Monday, August 29, 2016

Light the Sky and Hold on Tight

It’s back to Glacier for part two, which has turned out to be the far more adventurous half of this trip. After meeting back up in the park yesterday, the three of us took a short, not-that-steep hike to two waterfalls.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Alberta, Alberta - Where You Been So Long?

Because there’s a $700 surcharge to rent a car in Montana and return it in Canada, I come to you tonight from Calgary.

Let me explain. Originally, this trip had us flying into Kalispell, renting a car, making our way across Glacier, crossing into Canada to see Banff, and flying out of Calgary. The surcharge effectively ended that idea. Fortunately, I managed to pry enough brain cells away from the Rule Against Perpetuities to come up with a solution: Do half of Glacier, go to Banff, do the rest of Glacier, and return the car in the country from whence it came. In my eyes, an eminently reasonable solution. And one that no one wanted to do. I’m still not entirely sure why the opposition, but in my delicate pre-bar state, I had no patience for people being irrational. The only obstacle keeping us from visiting the Canadian parks was gone, so what was the problem?

In any event, if they wouldn’t do my solution, I’d split off from the group and do it myself. I figured it was a good idea anyway, in the event of a repeat of the Yosemite situation, to give us all a break if needed. It wasn’t really needed, but it did get me the opportunity to see another of the world’s most scenic landscapes. So here’s how that went.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Legend of the Drop Bear

A wise man once told me of the drop bear. A fearsome, yet rarely seen, beast, the drop bear lives among the trees, waiting to strike any prey who dare pass below. When the moment is right, the drop bear, true to its name, strategically drops from the branches onto the unsuspecting passerby. Owing to its unusual largeness, this allows the drop bear to incapacitate and eat its victim. The only known defense to drop bear attacks is to place forks in one’s hair (tines up). 
While Glacier seems to be free of the dreaded drop bear, its grizzly cousins stand ready to “drop in” on park guests almost anywhere, without notice. Over the last two days, they seem to have been circling closer and closer, although I’ve managed to hold them off so far.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Finding My Place

Two years gone. Has it really been that long?

As will probably become clear from these next few posts, in many ways I’m a different person than I was when I took my last blog-worthy road trip a little over two years ago. Although, as I’m frequently reminded, my penchant for hokey sentimentality remains a constant, law school has sucked some of the tolerance for hopeless unbridled optimism and positivity out of me. I’m more inclined now to skip past nonsense and get to the point. I also spend more time doing and less time observing. What does all that mean for a relatively unknown travel blog with new entries coming at roughly the same frequency as new Sherlock episodes? I’m not sure yet. But let’s dive in already.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Only Hate the Road When You’re Missing Home

I’m back.

My return journey, including a compelled overnight stop in New Jersey, has deposited me back in Boston, where I’ll have to settle for this boring view from my apartment:

In the past, the return journey has always carried with it a sense of dénouement – gratitude that this happened but disappointment that it’s over. But this time was different. As must as I enjoyed all the sights and experiences of this trip – and I did – when I took that eastbound ramp onto I-70 out of Terre Haute yesterday, I felt nothing but excitement. I knew that in only 2 days I’d be waking up early and once again stumbling down Mission Hill and up Huntington Avenue towards NUSL. I knew that soon I’d be back in my routine of morning classes, afternoon reading, and evening freedom. I knew I’d soon have the chance to complain about classes and professors to people who felt the same way (or who would tell me I was wrong). And most importantly, I knew that soon I’d see my school friends and classmates again and have the chance to share with them more of the “Breakfast Club moments” that made this year so special – and that every mile I drove would bring me closer to that. My speedometer rarely dipped below 80.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I’ve Got Nothing

Sorry, folks. After hours of thinking it over, I’ve been able to come up with nothing significant to say about today. Maybe it’s that I’m becoming progressively more tired each day, as I stay up later and later to write these things (which does not bode well for next week when classes start again). Maybe it’s that spending time with another person in the car means that I’m spending the driving days having actual human interaction, instead of the kind of pure reflection that tends to produce the best posts here (although when I make the last 2 legs of the journey alone tomorrow and Monday, I’ll have plenty of time to myself). Not that I’m complaining – I’m sure this trip has been better than if I had taken it by myself. It’s just that it may not lend itself as well to blogging.

Friday, May 23, 2014

But Do I Really Feel the Way I Feel?

It’s strange how things work sometimes. The day involving the least walking is the day when I end up the most tired. Granted, my tiredness during a given day isn’t determined by the amount of aggregate exercise done that day, unless my tiredness sensors can somehow predict how much exercise I’ll be getting throughout the rest of the day – in which case, they need to be applying that ability to the useful parts of my brain. In any event, it’s probably the cumulative effect of several long days and of staying up too late to write. So thanks, guys. This is all your fault.

None of that prevented us from having a full busy day as we journeyed from the Midwest through the heart of the South. Tonight we’re in Memphis (and yes, every time I say, hear, or think the name of this city, that song gets stuck in my head. There are definitely worse songs for that to happen with, though). Getting here took us through this trip’s first first-time state – Arkansas. 

I have no pictures of the other 75 miles of Arkansas we traversed today, mainly because the farms there look pretty much the same as the farms in Missouri or Indiana – large and flat. There were some oddly shaped irrigation ditches on some plots, and we had a flyover from a crop duster, but that was about all Arkansas had to offer. Not even a travel center to stop and buy a refrigerator magnet. So on to Tennessee it was.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Do Elephants Lay Eggs?

For a day with an itinerary reading “ribs, Cardinals game” today we managed to cobble together a full slate of St. Louis-iciousness – and one that again left us both thoroughly exhausted. Again we found ourselves walking more than we expected, although we didn’t come anywhere near the 12 miles (Lindsay did the math) that we’d covered in Chicago. And, mercifully, it didn’t rain.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keep On Walking

Ah Chicago, we hardly knew ye. Just as quickly as our time together began, it has come to an end. But before the end, we two travelers checked off 3 items the Quintessential Chicago Experiences list: taking the L, riding the Navy Pier Ferris wheel, and seeing a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

The fact that I have nothing of interest to say about the L probably constitutes a positive review. The best way to explain the view from the Ferris wheel is probably to show it to you:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Electric

This is one of the rare times when I’m at a loss for what to say about today. Not because something so profoundly fantastic or terrible happened, but because so much happened. I was so busy doing today that I never really had time to stop and think of a theme that tied it all together. So, as much as it pains me, today’s Chicago adventure will have to take the form of a bed-to-bed story.

It began with a 150-mile trip north through western Indiana. Since the designers of the interstate highway system failed to consider the importance of a high-speed linkage between Terre Haute and Chicago, we had to slum it and take a lowly U.S. Highway instead. Except, in parts of the country like this, I sometimes prefer those over some cold Interstate. Because they’re not limited-access, there are interesting things along the side of the road. Plus, these roads aren’t subject to interstate highway rules, so they’re free to go in a completely straight line with no bends whatsoever, all the way to the horizon.