Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summary


Dude, this was awesome!

States: IL,MO,KS,CO,NM,AZ,UT,NV,CA,
OR,WA,ID,MT,WY,SD,MN,WI,...IL
Miles: 7,516.11
Weather: Relatively Nice... NICE!!!


$$$

Total: 2,140.45

Signatures: 58

We've been told this is the best thing to do after high school, with two other friends, to go on a road trip. We've been told advice from across the helpful list, to write books, and good luck. We've met people you'd never think we would ever meet, seen people you'd think we'd never see, and have plainly interacted with people in ways we never thought we would ourselves. I believe we've changed for the better: We've been jaded, excited, awed, delirious, hungry, hurt, depraved, scared, and ecstatic. These emotions in the different places we've been in such a short time is what creates the character and personality within us. Dude! We've experienced more in 18 days than some will in a lifetime! I loved this trip, and I'm sad it's over. Truly i believe this was an amazing experience. Dude, this was awesome!

MJ

Well, what to say about the trip as a whole... there's so much to say that I can't possibly squeeze it all into one paragraph, but I will attempt to anyways. We had an AMAZING time. Honestly, I couldn't have hoped for things to work out better. We had our fair share of disagreements, but we didn't let those get to us. There are so many things about this trip that I will never forget...how could I? The success of this trip was measured, in my opinion, by the number of great people we met and spent time with, and by the sheer beauty and grandeur of the places we went. The experiences we shared while on this trip cannot be reproduced. To be honest, I can only be grateful for how lucky I am to say that I had the opportunity to see all of these places (places I never thought I would see all of, let alone on one trip), and that I saw them with two of my greatest friends. There are loads of stories to tell (so if you care to know, just ask), but that's about I have to say for now. It's been fun writing to you all. Dude, this was awesome!

Matt

From the beggining I was very excited about a trip to the west, with my two best friends. Over two years of planning we finally hit the road in the early morning on the 15th of June. I was so excited I didn't sleep. (I was awake for 36 hours!) The whole time I was filled wih wonder and awe of the vast America that we live in. I never thought I would experience so much in so little time. It was truley an AWESOME experience. I enjoyed all of it. YES! Dude, this was awesome!

Phil

Lessons Learned

- Don't bring a portable bench... it's completely pointless.
- All national monuments are rip-offs.
- Allow more time at each place and not more things in less time. You'll get jaded.
- Expect the unexpected... trust that one!
- Never think nothing will happen on an unplanned day...NEVER!
- You will always have fun on a road trip... always...

The Signatures

We didn't get a hundred, but that's not the point. Our goal was to meet and talk to people who meant something to us. People we actually had conversations with, helped us, or we just got a good impression from. We actually met hundreds of people, but only some of them met these requirements. We didn't want nobodys (pardon those people hehe) signing our Memo Book of meaning.

Conclusion


Dude, this was awesome!

Day 18: "Homebound"


Will we ever be the same? No, never...

States: Wisconsin - Illinois
Miles: 200
Weather: Cloudy, but we saw the sun!



$$$

Going Home Meal: 67

Total: 67

Signatures: Don't ask... 58/100

Matt wakes up... Mj wakes up... Phil wakes up. Matt goes to get book, Matt finds MJ wading in the river. A very relaxed noon. Bacon is cooked... 36 pieces to be exact. Phil works on car. Matt and MJ read in the hammocks. Phil wanders and wonders. Matt and MJ canoe with a large plack of wood and red spicket with a nail for oars. Current too hard come back to Phil lying in car. Get in car and look for the beach. Too much effort and return to the cabin. Matt and MJ play checkers and chess. Matt loses. We decide to leave.

We eat at Moretti's. An excellent going home eat. We go home... The adventure is over. And what an adventure it was!

Matt/MJ/Phil

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Day 17: "To Quincy's Quiet Acres"


How did we fall into this tourist trap?

States:South Dakota - Minnesota - Wisconsin
Miles: 739.7
Weather: Cloudy



$$$
Gas: 133.89
Ice: 2.07

Total: 135.96

Signatures: +0
58/100

Well, here we are, another day into our trip, and still experiencing new things. We wake up in our nice, cozy little motel room (yeah, right…) approximately ninety minutes late, as has become the norm. We clean the room, shower (once again, a necessity), and hit the road for a long day of driving.

We leave Rapid City, devouring the rest of the cold pizza from the night before to get us going. We drive the short distance (roughly sixty miles) to the famous Wall Drug Store of Wall, South Dakota, and feel extremely touristy is doing so. What I have heard from other travelers is true, you really do see an incredible amount of signs for this place when you get within fifty miles or so…It’s obnoxious, but keeps us somewhat entertained during our morning drive. Upon our arrival, we browse Wall Drug for a short while (which is a massive store, by the way), and then head back to the car, as we had received our tourist fix for the day in a matter of minutes.

So back onto the road we went, with our only goal in mind being to reach Quincy, Wisconsin by this evening. We pass through the rest of South Dakota and into Minnesota, which is an entirely uneventful drive. Phil has the desire to drive much of the way today, which MJ and I clearly do not object to, as it allows us valuable time to read and sleep. (For those who care to know, MJ finished Dark Star Safari, and is now reading Life of Pi, and I finished In Cold Blood, and am now reading On the Road).

We reach Wisconsin around 8:30 p.m. and proceed towards Quincy, as we are now in familiar territory. It’s a bit sad though, as I almost feel as though we are not on our road trip anymore, but rather a simple weekend camping trip to our beloved northerly neighbor. We arrived in Quincy as it was getting dark, set up camp on the shore of the Wisconsin River just outside of a cabin, and cooked a scrumptious dinner of instant potatoes. The cabin belongs to Maurissa (thanks so much for letting us use it!!), but we were not able to go inside, as we did not have access to a key. No matter, all was well in the world of roadtripping. After a nice evening of campfire talk, we went to bed a few minutes after midnight.


Matt

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 16: "A Few More Stops"


"Road rage, twisters, and dumpy bungalows… you guys, this is awesome..."


States: Montana - Wyoming - South Dakota
Miles: 786.5
Weather: Hot and Rainy


$$$
Gas: 128.10
Pizza: 10.70
Motel: 37

Total: 175.80

Signatures: +0
58/100

An aquatic sunrise: The blue grandeur of the morning that most of our people miss. I wander through the brisk air alone taking in the flood of the esthetic milieu. The river heard throughout the night is a crystalline mirror reflecting the fiery white leaking over the horizon and streaming into the pearly black riptide. The stars are slowly closing their eyes as the birds and insects sing dawn’s hymn. I walk back through the still sleeping trees to Matt and Phil… I wait standing on the bench for the alarm to go off… a loud bang echoes in the distance, disrupting the whispering winds and causing havoc amongst a flock of birds in the distance. The phone goes off a minute later and we are on the road. A successful Camp n’ Run. The sky is beaten with an array of colours: violets, blues, and tints of green. As soon as we cascade through the womb of the mountain a fiery fa├žade explodes among our shadowed faces. This is what morning is, an element of its own. The majority of us are enclosed by walls when the eye is shaken or simply it is that we wake up late. Sadly I’m among them, but this morning is the first we’ve been able to see this entire trip.

So we ride, just a day of nothing planned, just like yesterday. No plans, but of course, events. Today we see something most unusual on the highway. We’re out taking a pic of the Wyoming sign and we hear honks from across the meridian separating the lanes. We get a glimpse of a Maroon Ford Taurus driving on the wrong side, fast! We instantly hop in and I hit the gas, keen on seeing what’s up. All three of us are pretty speculative about what’s happening and just want to see what this person is doing. We soon are riding parallel to them which turned out to be a “her”. They are driving fast and we see semi’s driving by calling someone on their phones (the police we’re guessing). We see cars changing lanes ASAP when they see this crazy coming at them. There was a truck pulling a little motor home that couldn’t get out of the way. We gasped a little, but the lady swerved off the side of the road and burned out. We saw smoke and she tried to get back on and keep going! INSANE! We called the cops but they already knew, we just gave them a more specific location. This lady could have killed someone! So we drove on losing her. We saw about five cops racing the direction she was last seen and that was that.

We drive on. We decided in Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower: a monstrous butte out in the middle of nowhere (how did it get there?). It was typical except for the fact that we drove by two ‘mirage’ like tornadoes, which were clearly there. There were also some grey twisters attempting birth but we noticed they miscarried instead. That was a little creepy, but we had to see this butte! It rained! We hadn’t felt rain since day 4 when we slept in the middle of nowhere and hadn’t seen any since day 1 on the way to St. Louis. O yeah, hopes all is well with the storms back home.

Next stop: Rapid City. Let’s face it, we’re cheap. Yes, we saw Mt. Rushmore but we didn’t enter, because it cost money. It wasn’t as big as I thought it was though. It was cool though but I’m sure if it wasn’t raining the four faces would’ve been a little happier too. J We then saw Crazy Horse. Of course we saw it only from a distance, because it cost too much to go up close and personal. The story is the Sioux Indians have been carving this thing for sixty years and are still in the making.

So where are we now? Sleeping wise that is. Well… hehe… no freaking out, but you know those movies with the flea-ridden motels that are sort of dumpy that people stay at just for some rest? Yeah that’s where we are. It’s a little eerie, smells like smoke, one bed, missing fire alarm, and the bathroom has no fan. It’s perfect! It stopped raining. People are hitting the hay and so are we. Mighty night!

MJ


Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 15: "Turning Back"


“Did we seriously just waste 2 hours trying to find a giant wagon with a slide?....Yup”
States: Washington - Idaho - Montana
Miles: 703.4
Weather: Warm and Sunny


$$$
Gas: 89.53
Ice: 1.69
Parking: 0.40


Total: 91.62

Signatures: +0
58/100

I open my eyes in (what I thought was) the early morning sun. Ahh a good night sleep. I check my phone for the time. 10 o’clock. Well that’s okay, we didn’t set an alarm. We depart 30 minutes later and head back again to Seattle to see the University of Washington campus (Matt forgot last time) and then headed to I-90. How could we possibly get lost? While in Spokane we tried to find a giant red wagon, (you know like you had when you were a kid?) We finally found it, but before we could park we had to navigate all the one way streets. On our way from the car to the wagon, we walked through the downtown area of Spokane, which I must say did not appeal to me at all. Just before of arrival at the wagon a girl told us to “have a seat, and watch the fight.” There was a fight between two girls about to go down. After that, we drove a bunch, first Matt, then MJ, then finally late at night me. We talked and snacked, and listened to music while we traveled along. (Again we forgot about eating dinner!) We settled on Beavertail Creek State park. We drove under the starry & moonlit night to a empty camp site and slept under the twinkling stars….Goodnight to all and to all a goodnight of rest!

Phil


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 14: "Seattle"


Hey, wait a minute, the belly dancers are behind us and that pink float is in front of us... how did we end up here?

States: Washington
Miles: 162.4
Weather: A little chilly at times, but sunny all day! What are the odds of that in Seattle?

$$$
Gas: 43.21
Camping Fee: 15
Space Needle: 50.40

Total: 108.61

Signatures: +0 :(
58/100

So as you already know, we spent last night at a Motel 6. Let me just say, it was an EXCELLENT night of sleep. We set an alarm for eight a.m., but did not wake up to it. Instead, we awoke to the sounds of the couple in the room next to us screaming at each other about something at approximately ten a.m. What fun, we overslept again, and though we needed it, we were still slightly disappointed.
In addition to sleep, the motel also provided such other necessities as showers and laundry. We all showered, but left without doing laundry because the machines were all in use, and would remain that way for some time...bummer.
Anyways, we made our way back into the city of Seattle, where we parked our car and headed towards the monorail station. Our plan was to take the monorail from downtown Seattle to the Space Needle, but on the way to the station, we were slightly distracted by the Gay Pride Parade going on. We decided to follow the parade instead, and thought it was awesome, from the flags and banners, to the belly dancing lesbians, to the free samples of Starbucks instant coffee!
Eventually, we reached the Needle, and took the outdoor elevator up to the top, which I might add is open air. It was awesome, and gave us some great views of the city and Mount Rainier. After reading about the history of the Needle, we went back down and took the monorail from there towards downtown again. After some more walking about the city and the shoreline (where we saw a group of oldtimers playing classic rock on one of the piers), we headed back to the car.
From there, we went pretty much directly to Mount Rainier, as we were all still really tired, and it was getting to be late afternoon. It took more than an hour to get there, and upon arriving, we proceeded (in our tired delirium) to throw an empty milk jug at each other and use the tent poles as swords (until one of them broke...whoops). After that, we actually got down to the business of setting up camp and cooking dinner (hot dogs and soup... what fun!) For the second time in a row, the hot dogs, when cooked over the fire, developed this black oily residue, which we discovered was from the sap in the evergreen wood (adding to the previously excellent flavor... sort of). Anyways, we ate them, cleaned up, and then read in the tent until sleep overcame us all. Goodnight.

Matt