Mandi and I flew out to Michigan to pick up our dear friend Erica who had just graduated college and needed to get back to Zion, which meant driving her car home. We flew into Detroit, Michigan and started our trek.
Loved: Ann Arbor is such a gorgeous college town. The school itself breathes history and richness that is beyond wealth. It’s a mix of education and status ranking…and money. The buildings were architecture gems with the music school being the shape of a piano, and the library having leather upholstered doors and great rooms similar to Oxford and Cambridge. Big plus, it had squirrels everywhere. It was so fun to see where Erica has lived for the last four years. The food was great, her friends were better, and this trip cemented an 8 year friendship.
Loved less: Detroit was a very sad city. We went to an art exhibit in a very abandoned part of town which had put creepy stuffed animals and junk in abandoned houses. If you want to experience recession, walk over to Detroit.
Loved: Truth is I had completely forgotten that we drove through Indiana so I loved how short the drive was.
Loved less: How sad the forgotten people of Indiana must be when they realize their state is neglected.
Loved: Chicago! It was such a fun city, and so fun to experience it with two of my best friends. We walked down millennium mile, had deep dish pizza, went shopping, and took the most amazing boat tour. It’s a boat tour that goes on the Chicago River, and describes all of the architecture. The buildings there are amazing, and it’s rumored that Oprah was hanging out there when we were there too.
Loved less: That we didn’t get to spend much time there and that I was driving into the city with a stick car in stop-and-go traffic for 90 min.
Loved: The rolling hills and the sunshine.
Loved less: That I didn’t get to see the corn fully ripe in these fields. I am sure they look beautiful.
Loved: Getting out of that city.
Loved less: The b&b we stayed at. True story, we rolled up far into the night on a deserted road to find a very secluded house, with possible murderers lurking in the bushes, and realized that was where we were sleeping for the night. It got far worse when Mandi and I looked into our room and saw the 30+ clowns who were looking at us with menacing glares. Once the music box with murder themed songs started to play we considered ourselves dead. It’s amazing we got out.
Loved: Experiencing the true west. Dirt, dirt, and more dirt.
Loved less: That we were still driving at this point, a drive which took us 24 hours in the car. Good thing we had podcasts, music, and as always a political/controversial conversation happening.
All throughout the trip we realized we were missing the other member of our posse-miss Kellee Marie Cook. She was in NYC doing an internship. She was there with two other candy shoppers (Reb and Ky) and I knew that I had to get out and party with them. So after I got home I was off to NYC!
Loved: Seeing my friends who I had missed more than anything. Loved the beach, the Broadway show Jersey Boys, food (Max Brenner, La Esquina, Stardust, Grimaldi’s , Brooklyn ice cream….the list could easily go on).
Loved Less: Cooney island freak show, the price of taxis, the heat of the subway, and not being able to buy everything I saw in the stores.
After New York, Ky, Kel and I hurried off to meet my parents in D.C. The only way to travel is the megabus. Yup, that classy bus was a $15.00 trip, and 5 hours of road-tripping fun.
Loved: One of my best friends was from this state and I always heard stories from him about it. I loved driving through and seeing how green it was.
Loved Less: How short the trip was and how much I wanted to see there.
D.C. (technically not a state…)
Loved: Everything. I felt like home. I loved the vibe of the city—politics, shopping, politics, and people who wear really classy clothes. For those who didn’t know, I was obsessed with the show The West Wing, and am even more so now. I loved having ky and kel there and randomly Erica was in town so we went to dinner. (Big shout out to Mike and Dottie for housing us and letting me hang out with them there!) Loved hanging out with my parents, seeing museums, using the great underground system, and shopping in Georgetown. We went on a great tour of the capitol and just hung out!
Loved Less: That I knew I had to go home. New goal: move there.
Loved: Driving through a little bit of the state that will, eventually, become my home.
Loved less: That we just drove through it.
The triplets (a term ky, kel and I gave ourselves) went with my parents to Gettysburg.
Loved: Having a dad who literally knew everything about everything there. Loved experiencing the sacrifice of the soldiers during the civil war, and loved the prose of President Lincoln. Loved laughing with Ky and Kel, all of us college graduates and still sticking around with my rents.
Loved Less: That the tour took a really long time (like 6 hours) and though I love learning, it was a bit much.
America is BIG. Trust me, I drove across it. These trips were great because of the fun cities and things to do, but mostly because of the amazing people in my lives who I got to experience them with. As my friends start to get married, and with me moving in August, it was so fun to be able to do such cool things with them this summer. Making memories that will last a lifetime, and being able to truly appreciate the incredible influence they've had on my life makes me wonder if USU has anyone who is half as incredible to spend my time with. So, on to planning future trips that will be just as exciting.