In June 2009, my mom, sister, two cousins, grandmother and I all embarked on the Ultimate Road Trip (URT). In twelve days, we traveled through nine states – Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah. Only a few select members were brave enough to participate in this epic journey, but those who did had the experience of a lifetime.
We began in Colorado, at my house. After dressing in our URT t-shirts, airbrushed by my amazing aunt, and packing up the car, which was an enormous undertaking, we headed towards Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming. While there, we saw the gorgeous mountains, despite the fog that my family claims caused me to almost drive them into a lake (a lie). However, our real destination wasn’t the Tetons, but Yellowstone National Park.
Despite the lack of cell phone service at our Lake Yellowstone Hotel, the brutal cold in June, and the fact that our tour bus driver hated us – and really, we couldn’t blame him – we had a great time in Yellowstone. We saw everything from Old Faithful to dozens of bison. We also got stranded during one of our tours, because the snow forced all roads to close. Luckily, a cafeteria was nearby, so we camped out and ate ridiculous amounts of cheesecake.
After Yellowstone, we headed to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. On our way there, we passed through Montana, and the rumors are true: The sky is bigger! Coeur d’Alene was amazing as well. We ate dinner at this incredible restaurant called The Cedars. It floats on the river, and if you ever go there, eat the chocolate chip cookie dough dessert.
The next day we drove to Seattle, which is beautiful. My cousin and I found our way around, which is saying a lot; we both rely on MapQuest way too much. The people are incredibly friendly; even the homeless have signs saying, “Smile!” And you can’t forget about Pike Place Market, home to the first Starbucks and a seafood market where they throw around the fish you order. We also saw Mt. Rainier, and laughed as my mom got yelled at in a laundromat. While in Seattle, my cousin and I also witnessed a drug deal, which is what we remember most.
After Seattle we visited Hood River, Oregon. On our way, we stopped at Cannon Beach, where we saw starfish as well as Haystack Rock. We also walked around the seaside town, which is incredibly beautiful. We spent the night at the Best Western Hood River, which has amazing views, and then left for Lake Tahoe.
One thing everyone should know about Lake Tahoe is that it is located in California, where gambling is illegal, and Nevada, where it’s legal. There is literally a street that takes you from one state to the other. We stayed at the Hyatt Resort in Nevada, which was amazing, and took the driving tour of the lake. This gave us beautiful views, and also took us through Tahoe, California, which had a Nestle Chocolate CafÃ©! After Tahoe, we headed off to our final destination: Colorado. The trip was a blast, but it was good to be home.
I went on the URT because I want to see all 50 states. So many Americans travel to foreign locations, but our own country has so much to offer. From cute boys to national monuments to meeting tons of people, all of whom will remember our obnoxiousness, I made so many memories on the URT that I will never forget. It truly was the vacation of a lifetime.
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