golden road trip

day 13 & 14 | the washington coast

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Miles: 3707 - 4502

I'm fast-forwarding through my stop in Spokane, where I ate a $3 pizza buffet and took photos of these flowers before leaving at 5am.

Even though Portland was my real final destination, I kept going all the way to the coast with my girls Lucy and Ariela to spend the weekend at this adorable seaside cottage in Ocean Park, Washington. It was important for me to go coast to coast and after spending the past two weeks mostly alone, it was nice to finish up the trip with friends.

I think of all of my time on the road, everything I've seen, how much I missed while I was away, and how I can come through to the other side and feel the same. I don't travel with the expectation to change. I travel because being alone on the road is my own form of meditation. It's a peace I can't find when I sit still. And because the world is so big, how could I not spend my life trying to see as much of it as possible?

*Special thanks for Patrick (a perfect stranger) for trusting me (another perfect stranger) to drive his car across the country!

day 10 & 11 | montana

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Miles: 2578 - 3694
On the radio: Bee Gees, Beach Boys, John Mayer, Sophie Madeline, the complete Weezer, Voyager chapters 45-50, and a long phone call with my boo, Coley

I'm not really sure what to say, other than that Montana was everything I hoped it would be. Every landscape, every quiet, all the breathtaking open.

day 8 & 9 | east grand forks

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Miles: 2256 - 2578
On the radio: Voyager chapters 31-45

Now that wedding season has paused, I'm excited to wrap up the rest of my road trip photos from earlier this summer. By this point, I'd traveled more than 2500 miles and was surprisingly (and alarmingly?) accustomed to being in the car with the hypnosis of the road and scenery flying by.

I'd never realized how long Minnesota was until this part of the trip and when I finally arrived in East Grand Forks, it really struck me how big of a contrast it must have been moving from Brooklyn to this tiny town when Molly made the move two years ago.

But Molly! Nick! Farm! 

I got a tour of the eggfarm (including a tractor longer than my apartment), picked rhubarb from a rhubarb jungle, hung in the kitchen while Molly did her thang (rhubarb syrup, cookie salad, and homemade gushers!), attempted baking with ube, met a talking rice cooker, drove around just before sunset, saw eggboy make eggs, and ate chocolate covered potato chips. And had the most restful night of sleep of my whole trip!

Mostly, I loved that it was real. When you're (primarily) internet friends with someone for several years, bits and pieces of them feel familiar like your favorite book. This was like stepping into the pages. These two have made the sweetest life together and it was so fun to pop up and see a bit of it.

I'll never get over how incredible it is to have friends all over the world. Thanks for having me, feeding me, and sending me off with snacks, eggcuties!

day 6 & 7 | chicago & minneapolis

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Miles: 1521 - 1780
On the radio: Voyager chapters 24-28, John mayer, A Fine Frenzy, Bee Gees

Miles: 1780 - 2231
On the radio: Voyager chapters 29 - 31, Serial

This was all a blur. When I got to Chicago, I was so tired I mostly didn't leave my friend Sara's apartment (and hung out with Deuter the whole time). But not before finding a *FILIPINO GROCERY STORE* and stocking up! It was heaven. I loaded a basket up with filipino pasties and three kinds of ube and I tried to buy one mango and was told I'd have to buy the entire crate. I was a little sad to be in Chicago because so many friends weren't there. But finding this little bakery was like finding a piece of home in the middle of being so far from it. (And nesting with Deuter for the evening was exactly what I needed.)

Outside of the bakery, since most of this time seems like a blur (Minnesota is really long), I've made a list of things that are good (and bad) to eat on road trips, particularly when driving:

Good
empanadas
pork buns
all buns
sponge cake
ensaymada
anything with a straw
sandwiches
bananas
chips

Bad
mac and cheese
palabok
most all noodles
this water bottle
mangos
eggs

Places went and loved
Uni-Mart - the filipino grocery store in Chicago
Bachelor Farmer - where you can meet a friend a friend who is awesome, and simultaneously be really awkward while you wait for her
Mall of America - I know, I know. But when I jokingly debated going and they responded to me on Twitter within 4 minutes with a Leslie Knope gif, how could I not?

day 5 | ann arbor

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Miles: 1258 - 1521
On the radio: Sara Bareilles, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis x2, Rilo Kiley, Feist, Paramore

Following my teary departure from St. Catherine's, I hit a point where I couldn't listen to the fantasy of another world anymore and just needed to listen to music and not think about anything. 

I love driving. I especially love driving with music. I especially especially love driving with loud music and singing and being in my own little world of big feelings. I drove through what I suppose is called Ontario's "greenbelt" as I made my way to Ann Arbor. It was sunny and pleasant but most of the time I was practicing my own version of meditation.

Somehow I made it across border control re-entering the US as a lone traveler driving a stranger's car packed with his belongings across the country. All they wanted to know was where I went to college and how I got in (a poor minority, I said).

Just like Niagara, Ann Arbor wasn't part of my original path but as luck would have it, Harben's younger sister is going to school there and I got to crash on a college house sofa. It was all quite funny to me, really. I thought about my own college days and my worries about the future. I wanted to tell all six of these kids that there's nothing and everything to be afraid of post-graduation. And a little part of me was jealous that they had such an openness in front of them, while mourning that part of mine was gone.

That's how it always is, isn't it?

Anyway, Ann Arbor is adorable and Tanner is adorable and can I tell you about their library? It reminds me of Oxford and Harry Potter and I wished I was back in college for the three seconds I forgot it was a law school library. The feelings I used to feel in church sanctuaries have bled over to libraries. They contain all of the promise, enlightenment, and escape. They are my mecca now.

As with many stops on this trip, my visit was brief and I felt like I'd only scratched the surface. I hope to go back and do it right (preferably when it's golden and beautiful like this).

Places went and loved:

Literati - a bookstore with a coffee shop inside!
The Lunchroom - I had nachos with mac and cheese
UMMA - there were Picassos!
Law Library - duh

PS - Tanner is an amazingly talented composer and performer who is fundraising for her next album, "The Summer Sinks" right now! Her music makes me feel like I'm in another world in the best way.

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