Every day I hear friends complain about their parents; every day I listen to it without having something to add. I may be the only sixteen-year-old I know that would enjoy taking a ten day road trip with my mom, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was the greatest time of my life.
For years she’d been telling me that when I turned 16, we would take a trip, just the two of us, as a coming-of-age celebration. So at 4:00 am, June 29, 2007, with a library copy of “Bad Girls’ Guide to the Open Road,” we set off for Sedona, AZ. It was a general idea of where we were headed; the destination wasn’t as important as the journey.
I remember my first glimpse of the Rockies in Colorado. This is why people build castles, I thought. But they’re not even close. We had planned on stopping at Four Corners, but after hearing about Canyonlands National Park from a photographer, we altered our course. They were gorgeous, but after a while they all started to look the same.
Our scariest moments were in Utah. All the while we’d been in the state but out of the park, we’d seen signs with cows saying “open range.” Well, we hadn’t seen a single cow yet, and after a hundred miles or so, we stopped believing them. That night, we saw dark shapes near the road. “Are those cows?” Mom asked. They were. But that didn’t concern us as much as the cow that suddenly turned so we could see it — in the middle of the road, mere feet from our car. Both of our hearts stopped for a second. But the night was far from over. In order to get to Arizona, we had to drive down the side of a canyon. The only thing was, the road wasn’t finished; it was gravel. It didn’t have streetlights, or a guard rail; it did have 5 mph switchbacks — nerve wracking, to say the least, but we made it to Mexican Hat, on the other side.
From there, we headed to the Grand Canyon. I wasn’t expecting to be awed by it, considering all the canyons I had just seen. That was a mistake. It’s something you can’t comprehend, even with photographs and statistics, without being near it. That made me realize how incredible this world is, and how colossal, since here was the Grand Canyon before me and it was by no means the whole world. After that, it was a pretty straight shot to Sedona. We spent a day downtown, playing with tarot cards and trying to find the best t-shirts to take back to everyone.
Our second day there was the truly inspirational part of this trip. We had read about the vortexes around Sedona, and took this day to visit them. We climbed a short ways up Cathedral Rock, but to my disappointment, I found I was so hungry I couldn’t concentrate on anything spiritual. Breakfast was easy to find, but I wasn’t as hungry as I had been ten minutes ago up there. We found Bell Rock, and proceeded to climb that one. Atop this vortex, however, spirituality again eluded me as I battled a slightly sick feeling. Hoping for a more profound experience, we mounted the Airport Mesa vortex. All I felt there was tired, even though it was the shortest climb. Mom had also failed to feel anything. But as I lay there in bed, disenchanted, I thought about what I had felt that day, and discovered that it wasn’t nothing. It seemed the vortexes were telling me I wasn’t ready to take care of myself. I was getting ready for college, but the thought of leaving my parents suddenly terrified me. We had a long, tearful talk that night, both of us finally concluding that maybe the vortexes had opened up some emotions after all.
We barely managed to find fireworks that hadn’t been cancelled due to fire danger for the Fourth of July, and by this point, we were ready to come home. We followed old Route 66 to make a classic road trip of it, and returned home with cheap souvenirs and precious memories. If I could wish one thing for every child in the world, it would be to have a bonding time like that with their parents, because I have never felt so much love in my life as I did in those 4000 miles.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.