My First Roadtrip

by Josiah Byall

I still cannot believe that my mom let me go on a 19 day roadtrip during my senior year of highschool. I was 17 years old, and she had never even met Andy, my traveling companion. Honestly, I did not know Andy that well either, so I had very little idea what I was getting into.

Andy, however, knew exactly what would happen, and he was determined for things to go as he planned.

He picked me up from my house in Wichita, KS, and we drove through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas with free lodging lined up all the way. The Midwest is not all that exciting, especially if you’ve grown up here, but Texas wasn’t too terrible. Things did not really pick up until we arrived in New Orleans, however. Let me tell you, I’m going back when I am 21. Unfortunately, I do not love museums as much as Andy does; in fact we are almost on opposite sides of the spectrum, but I didn’t plan the trip. I was along for the ride, literally: I was not behind the wheel for 1 of the 80 hours of the entire drivetime. In New Orleans we stayed in an Airbnb close to the French Quarter, and we Ubered into town to avoid the chaos of parking. We walked down Bourbon Street all of the three nights we were there, ending at Cafe Dumond, unable to avoid the constant sound of street jazz. New Orleans has the best jazz I have ever heard, although I haven’t heard that much. We carried on to Florida from there. We stayed in Florida for 4 nights, but there was only lodging planned for the first day. Because of this, we spent the most money in this state, especially since our Key West hotel was almost $400 a night. The biggest problem with this trip was that we never really stayed in one spot, and my favorite memories were when we rarely did. The Everglades were cool, and the beach was refreshing. But Key West is a blur, since we were in and out within 12 hours, and we slept for half of those. Essentially, the trip consisted of a series of drives to a series of checkmarks and dry conversation to fill the gaps. We carried on through Florida to Atlanta,GA, where we stayed for a couple nights with good friends--another good memory. Then we drove again, continuing north through the Appalachian’s all the way to Cincinnati, KY, with some really good friends of mine, and I guess they knew Andy too. The Wafford family has taken a couple of trips with my family, and our parents have known each other since college, so we are pretty compatible. Leah, Becca, and Micah Wafford, and Andy and I picked up some Skyline Chili in Cincinnati and hung around. Andy is lactose intolerant, and the cheese in his chili didn’t agree with him, so he went off for a while, trying to find a bathroom in the city. This was my favorite memory of the trip: for the first time in almost 2 weeks, Andy was not there, and some good friends were there to replace him. We did not do anything crazy in his 30 minute absence. It was abnormally peaceful when he was gone, though. The trip continued on towards Chicago, and I flew out from there.

My Idaho to Wisconsin Roadtrip

Caleb and I had been good friends at a Bible camp where we both had worked for a summer. We had stayed in contact for two years after, and one day he asked if I was interested in taking a trip in the summer. I had just finished my trip with Andy when I finalized my next adventure with Caleb. He needed me to fly out to Nevada and then help him drive a Uhaul to Wisconsin. Flying out to Nevada was an adventure in itself, since I got to fly through a thunderstorm.

I enjoy plane turbulence probably more than I should, but there is something about feeling like you’re gonna die and knowing that you won’t.

I arrived In Nevada where I stayed for a few days and explored with Caleb. Then we packed the Uhaul and started our journey. We didn’t want to simply take a straight shot for Wisconsin, so we took a detour through Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore. Since we were poor teenagers, we didn’t use hotels, but we instead put a mattress in the back of the truck and slept there for several nights. It was a five day trip. By day four, we arrived at a friend’s house in Iowa and stayed up all night swimming and longboarding, nothing extraordinary really. But somehow this is one of my fondest memories, just a spontaneous adventure straight through sunrise with a fantastic friend. When we left that day, we had only five hours remaining, which we knocked out easy. All in all, it was a cool trip. Cool places, and cool people.

My California Roadtrip

I wish we could have had more than just the two of us on the trip, but Jud and I were the only ones willing to spend the entirety of our spring break in California, even if I skipped a couple classes on the Friday before. We packed up our stuff and drove west from Arkansas to California through New Mexico and Arizona. We slept in the car for the first night, just outside the Grand Canyon. After waking up and seeing that massive landmark, we stayed the night in LA. By day three, we finally arrived in Sacramento at my Aunt Lindi and Uncle Dave’s house. Things did not really get exciting during this trip until the next day, day four, a Monday. Jud and I drove down to a small town called Ripon and picked up his friend, Ella, and we headed for San Francisco. It was super chill, and we had a great time exploring the different attractions in the area like the Golden Gate Bridge and--one of my favorites--the Marin Headlands. On Tuesday, Jud and I visited a beach near the Muir Woods and climbed a hill barefoot. On Wednesday, Ella and another friend, Faith joined us on an adventure to Santa Cruz. It was lit. We longboarded around the town after grabbing some coffee, and then we headed for the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was too cold and windy for us to swim around, but it was still fun. As the day began to end, we realized that we should find a better place to view the coming sunset. So we hopped in the car and headed north out of town, driving along the coast and pulled off onto a dirt road. After we parked, we headed straight towards the ocean, which was met by the rocky California coast. The next two days, it was Jud and me again, and we visited a redwood forest and downtown Sacramento. By Saturday morning we were all packed up, and we drove back home, 26 hours, nonstop.

It was the perfect place to watch the sunset, and I will remember that day forever.

This is definitely the beginning of something cool, and I’m excited for the roadtrips to come.

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