Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Guest Blog Post: Autumn's Spontaneous Road Trip

Folks, I'm moving! Well right now I'm writing this from the comfort of a tangerine colored blanket and the softest pillows in the land, while Holly snuggles with me and her stuffed rabbit.  I adore hotels, although my husband does not, which may or may not make this the l o n g e s t trip ever.  I'll write more about the adventures throughout the coming week.  To take my place, I've asked three awesome bloggers to showcase their writing talents here while I'm traipsing across the country.  By "across the country," I mean, NORTH.  It's about to get really cold, really fast.  

The first in the series of awesome bloggers is Autumn, the featured blogger for this month.  You've seen her blog ad at the bottom of my posts and what I love about Autumn's blog is that her content is so true to herself and her blog is just starting, so make sure to check out her posts and click that GFC button.  In the theme of moving, Autumn is sharing a cross-country, road trip experience. Enjoy!

Hi there friends! My name is Autumn, and I blog over at The Unreal Life. While Kim is busy moving, she graciously has allowed me to take over her blog and hopefully entertain you. In honor of our dear friend Kim's move, I'm going to pass along some wisdom I learned from my own cross-country road trip a few years ago.

In the "True Colors Personality Test," I am an orange--someone who trusts their first instinct, acts on impulse and loves to make an adventure out of anything. Never was this shown more clearly than when I decided to road trip it (by myself) across the country from my home in Michigan to my summer internship in Seattle, WA. A lot of the pre-conversations with my Dad went like this:

Dad: And how many days is it going to take? How far will you drive each day? How many miles? Realistically, how many hours is that?
Me: Umm...
Dad: Where will you sleep?
Me: I'll figure it out when I get there? Isn't that what sorority sisters are for? (wrong answer)
Dad: Make an itinerary, or you're not going. 

So of course I did. And of course I crunched the numbers. Because even I knew that 12 hours a day on the road wasn't exactly realistic. But...I had to get there right? So I packed my car, jumped in, and headed on a five day cross-country adventure to my final destination: a house of five roommates I had found on Craig's List two days earlier (not kidding). 
According to Google Maps it would take 44 hours...
So the first day, I was going to travel from Grand Rapids, MI to Lincoln, NE and spend the night with a sorority sister (see, I was right on at least one count dad!). Well, about an hour outside of Chicago I started freaking out. I was sweating, my heart was racing, I was light headed--I was convinced I was having a full fledged panic attack and would not survive this trip. What was I thinking?!?!?! I called my boyfriend at the time and promptly started sobbing into the phone about how I didn't know what I was doing, I was sick, burning up, had the flu, was going to die, couldn't make it. 

"Autumn," he replied calmly. "Is your AC on?"

Oh...problem solved. I had been driving for five hours in 93 degree weather with no air. After a few minutes of cooling down, I was confident I could make it. I hit the "re-route" button on my phone and waited for the map to reappear. Oh wait. I'm in the middle of nowhere. With no signal. The map on my iPhone won't load. After driving until I hit service, my dad demanded that I pull over at the next stop and go get a real GPS. 

Next stop: Hannibal, MO. Every stereotype you have ever heard, and more. I pulled over at a gas station and interrupted the female cashier (missing four teeth, leather skin, smoker voice) and a nice young man (missing one tooth, freckled skin, cowboy hat) chatting. 

"Excuse me," I said. "Do you have a Best Buy around here?"
"A what?" she said.
"A Best Buy? You know...like a technology store." She stared. "I need to buy a GPS? I'm taking a road trip?"
"Ohhhh...no we ain't got one of those anywhere around here. But we do have a WalMart. They should have most everything you need." 
I took down some directions from her and was about to leave when she literally jumped up on the counter, reached over, and grabbed my necklace "Wellll lookeeeee here!" she shouted, "That right there is a real pretty necklace! I've never seen such a thing before!"

Now I don't know about you, but after driving for five hours with no AC, getting lost four times, and pulling into the world's sketchiest gas station in America's most poorly named city, the last thing your heart needs is some woman you've never met grabbing at your necklace. 

Surprisingly, she genuinely did just want to compliment my crucifix (praise Jesus!) and send me on my way with well wishes. 

Buford, WY. Population: 1.
So, that's that. My first day. I don't think I can handle much more reminiscing. Some advice for you road-trippers out there:
  1. Get a GPS before you go. Or at least a map. Your iPhone will overheat and burn your hand and stop working. 
  2. Embrace the trucker stops. Make a game of it: who has the best marble showers, chapels, laundry facilities and food?
  3. Drink plenty of Gatorade.
  4. ENJOY IT. This country is a beautiful place and you will most likely never get the chance to do a road trip again. Take in the sights!


Wyoming 2

Destination arrived: Seattle

Thanks for reading, and please 
come visit me over at The Unreal Life soon!


  1. This is a really cool guest post.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Awesome, I always wanted to do a cross country road trip, I have the opposite problem, I'm so much of a planner that I get too nervous to actually do it!

    1. Thanks, Elle! Hopefully one day you can do your own fabulous road trip =) Plus if you have a plan...what's there to be nervous about?! I had no plan, and made it just fine ;)

    2. Though I don't recommend having as little of a plan as I did...I still wonder how I made it sometimes.

  4. Great post! I would get so bored driving cross country. I would definitely need someone else to keep me company. Or about a million audio books.

  5. I love this! I have always wanted to take a roadtrip with friends. So many of my friends have made the trek from Wisconsin to California for the Rose Bowl but after awhile you get that dingy car feeling. As I write this from the first trek of our trip (currently in Nevada), I am so glad we have a warm hotel room and about to nom on some Olive Garden for the night :)