James and I hadn’t always felt the need to travel. Most of our relationship prior to the first road trip that started it all, we didn’t travel. We would occasionally go to see my Grandparents a few hours away, we even went to Canada about eight hours away the week he proposed to me. But none of those trips really triggered the need to travel in us.
Let me take you back in time to 2011. It was a rough year for us, a year filled with a lot of loss. We lost many family members and friends to death that year. James was about to graduate college and we thought the best was yet to come. Sadly, we were in for another jolt. The day James was to take his last finals his dad fell and broke his hip. On top of that we find out he has cancer and within a few short weeks we were saying goodbye. As you can imagine this shook us pretty deeply and we were lost.
A few month later around Halloween we would set out on the road trip that started it all. We were going to Las Vegas, this was the first time we had ever driven to Las Vegas and the furthest we had ever driven for a trip. It was exciting, we had a good friend with us to help drive and we were ready for adventure.
According to Google the trip from our home to Las Vegas should take about 16 hours give or take depending on driving and if you stay over night anywhere. To this day I still can’t figure out how this trip took us 24 HOURS of driving straight to arrive in Vegas! We pulled into Vegas late but In & Out was still open, being from Oregon this was our first stop. James walks up to the counter looking every bit like he had been driving for 24 hours straight. Looks at the employee and goes “I just drove in from Oregon and I want a Double Double.” It was hysterical to see the look on the employees face, he was pretty convinced that James literally drove all the way from Oregon just for In & Out.
What did we do in the car for those 24 hours? Well we didn’t take turns sleeping that is for sure! The idea behind having three adults on the trip was that we could split up the driving and each sleep while the other person and the passenger stayed awake. This did not happen. I think we were all so pumped to be going to Vegas and being on this road trip that we just didn’t sleep. I don’t recommend anyone do this EVER!
This trip was almost 7 years ago now so the memories of every detail are a little fuzzy but I still remember the big stuff. Some of it I won’t share because even though it is FUNNY it is highly inappropriate.
One memory that will always remain in my mind is the insanely long distance between rest areas on our route. We didn’t even realize we had missed our last chance to use a bathroom until we passed a sign saying “No Services for X miles”. Finally, we come to a gas station and James and our friend jump from the car and run in to use the bathroom, only to find out you have to buy something, which was fine but neither of them had the time. I am pretty sure I heard one of them yell, “I have to use the bathroom, but I am gonna buy something don’t worry”!
There is something about being in the car watching the sunrise, and then the sunset, and then it rise and then it set again. I am still amazed that my little Toyota Corolla that already had 130k miles on it held up. That car didn’t turn off except for about 30 minutes in that entire 24 hour drive. That Corolla went on to take us on the majority of our adventures, racking up 350k plus miles and going places NO car should go. It wasn’t until late 2017 we retired that car from road tripping. It still runs like a champ.
We had a great time in Las Vegas, we had traveled down for the SEMA show. Eventually all good things must come to an end and we started our return trip home. James was sick at this point so he spent most of the time in the back seat. Although he did manage to pull off an EPIC sunset picture as we were leaving that eventually started him back down the path to his photography. Check him out http://www.jamesmeadphotography.com. On the return trip we did push ourselves all the way to Boise at about 2 am before we decided that was enough and stayed the night some where. We finished out the final 6 hours of our trip the next day.
That trip to Vegas made some memories that we will never forget. It also was a key turning point in our lives as travelers and also inspired my husband to pick up his camera again.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and will come back for future stories of adventure.