Our Road Trip West
As I alluded to in an earlier post, this year we took a road trip out west. After contemplating what kind of vacation we wanted to do this year, we determined that we have never really taken a road trip together nor have we really spent much time discovering other US states. We decided that we wanted to visit my brother and his family in Salt Lake City, UT, but we did not want to drive the most direct route, interstate 80, which also happens to be the most boring drive. So we came up with a route that would be a little more scenic and give us a lot more things to do along the way.
The second part of preparation was coming up with a budget. With the cost of gas around $4.00 per gallon, we knew that was going to be the major expense of our trip. To help cut costs, we decided that we would sleep in the car. Now, I have slept in a car on road trips before and it isn’t pleasant, however, we were going to be taking our Honda Element which allows both front and back seats to fold down flat. They make great beds. After testing the make-shift beds, but never really spending a night on them, we decided that would work. And it actually did work quite well. Now that we were going to be sleeping in the car, we mapped out a collection of state parks that we could stop at to sleep. They were much quieter than a truck stop. So we did have a small budget to pay for camping, but it was worth it.
Overall the trip was a great success. There were days when we had to drive for almost 10 hours, but we came prepared with a lot of things to do in the car and we took turns driving frequently. We experienced just about every kind of weather imaginable: severe thunderstorms in Missouri, high winds in Kansas, snow in the mountains, hail in SLC, hot temperatures in Southern Utah, and cold temperatures in Yellowstone. We saw some amazing natural scenery and a lot of wildlife. It constantly amazes me how diverse this country is from state to state. And when we had finally pulled in the driveway at home after being away for 11 days, we had driven just shy of 4,000 miles. For a trip that we were really unsure about even up until the week before we left, it ended up being an incredible vacation. We enjoyed every bit of the trip and if we had more time, we probably would have extended it.