8 Days Across North America

"if we can travel all across North America, in one car, together all alone for 8 days, we can do anything together"- Marc

The second time we met was March 8th 2003. It was a snowy Saturday night and I didn't want to particularly go out but a good friend of mine convinced me to go. Just to rewind a little, earlier in the week I met this girl named Jen at the Crimson Clover pub at an open mic. We hit it off really well and I ended up walking her home that night where we talked until the wee hours of the morning on her porch. We talked once on the phone and planned to see each other on March 8th. I was definitely excited because it had been a while since I had been with someone and intrigued to see her again. She cancelled, actually come to think about it she never even called to cancel, I called her and her roommate told me she had left for the weekend. A brushoff in the worst way. I felt horrible. Fast forward to the party on March 8th.


Armed with a little beer keg and two dollars in my pocket I headed to the party with my buddy. It didn't take me ten seconds once I got there and I knew she was the one when I saw her. Her name was Genevieve. There she was sitting deep and sunken in the couch with her long brown hair and bright orange shirt. I just knew she was the one. I remember thinking that I had seen her before at my local grocery store where she worked. Come to think of it we had been introduced by a mutual friend years before. This was it. I had found her. The friend that I went to the party with that night introduced me to her and her cousin. She didn't seem impressed by me right away. I had to work the magic. I figured that I should talk to her cousin to try and get to her. It worked. We chatted and we laughed all night. From that moment on, the night stood still. Nothing else mattered but her.


near the Hollywood hills

After three months of dating, moving in together and getting to know each other we decided that we had to do something for the relationship. The three month dating anniversary can be tough at times. Its the "do we" continue and move this relationship forward stage. We decided that we would travel together. This could be the best thing to do we thought. So on a whim we decided to go. It was May 26th 2003 to be exact, we decided to go west. We didn't really have a destination point but we knew we wanted to be together and that's all that mattered to us. Just us, the blue skies and the open road. We knew if we could "survive" this test of will and attrition we could do anything together in the future.

  • So off we went in our trusty little Toyota Tercel. and what a beast of a car it was. It got us all the way across North America with no issues.
  • We left at 8 pm and took off in the night heading south to the Canadian/American Border. Headed to Ohio and thru Indianapolis.
  • The first leg of our trip lasted 28 hours, all the way to Oklahoma. We slept in the car for about 8 hours to regroup. We missed an F-5 tornado by three days from what the locals said. I was exhausted since I was the only driver since Gen didn't have her licence back then. What a great passenger she was. Back then I was medicated for ADD so the prescribed Ritalin helped me stay alert and awake.
  • From the pink highways to the ghost towns of New Mexico to the desert of Arizona to the beautiful state of California we saw it all...together.
  • We stayed in Los Angeles for one night. Saw all the sights and rented a hotel room near the walk of fame where we ordered a Papa John's pizza that I couldn't eat because it had black olives instead of green. Gen loved the black olives. Our first disagreement as a couple for sure.
  • The next morning we headed to Mulholland Drive to see the sights from up there in the mountains. How cool is that place?
  • Beverly Hills. There's just a mystique about that place that you can't feel anywhere else in the world I'm sure. In the afternoon we left and headed north up the Pacific Coast Highway towards Canada.

On our way north our first problem arose. We had to get from Highway 1 to Highway 5 to get ready for some night driving. Though nice, the Pacific Coast Highway is a single lane highway and is not the best highway to be driving at night. Going thru this area that I can best describe as 4 hours of Rolling Hills outside San Luis Obispo to get to Highway 5, we began to feel a little stressed regarding our gas consumption. The needle on the empty side of the tank picture will do that to the best of us. Here it was. The first real test in our relationship. Would we go crazy and freak out and lose it like most couples would? Nope not for us. I had been in this situation before in California years prior where I had been left stranded on the Highway in Los Gatos outside San Francisco by some British Girls I had been travelling with that I met. in San Francisco and or that time the Greyhound bus driver found me and another passenger too obnoxious and thru us off the bus in Nevada years before that. Being left out in the middle of nowhere is fun. "You're never lost when you don't know where you're going." We had an empty tank with nothing around for miles and miles. It's like being stranded on the moon with no one to help, then out of the blue, like a mirage in the desert a brand new gas station just recently built appeared at the bottom of the hill. We literally rolled in. Problem avoided. Two days go by.

"You're never lost when you don't know where you're going"
  • We rolled into Vancouver Canada early on a Sunday morning. The skies were grey and the streets were dead asleep. We were becoming tired. The driving was insane. I highly doubt anyone could or want to do this but we had to get home still so we continued. This was a good opportunity to drive around Vancouver to see the city.
  • I'll spare you the details of the next three days of driving across Canada because it was long and boring. This would be the test. How would we endure this? I don't know but we did. I barely remember anything. It was a daze.

Since March 8th 2003 we've seen each other virtually every day since. Those 8 days were the defining moments of our relationship. We talked, we laughed and we barely slept while doing that. It was like we had been together a year by the time we made it back home.

13 years and 2 amazing kids later we're still together. Just like the trip back in 03' had the ups and downs of the Rocky Mountains this relationship has not been perfect. It too had to endure ups and downs throughout the years but the experience of that North American trip has made everything easier for both of us today. It taught us to listen to each other, it taught us to open our eyes, to never stop experiencing new and exciting moments and lastly it taught us to respect each other. I love you Gen. We need a roadtrip soon.

Where are you and your soul mate going to go?


Photos by Marc Philippe

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