing landscapes of New Mexico — it made me realize the immensity of just how much there is left of this country (and world) to see
4. AMARILLO, TEXAS

Favorite stop
Allison: 
Santa Fe
Kristen: Texas

Cool things
Allison: 
I felt so free and adventurous the whole road trip. I don’t normally do that kinda stuff so it was such a different feeling. Also driving across time zones.
Kristen: 
Food. We packed a lot of food and kept it in a cooler bag. It was awesome.

This trip totally inspired me to do some longer and deeper road trips as soon as possible. I’d love to drive Iceland, New Zealand or somewhere in South America.

Have you ever gone on a road trip — in the US or elsewhere? Any recommendations/tips for the future that you’d like to share?

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12 Comments

  • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

    We have taken road trips in the US, Canada and the length of Britain and over into France. My best tip is to sometimes veer off the beaten track, take detours, explore tangents. I’m someone who likes to have a thorough plan (I’m infamous for my travel spreadsheets) but I’m also prepared to ditch the plan in order to do something random we just happen across. Some of the most memorable things we’ve ever done on our travels – especially in the US – have been thanks to those random tangents.

    February 7, 2015 at 11:19 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I’ve taken a mini road trip through southern England and would love to do Canada! I agree – getting off the highway and exploring can bring great surprises!!

      February 7, 2015 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply porshe maynard

    Our family is driving from California to South Carolina this summer. With a toddler and a 1 year-old. Can’t imagine the adventure in store for us!

    February 7, 2015 at 11:30 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Have a great time!

      February 7, 2015 at 9:44 pm
  • Reply The Stray Noodle

    You’re trip looks like a dream! After just finishing my trip around New Zealand’s South Island I am so keen to do some more, the US is definitely on my list. Hope you are loving Denver, looks beautiful 🙂

    February 8, 2015 at 9:04 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Thank you! Denver is very very beautiful indeed

      February 9, 2015 at 11:10 am
  • Reply sarahkilbourne4

    I drove cross country with my family a couple times as a kid and absolutely hated it, but now I love road trips! I recently did one in Tasmania and am doing another one in New Zealand next month.

    http://www.leadtoroam.com

    February 10, 2015 at 6:42 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Your upcoming trips sound like they’ll be incredible experiences. Can’t wait to follow along!

      February 10, 2015 at 8:47 am
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