About a year ago, my father proposed that the family go on a road trip… a road trip through ALL FIFTY STATES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Had he gone insane? Had he forgotten that we had a daughter who gets car sick, and son who can’t go five minutes without the internet? Or perhaps he had simply become obsessed with the number ‘fifty’ ever since his fiftieth birthday. Whatever the reason, I was all for it! After some persuasion and my father’s insistence to not give the trip up, the rest of us: my mom, thirteen-year-old sister Marianne, and ten-year-old brother Teddy, accepted. Our Aunt Phyllis, who loves traveling more than anyone on this Earth, decided to tag along for some of the ride as well. So there we were: three adults, three kids, in a van, driving from Los Angeles to forty-nine other states in the middle of August. Well, not exactly.
Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Of course, it’s impossible to drive to all fifty states, so the first part of our trip included our boarding a plane bound for Anchorage, Alaska. There we took a Major Marine Tours cruise into the beautiful Prince William Sound, in which we saw a huge, magnificent glacier towering over us (as well as a family of adorable seals). After a few days in Alaska, we flew down to Seattle, Washington to see the magnificent Space Needle, as well as our magnificent Aunt Phyllis. And so, after a cool, refreshing Frappachino at the first Starbucks, we began our trip across the American mainland.
Thankfully, this country has plenty of either beautiful, natural wonders such as Montana’s unbelievably green Glacier National Park (which, surprisingly, sports no glaciers) or beautiful, electrical wonders like New York’s Times Square. However, though beautiful, a lot of the United States was simply roads and plains. Sure, once in a while we’d stop at a sight like Mount Rushmore or Devil’s Tower (sight of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi alien classic ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’), but we probably would have torn each other to pieces were it not for our dad’s cell phone. Using his Droid, our dad was able to give everyone in the car wi-fi access to the internet by connecting it to his laptop. So, we were showing our friends and family the wonders of the American roads live every step of the way.
This trip mainly showed me how quirky and different each state was in its own little way. The University of Wisconsin had an ice cream bar open to the public, there was a store in Pennsylvania that advertised ‘firecrackers, knives, and fudge’, and a huge, white cross overlooked a Texas highway.
However, there was a feeling that somehow, all these strange places were part of one, big, strange country (and not just because the of the many, many, many Cracker Barrels from state to state). There was both a sense that we had gone into a whole other world, and yet hadn’t left home at all.
Every Hilton Hotel we stayed at was a little different, and every highway was unique (such as New Mexico’s blue and copper painted highway), but they were all connected. Even relaxing by the pool in the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Oahu, we knew we were in America. Even if we simply passed right through a state, we could see how great it was, and putting them all into one, single trip only made it better.
Here is a video my siblings and I made to talk about this trip:
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.