I recently returned home from a 3,000-mile, eight–state road trip through the western United States.
We started in Washington state and drove through Oregon on our way to California, where we visited San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. From there we headed to Las Vegas, Nevada, then into Arizona, and up through Utah, Idaho, and Montana before heading home.
To some people, this might sound like a form of torture, considering the trip included my whole family – my wife, my 7-year-old son, and my 4-year-old daughter. The trip at first was supposed to include just Disneyland, and more than one person asked, “Why didn’t you just fly?”
Well, for the price of one plane ticket we bought enough gas to see eight states. And you can’t get pictures like this from an airplane:
And I did learn a few things from this trip, too:
- In some towns, there are tractor dealerships much bigger than Chevy dealerships.
- Finding a Honda or Toyota dealership in rural America is nearly impossible. Buick, Ford, and Chevy, though, are everywhere.
- Washingon and Oregon highways are dominated by Ford F-250 Super Dutys. Once you get into central California, the F-250s are gradually replaced by RX 350s.
- There aren’t any dirty Lexus vehicles on California’s highways. We even turned it into a game: Find a Dirty Lexus.
- Sometimes an enormous bug splatter is just plain funny. Gross, but funny.
- Just because a city is listed on a sign telling how far away it is doesn’t mean that city has a bathroom. Sometimes the “city” is just a guy’s garage. Especially in Montana.
Before the trip, I was sure my family would come back ready for a break from each other. Instead, we’re all closer. I honestly don’t think that would’ve have happened had we flown to California. Instead of stressing about making our flights and waiting in security lines, we read books and played games. Instead of a quick 3-day Disneyland trip, we saved money AND turned it into a 12-day adventure.
I think it’s time to bring back the family road trip. We’re always so focused on arriving at our destination that we forget to enjoy our journey. So get out there, fellow cargurus, and take a drive.
Just be sure to tell me if you see a Lexus that needs a wash.
Do you have any road trip stories? I’d love to hear about your adventures!