Snippets From The Road: The Vagabond Life

vagabond (n) - a person who wanders from place to place without a home or a job.

So, remember that time my dad and I drove the 1,800+ miles between Colorado and New York twice in less than a month?

Road trip across America

(Note: I apologize for the hot mess that is that Indiana picture. Totally failed.)

I wasn't really planning on blogging about the first road trip, since it was more of a necessity than anything else. But then it happened again and, though it was also a necessity the second time, it sort of became a thing. A thing worthy of being immortalized on the interwebz. But then, between starting my job and the whole Olympics thing, reliving the road trips got put on the back burner.

But today, those long days on the open road finally get their moment in the sun!

I said goodbye to the OTC and Colorado Springs on Christmas Day, driving my stuffed-to-the-gills car to Denver to pick up my dad from the airport. We stayed in Denver that night, where I got a huuuuuge kick out of this:

Dirty hotel shuttle

...and my dad ogled the mountains a lot. The next day, it was up and at 'em bright and early for the first leg of the journey!

Denver, Colorado to Topeka, Kansas

Driving through Kansas is a whooooole lot of nothing, with some windmills and oil drills sprinkled in. It was much hillier than my dad and I expected, but nonetheless, we were loving the wide open spaces. And people are friendly there! Seriously, I adored driving through Kansas!

Topeka, Kansas to Terre Haute, Indiana
Francis Field, University of Washington, St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis Arch
Giant cross in Illinois
Strawberry lemonade at Cracker Barrel

Day two was a good one (except maybe not for the guys dealing with that overturned truck)! We stopped at Francis Field in St. Louis, which hosted the Olympics in 1904, saw what has to be the biggest cross in existence, and ended the day at Cracker Barrel in Terre Haute, Indiana. For the record: my dad beat that brain game. I did not.

Terre Haute, Indiana to Pennsylvania
Columbus, Ohio

When I said I adored driving through Kansas, I wasn't kidding. I have a ton of pictures of the barren plains, and all but zero pictures starting from about Ohio on day three. :P What can I say? I don't find civilization all that interesting! But the city in the picture is Columbus. Because if it isn't documented, did it really happen? Hashtag social media. Also, three state lines in a single day two days in a row felt really accomplished, even if we were in West Virginia for literally under 20 minutes.

Pennsylvania to New York

Apparently day four (or three and a half, since we were only on the road for a few hours) didn't happen, because there are zero photos to prove it, other than the New Jersey state sign. I even missed getting a picture of the "Welcome to New York" sign, because leave it to my home state to ruin my goal of getting all of them. Sigh. But anyway, you'll have to take my word for it!

About a month passes -- set some goals, met two of my heroes (and got my phone stolen in the process), and got a job -- and suddenly I'm finding a roommate on Craigslist, cramming my life back into Buzz and waking up before dawn to retrace our steps. This trip was documented far less meticulously, since we were all about booking it to Colorado as fast as humanly possible so I could move into my apartment and start work ASAP. So we did the drive in three days instead of four. Rock on! (Props to my dad for driving the entire first day of his own free will. #roadwarrior)

Car troubles in Pennsylvania
Rain in Pennsylvania

We ran into some fun weather and windshield wiper issues in Pennsylvania.

Driving through Ohio

It was super flipping cold in Ohio.

Giant cross in Illinois

Saw that giant cross again in Illinois!

Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Stayed at a hotel right across the street from Kauffman Stadium in Missouri.


And finally re-entered Colorado! (Fun fact: the town on the border of Colorado and Kansas is named Kanorado. Creative.)



Our first trip had been flawless, weather-wise. A tiny bit of rain as we neared the east coast, and that was it. Otherwise, it was beautifully sunny and unseasonably warm. The second trip, though? Not so much. It was freezing everywhere, and there was plenty of snow and grossness. Buzz was no longer a maroon car; he was white.

Buzz the car

Blech. I wish I'd gotten a picture before a dewy morning got a lot of the gunk off, 'cause you would not believe how grimy he was.

Buzz the car

But look how cute and happy he was to be back in Colorado! :) He's the smiliest car I've ever seen!

It's an interesting life out there on the road. You learn things, like how to know you're approaching a state line, and that the Burger King in Colby, Kansas significantly upgraded its Coke machine since the last time you were there, and how to properly stretch when the crick in your neck becomes an unbearable inconvenience. And you learn to be really, really appreciative that you have a dad that'll sit through seven backbreaking days in a car with you (and poke around under the hood in below-freezing temperatures when the windshield wiper fluid stops working) and has already committed to doing it again the next time you inevitably have to move.

I highly encourage everyone to take a cross-country road trip if you get the chance to! I'd love to do it again at a leisurely pace and actually get to see the cities we had to just zip through. It's definitely a bucket list type of experience, and I really enjoyed being out on the open road... even that stretch of Kansas that didn't have a classic rock radio station.

Anyone else have road trip experiences they'd like to share? :)
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  1. I can't imagine making two cross-country trips in a month! Hopefully your third will be at a much more leisurely pace ... or swing a little further south :)

    1. Yeah, it was a little trying on everyone's sanity (and my car's transmission)! And yes, fingers crossed for all of the above! :)

  2. From Dad: Good memories! Loved it! Would do it again in a minute, Sweety Muffler!