Two weeks (felt much longer), two dudes (still dudes, just physically exhausted ones), one car (a bug-splattered nightmare), six audiobooks (half of which actually made the drives longer because they were so boring), hundreds of pictures (964!!!), and countless memories—this is our trip in a nutshell.
Our daily log book!
Of course, I wish I had the space and time to write much more about our road trip. I also wish I had the words to describe every fantastic experience, enlightening conversation, and inspiring sight. But I don’t. I just don’t think I can put into words the incredible emotion I feel when I think about this trip with Dad.
Now, before you start thinking “Oh, their trip was perfect”—which my intro seemingly implies—it’s important for you to know it wasn’t. After five or six days on the road, the happy conversation and easy drives began to waver. For some inexplicable reason, I found myself getting irritated with my father’s continual use of the word “beautiful” to describe every impressive mountain, sprawling farmland, and bewitching body of water, as well as old trains and airplane cemeteries (Note: He probably didn’t use “beautiful” to describe these last two things, but he was so enthralled by them that I couldn’t help myself). I also struggled with his gum-chewing, which I never really noticed until my mom mentioned on the phone at some point during the trip that many people reflexively fear or despise loud chewers. She called this a disease; I thought “disease” was a little strong, but I later worried that I contracted it during the trip. It’s probably more appropriately labeled a “complex” (Here’s the real thing: http://www.thekitchn.com/misophonia-the-unbearable-loud-155746).
Finally, the misanthrope in me resented the constant stream of incredibly nice people my dad befriended at every location. I’m not lying either. As if by some sort of weird extrovert magic, he identified the kindest people to initiate random conversation with and/or ask to take our picture. These new acquaintances soon became our pseudo-tour guides, for they often recommended future destinations for us to explore. Jerome, the tiny ghost town outside Sedona, AZ where we enjoyed a personal art demonstration, was one of those lucky suggestions. The awe-inspiring (surprisingly pleasant) four-hour drive along the California coast was another.
So, after further thought, I really can’t blame my dad for his little quirks, especially when they lead to such amazing opportunities. I also shouldn’t give him too much of a hard time for overusing “beautiful” as an adjective because everything we witnessed, experienced, felt was beautiful in its own way. Giant trees that beg to be climbed are beautiful; magnificent canyons that render one speechless are beautiful; mile-long trains that bring childlike joy to an older man are beautiful; memories of a father chewing gum are arguably beautiful; exploring a new locale with a loved one is beautiful.
Driving across the country with my dad was beautiful.
There’s no denying how appropriate the word turned out to be.
Thank you, Dad. I’ll never forget this.