Our summer road trip shapes up

by Kim on March 7, 2012 · 23 comments

Photo by -Patxi Izkue- flickr creative commons

The domestic leg of our trip around the world, our U.S. road trip, is only 76 days away and it’s coming together beautifully.

When I was  a kid the summer seemed to last forever.  The weeks oozed on in a syrupy, humid haze.  Mornings were for tennis lessons, before the day got too hot.  Afternoons I’d trudge to the swimming pool and play Marco Polo until my eyes burned from the chlorine.  In the evenings, I’d roam the backyard, catching fireflies and doing cartwheels in the grass as the last traces of daylight leaked from the sky.

I want that summer back. I want bare feet and sunsets and fireflies.  I want days that stretch on infinitely into the evening.  I want sunscreen and campfires.  I want smores, dammit.  I want picnics.  I want stars.  And at the end of the day I want to be exhausted from playing.  I want to learn how to play again.  That’s what this U.S. summertime road trip is all about.

A few of our road trip highlights:

We’ve booked flights from Ohio (where we’ll be visiting family) to the big apple in early June. I’ve never been to New York City and feel that I can’t embark on a trip around the world without first seeing my own country’s greatest metropolis.  So, we’ve rented a very small apartment in Brooklyn (found on Airbnb for $50 a night!) and armed ourselves with the New York CityPASS.  We are going to tour the crap out of New York.  I can’t wait.

New York City at night


We’ve reserved a rustic pioneer cabin in Yellowstone National Park.  It’s basic, built in the 1920’s, but it’s got a shower, toilet and sink- what more do we really need?

Roosevelt Lodge in Yellowstone National Park


We’ve snagged backcountry permits in Grand Teton National Park and we’ll be backpacking the Teton Crest Trail with our friends Jason and Gillian who will be flying in from Calgary, Canada and their friend Eric who is a native of Wyoming.  A group of five should help keep the grizzlies away, right? (Please, pleeeeeease).

Camping on the Teton Crest Trail


We were granted permits to backpack the Grand Canyon rim to rim! We spent hours sneaking away from our desks to frantically fax our application on the day that permits were released, so I was thrilled to learn that our attempts were successful.  We’ll be tackling this beast in July, when temperatures at the bottom of the canyon can reach 115 degrees F, so we’ll be taking it slow and hiking only in the mornings and evenings (sitting in a 124 degree F sauna counts as training, right?)

A backpacker descends into the Grand Canyon


Finally, we bought tickets for our favorite music festival, Pickathon, right here in Portland, Oregon.  I am most definitely not a music festival fan, but Pickathon is magical.  Imagine small stages tucked away in the woods, Oregon microbrews sold from sheds made of branches and rope, hammocks hung in the forest amongst the ferns, amazing bands playing their hearts out in old barns and, yes, knotty-haired children in tie-dye having the time of their ever-lovin’ lives.  Pickathon is amazing.

A band performs at Pickathon

Other than these planned events, the rest of the summer is wide open.  

Time: The older you get, the bigger the luxury.  


If you happen to be planning your own U.S. road trip, I’ve found these blogs and articles helpful:

Quirky Travel Guy– Adventuring throughout the U.S.

Mike’s Road Trip

A Dangerous Business– Dos and don’t on a Great American Road Trip



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep March 7, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Five is the perfect number for keeping grizzlies away! And remember…we only have to run faster than ONE of them!!


Kim March 7, 2012 at 8:48 pm

So, Gillian, how fast can you run?


Elizabeth Bird March 8, 2012 at 6:25 am

I was thinking about this the other day – as you get older time goes so much faster because its such a smaller part of your life. Think about it – when you are 10 year is 1/10th of your life – it seems like forever. Now that I am 25, 1 year is 1/25th of my life so far and it goes by so fast.

Anyway… I totally agree. Time is the most valuable thing we all have.


Kim March 9, 2012 at 7:58 am

It is so so true that time speeds up as you get older. I never believed it when I was younger but now I know it is true. I also think that time speeds up because the days are the same- get up, go to work, sit in a cube, come home, eat dinner, go to bed- or maybe a slight variation of that. When you look back it’s almost impossible to tell the days apart. Sigh. Anyway- NO MORE!


Carmel March 8, 2012 at 7:34 am

Pickathon sounds like Country Fair with more music…oh, and beer.

I. AM. SO. JEALOUS. That sounds amazing. I think we’re adding on a short road trip prior to traveling, inspired by you. I miss childhood summers…

That’s an amazing deal for NYC. I’ll have to check that out next time we go.


Kim March 9, 2012 at 7:59 am

There’s no beer at the country fair??? I think Pickathon is waaaay less hippy than the country fair. I have heard stories, I tell you.


Carmel March 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

No, there’s no alcohol.

Yeah, it’s pretty out there, but it’s fun. I find myself smiling for no particular reason (and I don’t do drugs) 🙂


Patricia GW March 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

This is so exciting!!! These plans seems more real with every post. The sauna is definitely good Grand Canyon training 😉


Kim March 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

I sit in the sauna and say to myself “okay, now imagine this- with a 40 pound pack.” Hahaha. Totally prepared.


Ali March 8, 2012 at 8:48 am

Sounds like a fun summer! And awesome that you’re meeting up with Gillian! Also check out Val’s (@sillyamerica) site sillyamerica.com for roadtrip stuff. Her site is all about road trips, roadside attractions, and all the bizarre, weird things on the road in the US.


Kim March 9, 2012 at 8:00 am

Thanks Ali!!! I’ve met Val and remember (now) her site. I will definitely check it out.


Traveling Ted March 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

Wow, this is going to be awesome. Can I come with? The rim to rim hike in the Grand Canyon will be awesome. I hiked to the bottom and back a while back and it was AWESOME. Just kidding about stalking you on the road. I will just read about it here 🙂


Kim March 9, 2012 at 8:01 am

Ted, we can’t wait!!! The Grand Canyon was on my bucket list and I am soooo happy to have permits. It was the thing I wanted to do most this summer.


Rhonda March 8, 2012 at 12:45 pm

all sounds amazing…. we can’t wait to hear more details on Saturday!


Kim March 9, 2012 at 8:01 am

Can’t wait to see you guys. Yay pubcrawl.


Erik March 9, 2012 at 11:40 am

I’ve spent the past 10 years visiting the National Parks of the lower 48 states (I’m through 306 of 355) and this is a great way to start your trip. I get flack from a lot of ‘serious’ travelers for doing more US travel than international over the past 10 years, but I don’t regret it at all- this is an amazingly diverse and beautiful country.

The National Parks of the Southwest and Rocky Mountains are especially awesome.


Kim March 11, 2012 at 11:15 am

Erik! 306 out of 355 is amazing. We’re jealous!

Yep, we debated our “starting point” over and over again. We’d always dreamed of doing a long road trip to see the National Parks (well, as many as we can fit) and now is the time. We are as excited about this leg of the trip as we are of all the others.

I have to ask- which NP is your favorite? Or, if you can’t pick one… top 5?


Laura March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I can’t believe you found a little apartment in NY for $50. That’s awesome. Looks like a great way to spend the summer!


Kim March 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

No kidding! Airbnb is amazing!


Michelle April 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Oh cool!! I’m planning a summer US road trip too (hopefully!). Yours looks like it’s going to be really fun!


Kim April 2, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Good luck with your road trip plans. We’re so excited… getting close!


Jenny April 17, 2012 at 6:05 am

Kim and Brian I would be thrilled with just the summer road trip plans but you guys get to keep going! Hurray for you both! What an adventure. Please let us know if you’re coming through the Den. I know we can show you a real good time. Lots of love and safe travels!


Kim April 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Thank you Jenny!!! I would love to come through Denver and see you guys, I know you could show us a good time 🙂 Our time to get out to Yellowstone is pretty regimented but hopefully we can fit in some CO time- to see you AND your beautiful state. Thanks lady.


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