The Great Family Road Trip

June 1, 2013
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Last summer, my family went on a road trip to Minnesota. The thought of a road trip might cause some people to recall unpleasant memories, but I, having not gone a road trip of such length, was excited to travel across the country.

We departed from my home in San Jose, California at the beginning of July. We drove for sixteen hours the first day. It was a long and tedious drive. For sixteen hours I had the pleasure of listening to my dad and my grandpa partake in lively discussions about politics, family history, and which route we should take. Anyone who has ever taken a long drive through Nevada knows that there is absolutely nothing of interest to look at. My sister took several naps throughout the day, and after her third nap, she woke up and complained to my dad about the fact that she had taken three naps and had seen the same plant out her window each time she woke up. We eventually made it through Nevada and stopped in Pocatello, Idaho.

The second day was much more exciting. We drove through the Grand Tetons and ate a picnic lunch. From there we went into Yellowstone and stayed one day. While there, we saw Old Faithful, the mud pots, and a few hot springs. We exited Yellowstone and visited Silvergate, Montana, which is a town at the northeast entrance of the park. While dining in The Log Cabin Café, my grandfather told us about how he used to fish in some of the best trout streams by day, and bus tables in that exact restaurant at night.

Our next stop was Billings and then onto Hardin, Montana, my grandfather’s hometown. There, we got a personal tour from the curator of the Big Horn County Museum, with particular focus on the artifacts that my grandfather has on loan to the museum. That night we stayed in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore is located just outside Rapid City in the legendary Black Hills of South Dakota. The majestic presidential faces carved into the rock were an amazing sight. There, we witnessed veterans, including my grandfather, participate in that day’s flag retirement. We visited my other grandpa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and then made our way to our final destination, a lake cottage in northern Minnesota.

I really enjoyed the journey to Minnesota because I had never seen many of the National Parks before. However, the real adventure hadn’t even started.

The day we left Minnesota, my dad woke us up at the ungodly hour of three in the morning, so we could be on the road by four. We all piled into the car, and within half an hour, I was in the back of a white Suburban barreling down the interstate at 70 miles per hour with a computer, a handful of movies, and over 400 pounds of luggage.

From the beginning of the drive my mom and dad discussed the possibility of us driving through the night to reach San Jose the next day, but they were just speculating at that point. I bided my time looking out the windows at the dead, dry corn and listening to music on my iPod. We had brought along with us our collection of movies, which we could stream on any iPad, so I eventually took to watching them with my headphones. One time I looked up and my mother was staring at me. I asked her why, and she explained that every now and then I would burst out laughing, and she wondered why. I assume I burst out laughing quite a few times, as Fifty First Dates is a hilarious movie.

In the late afternoon, we talked more about the possibility of driving through the night and reaching San Jose the next day. We were a little weary of the long hours and the unsafe nature of driving at night, but we were determined to try it.

As the afternoon turned into night, everyone became tired of the drive. My mother became more and more eager to stop and get a hotel room, but my dad and I resisted, explaining that we had already made it this far.

My parents alternated driving and sleeping in order to keep the driver alert and refreshed, while my brother and I took turns being their companion. We did this for most of the night. During one of my shifts, we stopped at a gas station to fill up on gas and get sodas. When we walked into the Minimart, the guy at the register gave us a funny look, as if he was wondering what we were doing in the middle of nowhere at two o’ clock in the morning. Seeing this, I chuckled under my breath and finished filling up my soda. When we got back in the car, my mom and dad stayed awake to keep each other company. I, having been up for more than twenty hours, dozed off in the back seat.

I woke up while we were driving through Sacramento. The GPS announced that there were only two hours of driving left. The car roared with cheers. Our journey of over 2,000 miles was coming to an end. We had driven what only truck drivers and fugitives drive. It was a really fun trip, no matter how boring or tedious it had been at certain points.

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