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