After a week of traveling out to Seattle, my dad and I spent 2 beautiful weeks exploring my new home in Seattle, WA and even got the chance to visit family in Canada. After the two weeks in the PNW, we got back into the car and drove back to Indiana. We took a completely different route on the way back to Indiana. One of the roads we were on for a while was called Old Oregon Trail Road. We saw a countless number of RVs on this trip but at one point I saw an RV next to a model of a prairie schooner wagon used on the Oregon Trail. I laughed as I thought to myself how RVs are basically the 21st version of these wagons. People are still obsessed with exploring the country in their own mobile home on wheels. As distant as we seem from the first settlers people still have this desire to discover the country.
After spending a whole month every single day and the whole day with my father I’d do this trip again. I know how fortunate and lucky I am to have a father I get along with and is physically able and willing to help me do this move. We had so much fun and there was only a couple of meltdowns. After my parents accident happened for some reason I was convinced that everyone was lying to me and my dad was dead too. At 23 years old I thought I had lost both of my parents. My father and I’s relationship changed completely in a day. I became the best friend my mom was with my dad and he became mine. My mother was my best friend and someone I talked to EVERY SINGLE DAY. My dad had big shoes to fill and he has done them well. We have so many memories and selfies from this trip. I love my father and everything he has helped me with on this trip. None of this would have been possible without his assistance.
To recap the trip:
11 different beds
6 National Park/Monuments
4 visits with relatives
Countless number of vistas
My New Home
We arrived at my new apartment and I had KNOTS in my stomach. Keep in mind this was a total Megan moment. I’d sent my down payment with never seeing my actual apartment and going off one phone call, pictures on google maps and reviews on apartment.com. I’m not even kidding when I say had a feeling that this place was the one and sent my money within 24 hours. It helped that this was the closest apartment I’d found to the downtown area near my place with free parking and a washer & dryer. I had been passively looking at apartments for awhile but once we got down till a month before my move I started actually considering apartments.
When I showed up to my apartment there was new carpet, repainted and a recently renovated bathroom. Sometimes going with your intuition and putting good energy out into the world sends good things your way. And having a father who double checks your every move and is a rather loud peanut gallery. My one bedroom is the perfect combination of being within walking distance bike/walking paths to downtown Redmond. I feel safe and comfortable in my complex and think I will enjoy the next year here.
My only concern is I am on the bottom floor. But don’t worry my dad installed window locks. I didn’t even have toilet paper at my apartment yet. The first place we went was to home depot to get dowel rod to put in the windows. My dad’s love for safety continues.
Seattle & Canada Adventures
The weather in Seattle was dreamy; sunny but never above 80 degrees. I told my dad he had to do the hike that made me fall in love with Seattle. The view was beautiful and picturesque… at least I thought it was worth the hike. My dad wanted to wear the new shirt that I got him on this hike. I made him change into the shirt with a bleach stain and told him he was going to get sweaty. I don’t think he realized the boot camp he signed up for when he agreed to live/travel with me. My dad is currently the thinnest I have ever seen him and I’ve been doing my best to encourage him to continue losing weight. Being my last living parent I provide a lot of harsh love about his diet and exercise. He told me he wanted to get in shape on this trip and I do what I do best. Take control. My dad ate mostly vegetarian at my place beside when we went out to eat.
After the first two weeks, we decided to go up to Canada to visit my dad’s cousin Jeanne. She lives in the most beautiful part of Canada I’ve ever been to (keep in mind this is the only time I’ve ever been to Canada). Off the coast there is an island that is also considered Canada, we stayed near a city called Victoria. Seattle is almost closer to a different country than the next state. We drove up to Vancouver and then took a ferry to the island. This wouldn’t be a road trip if we didn’t leave the country. The island has beautiful mountains and is laid out so all the houses are separated by a patch of woods and off the road so you really can’t see anyone’s house.
The first day we were there we went on a boat ride around the island. You could see Olympic mountains and the San Juan Islands off in the distance. We had a nice evening hanging out on the boat and eating at the local market. On the second day is when dad climbed his second mountain of the trip. Jeanne had suggested that we either go for an easy hike between the patches of neighbors woods OR we could on a much harder hike through up a mountain and get over a 180-degree view. Easy choice for me and dad didn’t know what he signed up for.
The view from the top was beautiful!! Again I thought it was totally worth the hike. I was so glad we got to experience this view and we were the only ones up here!
Once we got home from Canada we had about half a week before we made the journey home. All my furniture came in just in time and we got everything rearranged.
Idaho: Crater of the Moon & Lava Springs
Before we started the journey my dad goes, “It’s a total of 42 hours of driving.” And I replied, “is that too short or long for you?”
We made a visit to see dad’s cousin Phil and Harriet in a town outside of Boise, Idaho. Now… I know what everyone has in their mind about Idaho and some of you may know that I was HIGHLY considering trying to find a job here. But honestly, Idaho is a hidden gem. It is a beautiful place and their home is in the perfect location. I honestly can’t wait to go back, they invited me back and I reminded them not to make offers to people like me because I will show up. I really want to spend more time exploring Boise and the mountains around the area. We had a pleasant evening at their house.
In the morning we headed to Craters of the Moon National Monument which yet again is another underrated part of Idaho. This national monument, in my opinion, offered more, “OMG THIS IS SO COOL” moments than Yellowstone. This park is based on a volcano that erupted in the middle of nowhere and left these huge lava fields. It is truly amazing and looks like millions of dump trucks showed up to this middle of nowhere place and just dropped off lava rock. I loved walking through the field of lava rocks and picking up a big rock and feeling how incredibly light and airy the rock felt.
A year ago from this photo, my father was finally able to walk and now we are hiking through lava fields. He is doing activities he never thought he’d ever be able to do again. The human body is so amazing and this trip we were constantly remembering where we were as a family one year ago.
We stayed the night in Lava Springs, Idaho. I had been wanting to stay in a hot spring for so long that when I realized that Idaho was filled with them I knew I had to force my dad to one. The next day we were going to go to the Tetons and didn’t realize that traveling during the 4th of July would mean that the only hotels available would be just shy of $600 a night. So we found the closest hot springs nearby… a quick two-hour drive.
The funny thing about this hot springs was that we stayed in the nicest hotel in the area and that is not saying much. Because of my past travel mistakes, I’m not allowed to book the hotel. I can pick it out but it has to go through my dad’s approval process. This hotel had four of its own hot spring tubs and it really was nice but it was SO hot. We enjoyed our several half-hour sessions though.
However, what you are not told about hot springs is they are basically the Indiana Beach crowd for desert folk… It had a country/live music feel of Nashville but slightly different crowd… and that is all I’m going to say about the demographic there. Needless to say, we enjoyed our time but dad’s famous phrase when I make him do something he doesn’t particularly enjoy is, “Well I never have to do that again.” Personally, I’d love to go to another hot spring during the dark and gloomy times of Seattle.
Jackson WY & Grand Tetons
Hands down the Grand Tetons was the best national park we went to and the most up-to-date as far as roads and trails go. It also happened to be the most expensive park to get into but that’s not a problem if you get the ‘America the Beautiful’ pass. At the Crater of the Moon, my dad said, “I bet there are rattlesnakes here” and then seconds later we saw a snake on the trail. While we were hiking in the Tetons we realized we forgot the bear spray. We ended up on a trail that was slightly less traveled and the perfect location to find a bear. My dad said something about seeing one and needless to say the last half of a mile was walked at a VERY quick pace.
After the hike, we headed up to a lodge at one of the highest points in the park. The lodge had a nice bar and we enjoyed a well-deserved beer. Afterwards, we headed to dinner with a friend of mine from high school. It was a great way to catch up with her and recap our day’s events.
The Rocky Mountains & Coors Brewery
My dad is one of the biggest Coors fan I know. I have been getting Coors from the fridge for my dad since I could walk. When I told him that I wanted to spend an extra day in Denver he promptly asked what did I have planned. When I told him Coors Brewery there were no more questions about staying the extra day.
We ended up spending the 4th of the July driving through the Rocky Mountains. This was my third time visiting Denver but the only time that I have been there during the summer. It was the first time that I could go up to the Alpine Visitor Center and see the tundra. At first, I was a little sour because the vistas driving into the mountain were subpar and I wanted my dad to love the Rockies as much as me. At 24 years old, they are still without a doubt my favorite mountain range. *posts the change my mind meme* But after we got to the Alpine Visitors Center it was well worth the change of pace.
We did NOTHING and I repeat NOTHING for the 4th of July. We went to the only restaurant that was open where my godmother lives in Longmont, CO. We had driven over 8 hours that day and didn’t want to fight traffic. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and watch the fireworks on TV.
That next morning we got to the Coors Brewery tour line JUST in time before everyone else. Typically you have to wait at least an hour to get on the bus to go on the tour. The tour is self-guided but there is a really nice and well done. At the end of the tour is the best part, you get three free beers! I was very happy to take the biggest Coors drinker I know on this tour. After the tour, we weren’t able to drive quite yet so we walked to lunch in Golden. After lunch, we walked to the Gem Museum located on the Colorado School of Mines’ campus. The museum is the perfect price too, FREE!
Afterwards, I wanted to take my dad to the Flat Irons. I had planned a three-mile hike around them but when we showed up and there were rain clouds my dad wanted to turn around. In retrospect, the Flat Irons weren’t that impressive after everything else we had seen. *cue ‘that don’t impress me much’ by Shania Twain*
We ended the day by going out to dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant with my godmother and her husband. The way home we made the trip basically going from family member to family member’s house. It was a nice way to recant our adventures with people we hadn’t seen in years and catch up on our new normal life.
I call the first settlers in Denver the “FUCK THAT” People. Because they got through all the flatlands of the Midwest and then you come across the Rockies. I honestly think that the first settlers looked at each other and said: “Fuck that mountain I’m setting up my house here”. I just can’t imagine the shock that people must have had because I can testify that there is NOTHING from Denver to Indiana.
The rest of the way home was long and by the time we got just outside of Kansas City to our cousin’s house, we were ready for a beer. Thankfully we showed up to a case of cold beer and had another pleasant evening with relatives.
The next day we woke up and did the last leg of the journey home. I asked dad what was the first thing he was going to do when he got home. He smiled and said, “Get a steak out of the freezer.” After all the hiking I made him do I think he deserved to have his red meat.
Two years in a row I spent several weeks traveling around Europe and studying abroad. I couldn’t stop thinking about how crazy it was that I’d never done that in my own country. The United States is a beautiful place and this trip restored my faith in the country. When I was in Europe I’d shy away from telling people I was American because I was embarrassed. But I can say after this trip I am proud to be American. We live in a beautiful country and sometimes it feels like all the states are so different but after traveling to 11 different states there is a reason we are called the UNITED states. United we stand. Divided we fall.