Ten days in ten states. Technically eleven, if you count my stressful layover in Minneapolis, where the lovely women at the gate told me to come back in thirty minutes to see if I was to get a seat because, "there's a bit of a situation right now.."
A half hour and one large beer later, I was waiting back in line when out of the corner of my eye, I spot a folding table being set up and the smell of delicious pizza wafted on over in my direction. Minneapolis' airport felt so bad about over-booking the flight to Seattle that they were giving away an INSANE amount of pizza. So, grabbing a slice as well as the very last ticket in the middle seat of the final row, I was ready to board.
Day 1: Seattle, WA
One of the cleanest cities I've ever been to. Everything is very modern, community gardens are very popular, and of course, the coffee is great. I was introduced to my very first toddy, aka not the alcoholic hot toddy, but cold brew coffee. The process of using cold water ends up creating a flavorful, concentrated coffee much less acidic than regular, hot brewed coffee.
My cousin's stomping grounds for 4-5 years while he attended school. This one was fun because not only did I have a personal tour guide, but I was able to get a thrifted leather jacket as smooth as butter for $40. Not my cheapest of finds, but it fit so well I couldn't pass it up.
Bypassing Portland for sake of timing, we headed on down to Salem to spend the night on his buddy's farm. Surrounded by vineyards and farmland was definitely not what I expected from this place at all. Wineries were aplenty when we checked the map.
Day 3: The Pacific Coast Highway & Redwoods
Speeding down the Pacific Coast highway whilst trying to stop at every beautiful spot along the way to drink it all in brought us to the Redwood Forest with about a half hour of daylight left, struggling to filter through the dense trees. We did the part before the more-traveled piece between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the views were still just as stunning with half the amount of cars wedged into the scenic overlook parking lots.
Day 4: San Francisco
We were able to take a quick detour through to Battery Spencer to really get a good look at the bridge. And boy was it wiiiiiindy!
Day 5: Los Angeles to Phoenix
Big day of travel over here. Drove two hours into the heart of LA traffic. Stopped to see an old friend of mine near Manhattan beach for some good food and great beers, we made the long haul trek to Phoenix, AZ. There we were greeted by the friendliest dog and his owner & company where I promptly fell asleep in a hammock outside. It was perfect.
Day 6: Sunsets in New Mexico
This deserves its own post and I cannot wait to share it. It was one of the only states we didn't stay in, yet left the biggest impact on me. I can see why people brag about the sunsets here, it was unlike anything I've ever experienced.
San Antonio, Texas
This place was packed on a Friday night with tourists, but the Riverwalk is where it was at for some Tex-Mex and hearty margaritas. We quickly discovered that the better places are always the ones tucked away, up the stairs and off the street.
Day 8: New Orleans
Cheap drinks and swing dancing is all I'm going to say for now. That, and this place has to be one of the more unique places I've ever visited with it's brightly painted houses sitting next to completely dilapidated homes. That, and the stores that are grocery store on the bottom and party stores on the top, shelves stuffed with beads and feather boas.
Day 9: Walking around NOLA & Tallahassee-
The culture is vibrant in New Orleans and the air of the place screams, "we do what we want" here and Tallahassee surprised me in the most pleasant way possible with its abundance of old oak trees covered in Spanish moss and thriving music scene.
Day 10- Jacksonville, Florida
We ended our road trip officially by dipping our toes into the Atlantic whilst admiring the double rainbow forming. Here is where I was able to visit some familiar faces, play bingo at the bar and learning how to (finally) eat Pho. I say goodbye to Bryan & family and head back up to Connecticut.
It was a whirlwind of a trip and one that makes me glad I wrote every insignificant detail down just so I could keep track of the days, because boy, do they start to blend together after awhile. Would I do it again with only ten days to spare? Absolutely not. You forget how much time will be spent stopping for bathroom breaks, food, gas, and actually seeing things. I was glad to see parts of the United States I had never laid eyes upon before, but I think next time I'll double the days needed. At the very least.