Here’s the thing about road trips: you never really know how they’re going to go. So when we decided to road trip across the US from Oregon to Tennessee — with our six year old son, our two dogs, and our cat in tow — my husband and I just collectively drew a big breath and crossed our fingers. We knew our son would fare well (he conquered a 10 hour one-way road trip to San Francisco last year with zero complaints, and has happily plowed through international flights). We knew our dogs would be ok (the oldest has road tripped with us extensively). We knew that we would be alriiight, but our cat? We had no idea how she’d take it all (fyi: it wasn’t as bad as everyone said it would be).
We also didn’t have super specific destinations in mind. When we road trip we like to keep the journey as open as possible, and to stay as firmly rooted in the present as we can. That meant as few conversations as possible about Portland or Chattanooga, and as many conversations as possible about what we were experiencing right then (unless it was being hangry, and then we just sat quietly). We knew that we needed to generally head south and east, so we did. This trip took us through Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky before we hit Tennessee, and each state brought its own wildcards and bit of awesome into the mix. We stopped by the Bonneville Salt Flats and Sundance, saw part of the Olympic Park from 2002, our son was confirmed as a Junior Park Ranger at Dinosaur National Monument (and he still wears his badge). Colorado was long but gorgeous, and Kansas was rainy and a little flat. We were pleasantly surprised by how awesome St. Louis seems (none of us had been before) and plan to go back when we can spend more time, and Kentucky was familiar and nice.
We’re having a great time so far in Tennessee, and I hope we keep on keepin’ on. So far we’ve been to a Lookouts game, become members at the Aquarium, located our nearest non-chain grocery market, and will be joining the library any minute now, so things are looking good. We’ve already seen a whole bunch of family, which is the biggest reason we’re back in the South. We’re excited to be here, and look forward to what else the city will bring us.