Ages before India, a year before Europe, I had a simple wish: to see America—to walk its canyons and ride its byways and glimpse the great glaciers of the north while there were still great glaciers of the north to see. And so I packed my tent and changed my oil and hit the road, just another young man on a quest across America. The Great American Roadtrip.
Some things were different. I drove a scooter, not a car; I rode around America, not across it. America meant North America—a dip into Mexico and a leg across Canada—but otherwise it was the same old trip one million times over, 15,000 miles spread not-so-evenly across two life-changing months, the best two months I've ever had.
This summer, let's make it one million and one. Or one million and one-half, or one million and one-quarter, or whatever—this return to the West will be abridged, but the adventure won't be. Some things will be different: sans scooter, plus car, and plus one very special companion to share it all with. Some things will be the same: there will be Zion, and there will be Arches, and there will be the amber of the Yellowstone and the sparkling blue of Crater Lake and the ashy black of the Bristlecones.
We leave mid-June: a flight to Vegas and then a long, beautiful drive to canyon country. We'll meander through Arizona and Utah before heading north to Wyoming, and then away we go toward Oregon, a great westward arc to Portland before we wind south toward the Sierras: Lassen, Yosemite, Bishop, Death Valley, and everything in between. It's an ambitious trip: twelve national parks, seven national monuments or forests or recreation areas, and a whole host of little towns and cities along the way—all in sixteen short, summery days.
We'll fly back from Vegas and return to DC on the afternoon of July 4th, the very same time and day Rousseau and I rolled back into Washington two years earlier (if it weren't so terribly coincidental, it'd be terribly cliché). More to come—obviously—but for now the flights are booked and the car is booked and the two-person tent is on its way. The mountains are calling (again), and it's time to go.
|A very rough (and very inaccurate) route.|