February 27, 2012

Just Like Phish Heads, But With Less Body Odor

I have a never-ending list of wants.

I know my life is pretty good and I'm not complaining, but I'm definitely that person who never feels like there's enough time/money to do what I want to do, and I'm pretty much always sure that people are having more fun than I am. One time, I took an impromptu long-weekend trip to Hawaii with a coworker. Tom decided to visit his mom in North Carolina while I was gone. And I was SO upset. Why couldn't he wait for me to be available to go to North Carolina? Even as I was on the beach eating a sno-cone, I kept thinking about Tom hanging out in NC and was jealous. Ridiculous, right? I suppose I can be a grass-is-greener person. I'm really working on getting better at that - enjoying what I have and what I'm doing - which I expect needs to be a lifelong focus for me.

Anyway - we've mentioned that we're driving cross-country before we go abroad for The Trip and I feel like I'll have the opportunity to check off a lot of the 'wants' from my never-ending list. I'm psyched for the amazing countries we'll visit and the new cultures we'll learn about, but I'm also pretty excited for a long roadtrip with Tom. It's one of my favorite things to do and, even when we travel, I seem to be happiest when we've rented a car and are driving around, trying to decipher road signs and taking chances on roadside food. And there are still SO many places in the U.S. that I haven't explored. Not to mention, we'll get to visit SO many of our friends and family along the way.

We checked out a book from the library called Off the Beaten Path that lists tons of unique, less-touristy places to visit across the US, and I have no doubt there are more books out there on the topic. I plan on seeing the most beautiful things that the country has to offer, as well as visiting the country's smallest cow/person/house, the biggest ball of earwax, and I'm going to eat the country's best cheeseburger, drink the best cup of coffee and swim in the biggest natural spring. You get my drift.

Here's an approximate route for our cross country adventure:

Since you probably weren't paying attention in Mrs. Roger's 10th grade geography class and are having trouble connecting the dots, I'll give a little more explanation. It's a big country, so I'll break this up into 2 posts.

The first part of our trip is camping/nature heavy. I love camping with Tom. I like group camping, too, but I love camping with just the 2 of us even more. There's something so calming about making our own little home/sanctuary in the woods together. And I can't wait to see these beautiful places with him. We're definitely going to get the National Parks Annual Pass because we are going to hit up national parks like Phish Heads following a summer tour.

We live in San Francisco. From here, we'll head south. I'd like to head to Santa Cruz to check out the Beach Boardwalk and Natural Bridges State Beach, then off to Monterey and Carmel before we go inland. Maybe we'll spend some time in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks (where we camped on my birthday once and almost got eaten by a bear in the middle of the night), and our last stops in CA will be camping around Joshua Tree and maybe Mojave National Preserve where I'll freak the eff out if we see any snakes and probably cancel the rest of The Trip.
Joshua Tree
Next, it's THE FREAKING GRAND CANYON! I've never been and I'm pretty excited. I'm going to stand on the edge and yell into the great wonder. I'm going to marvel at the earth's exquisite beauty.
The GC
I've even going to walk out on that crazy walkway. And I'm probably going to wear a diaper because it looks SO scary and I don't think I can fully trust my nerves.

We'll finish up in Arizona with a visit to the Navajo National Monument to see the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people. I love this stuff.

Where next? Utah, where we'll check out Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We'll head into Moab, Utah, to see the incredible arches and canyons. Seriously, don't these pictures BOGGLE the mind?

Colorado is next - into Durango and Telluride (because Tom loves them both), before we go up to Denver to visit some friends (Colvin!) and then to Boulder (where we used to live), where my plans revolve entirely around food. I plan on eating at Pasta Jay's (where I used to work). I am going to eat all of my favorites. I'm salivating thinking about it. I also want to get a burger from Dark Horse, a breakfast sandwich from Deli Zone, and margaritas from The Rio. It's all going to be fantastic! 

From this point on, the camping/nature is over and we'll be mostly staying with friends and family for the rest of the trip, and Tom and I will each get to revisit the glory days from our high school and college years, visit my BFFs and finally take a stroll down Middle Path. (teaser)

Stay tuned...

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