Welcome to my blog!
(Wow. I feel old and out of touch by saying it that way, but there it is.) This is mainly just an introductory post to help me get the hang of things and work out the kinks.
This will be the first time in almost 10 years that I make a concerted effort to do daily writing of any kind (I know I still kept a camp journal my first summer working at Kutz, but I don’t remember how long I kept it up after that). What’s the occasion that’s prompted me to give it another shot? This occasion:
What you see above is the almost-9,000 mile, 20-state, 38-day adventure that I meticulously carved out for myself for this summer. Here’s the plan:
In a few hours I head down to my “base camp,” otherwise known as my parents’ house in New Jersey. Then I head west towards Colorado Springs, where I’ll drive up Pike’s Peak. From there, I cross the Rockies and turn south into Utah, stopping at Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks. Then I move into Arizona, strategically routing myself through Monument Valley, before finding my way to the Grand Canyon. After about a day there, I move on to Las Vegas (which should provide a bit of culture shock). Making my way to California, I’ll pass through Death Valley and head north, crossing the Sierra Nevada before turning back east into Yosemite National Park. After camping there for 2 nights, I’ll spend a day in Sequoia National Park before driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco. From there I’ll continue up Highway 1 into Oregon, stopping at Crater Lake. Then it’s on to Portland, where I’ll take a day trip to Mt. St. Helens before moving on to Mt. Rainier National Park. After that, it’s back east through Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, on the way to the Black Hills (conveniently the same week as the Sturgis rally. Lucky me.) Then I spend a day in Chicago before finally, hopefully, mercifully, finding my way back to New Jersey.
Simple, right? Without a full-time teaching job this past year, I had a lot of free time to work this thing out.
The original plan was for me to bring Gordo, my 12-pound neurotic maltipoo, with me a la Travels With Charlie. Except that the dog hates the car. When my parents graciously offered to dogsit for the summer, I had to weigh carefully whether he would be happier locked in a car, occasionally spending the night in a kennel or spending a month peeing on my parents’ carpet, albeit without me. Once I realized that the former would also entail him sitting at ear level whining for 9,000 miles, the choice was easy.
So why have I decided to take the plunge and blog about this trip? A few reasons. I’ve never been to any of the places I’ll be visiting over these next 5 weeks. I want to have a record of my first impressions of sights like the Grand Canyon (To that end, I’m going to try to do more than just describe each day. I want to focus more on my interactions with the things I see). I also want to share this trip with people I know who aren’t coming with me (which includes you and every non-me person you know). Honestly, it’s too cool of an adventure to keep to myself. When I share it like this, it doesn’t count as bragging, right? My other main reason for doing all this writing is that, in the course of trying to figure out the best way to book-ize my grandmother’s recipes that I’ve spent the past 9 months editing (Yes, that DOES count as bragging). I stumbled onto a few sites that allow you to make hard-bound real-life books out of blogs. I really like the idea of being able to hold my summer in my hand and to have it for years and years.
However, I have to give a disclaimer now: I’m not at all sure how long I’ll be able to keep this thing going. I tried not to overstuff each day, but I know there are bound to be days when I’m too tired, when I can’t think of anything interesting to write or when I encounter technical difficulties/ (Note about that last one: my goal is to WRITE every day. I know there will be days when I can’t get my hands on the internet, so posting might be delayed. But I’ll do my best.)