As we booked it across Indiana and Ohio late Sunday evening intent on finishing our road trip, fireworks displays lit our path. The inadvertent fanfare was a novel way to return home.
It made it easier. See, I have a confession to make: I’m never in the best of moods coming back East after being out West. In fact, I can be rather petulant – like a 6-year-old who’s told that she has to switch from consecutive meals of Cocoa Puffs and ice cream to Brussels sprouts and anchovies.
Go ahead and laugh, if you’d like. I know it’s a bit extreme.
But this time was different, and I’m going to give credit where it’s due: to my traveling friends (all of us are pictured).
Perhaps you noticed the headline and thought, “Wow, this girl’s weird.” … To which, I respond, “You don’t know the half of it.” Er, I digress. Again.
Actually, you have one of the other road trippers to thank for that one (she will remain nameless to protect her identity).
It’s these moments that make a trip memorable. Driving through a tiny Nebraska town, searching for its one gas station, nameless friend glances at a sign and bursts out, “Free worms!” (*pause*) Double take, then more subdued, “I mean, fireworks.”
Needless to say, when you’re punchy from driving across hundreds of miles of nothing much, such an occurrence is priceless. Especially on Independence Day/Fourth of July weekend.
We left a trail of “free worms!” across five states.
I have dozens of memories like that from this trip, thanks to my friends. It made it like no other road trip I’ve done, and I’m thankful.
It could have been a painful experience. We started with two, picked up the third in Dayton and drove to Rapid City where the fourth flew in just before we headed to Sheridan and Bozeman. In Bozeman, we bid farewell to one of our number when she flew out, before the final three of us finished the rest of the trip.
In other words, there were a lot of moving parts. Just one out of sync or another not fitting correctly, and I might not be writing such a glowing review.
I’m also thankful for the friends I had the privilege to see during our travels and the places we were able to go. Looking back, I’m amazed at the extended community I have spread out all over the West. It’s a testimony to the journey I’ve had since college. Sometimes crazy, sometimes wonderful, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
To recap, we covered roughly 4,400 miles or this route. We tallied 47 state license plates; we missed the pesky Connecticut, New Hampshire and Hawaii.
Oh well, we’ll get them on the next trip.