Elements of a Roadtrip

Planning a Road Trip can be a daunting task, knowing that you will be stuck for three weeks with two other people (sister: Abi and friend: Kelly) and the open road.  The Road Trip of myth usually involves long periods of driving until, unexpectedly, there’s something strange, new, and exciting to experience.  So, theoretically, I shouldn’t have needed to plan much, but my personality won’t allow me to enter anything embracing the unexpected.  Make a plan, try to account for all variables, and then deal with any hiccups later.

I did approach the road trip knowing not everything would work out as I hoped, so I planned for that. I identified a few things I “needed” to see or do and, if all else failed, I would spend my last breaths (or more likely, my last dollar) trying to reach them.

The main thing I “needed” to reach was San Diego Comic Con.  It was the Arkenstone, El Dorado, Holy Grail, or Ithaca, of our trip.  It was the reason we were trekking across inhospitable terrain (I’m looking at you, Texas).


Seriously, who posts that sign at a Visitor’s Center?  Why not just write “STAY AWAY FROM TEXAS”?

But I digress… Comic Con was our destination, but there were still several things in the country that I “needed” to see.

I “needed” to go to the City Museum in St. Louis.  Giant playground, sign me up!!

I “needed” to go to this amazing swimming hole.


Cummins Falls State Park

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I NEEDED to float a rubber ducky down the “Mississippi River”.

Mud Island

Mud Island

Everything else was negotiable.  That’s not to say I didn’t identify several other things I wanted to do. I used Roadtrippers to map a tentative route between everything I “Needed” to do and then looked for points of interest along the way.  I also used Tripadvisor to identify things we could do in any cities we were passing through.  Oddly enough, things went almost exactly according to plan.

We basked in the glory of Foamhenge (yes, that would be a Stonehenge replica made from styrofoam).


We admired the Parthenon in all it’s splendor.


And we strolled through fake Venice.



I didn’t realize it at the time, but apparently I actually wanted to be traveling around Europe instead of the U.S., judging by all the replicas I took us to.  (Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t rather be in traveling around Europe than around the U.S.?)

As a shout-out to traditional US road trips everywhere, we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch, where I was forbidden from touching any spray paint.  Abi insisted I would track paint and mud back into the car that we still had to inhabit for several more weeks.  Looking back, she probably made the wise decision.IMG_3779

On a nice outdoorsy day, we hiked through Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico


and explored a tiny portion of the Grand Canyon (that just happened to be partially obscured by smoke from a raging wild fire).


Then, this guy’s cousin caused a 2 hour traffic jam when we were trying to leave Yellowstone.


There are a few more places we went and many more pictures I would be happy to narrate, but, oddly enough, there are almost no pictures I can share from Comic Con.  I have way too many pictures of actors’ faces (below is just a small sampling),

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 8.52.02 AM

but almost nothing from the Convention Center or around San Diego.  Priorities…

Lessons learned:

  1. Don’t Visit Texas
  2. Replicas are never as cool as the real thing, unless you get to float a rubber ducky down them
  3. If you are only going to take pictures of people’s faces, make sure they’re good pictures (sorry folks)
  4. Plan, plan, plan… unless you’d prefer not to.  Either way, embrace the adventure.