What I learned while traversing the country with my mom and sister in a rented minivan...
1. I love road trips! This is not new news, but I found that I'm probably the only member of my family that enjoys LONG road trips.
2. All road trips should be taken on the backroads! This is also not new news to me, but again, no one else on my most recent trip enjoyed the backroads and their lack of 'civilization' and the abundance of quirky things to stop and experience/photograph.
3. Any future long road trips should be taken in an RV or a vehicle that includes a mattress, cooler/fridge and some apparatus on which to cook some of my own meals. Gluten free food & onion-garlic-pepper free food is not easy to find on the road, even in California...and especially in Texas! I ate a lot of hamburger patties and carrots at Cracker Barrel. If I never eat there again I will be ok with that - unless they bring back Sweet Potato Fries year round ;-) A visit to a small grocery store in a town with lots of hotels and very few restaurants gave me the wonderful option of GF PB&J and some local raw honey for my tea, which I did bring along. The mattress is so I don't have to lug my overnight bag into a different hotel every night...it's a huge duffel bag that can also carry my heating pads, body pillow & neck pillow as well as clothes and stuff. I had a smaller second bag for my diffuser and essential oils...yes, I did. I do not travel light!
4. Highway signage is not created equal. I realized how accustomed I have become to our Florida highway signage that highlights the hotels, restaurants and attractions at the exits. When traveling in a new place, those signs are invaluable...and nonexistent in California and other states, at least on the highways/freeways I traveled.
5. I have a lead foot on the gas pedal. There, I said it! (No traffic stops were endured...)
6. Traffic is traffic no matter where you go. There will always be idiot drivers, smart drivers, rude drivers, polite drivers, fast and slow drivers, lots of drivers or very few on the roads you travel. Choose which one you will be...please make it smart and polite, and when in front of me - fast!
7. Take the time to stop and see the world you are traveling through! We celebrated the hubs' 50th birthday with a trip to Arizona some years ago. On this most recent trip I was reminded of places we visited during that previous road trip around the state. Some of the things we stopped to enjoy/photograph are no longer there or have been defaced beyond recognition! It was sad but I smiled at the reminders of a wonderful time spent with my husband and children and kept picturing the moments we shared on that trip.
8. In my now 2 trips to the Grand Canyon, I was struck by the differences in the atmosphere of the two visits. In one word...Selfies! I am a photographer so you know both times I had my camera and yes, this trip I did take a few selfies - some with a selfie stick! What struck me was the seeming inability of some to just stand there and soak in the beauty of the place without constant selfies or 'ussies' (whatever) being taken. I'm sorry but your eye/brain combo will always see more than your Iphone/Samsung will ever capture not to mention that using these in 'silent mode' is a polite option when taking your selfie with a countdown clock/timer mode! The gentleman standing next to me just kept mumbling 'you're going to miss it...' They did.
9. If I ever play and win the lottery, I will have a vacation place on the coast near Monterey/Big Sur! I was completely mesmerized by the ocean and cliffs. It is some of the most beautiful land I have ever seen and I know I will return for another visit. You should go visit at least once in your lifetime!
It's also much closer to the Charles Schulz Museum...a place I'm rather fond of!
And it's where the 'happy cows' live.
10. I visited (well, drove through) two more states I had never set foot in - Oklahoma and Arkansas - and enjoyed them both. There are lovely parts in both and I'm sure the backroads would prove even more interesting. I could be a road trip travel photographer and enjoy it for awhile, but I also love being home.
Keywords: Big Sur, Charles Schulz Museum, Diane Arsenault Photography, Florida to California, Grand Canyon, Monterey, Route 66, San Antonio, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, back roads, driving cross country, happy cows, road trip, travel, travel by car, travel photographer
Thanks for taking us along with these beautiful images. Yes, California signage stinks. You have to know where you are going to get anywhere. I know that doesn't make sense...I got lost a lot when I moved there.
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