My trip to California


I feel like it’s not entirely strange to go on a cross country trip, but when my brother Jack, my dad and I went from my grandma’s house on Christmas Day to San Clemente last year, it was a little more on the strange side. 

My dad’s girlfriend lives in San Clemente, California and so every winter, he goes west for a couple months to see her. Now you may ask, why not fly? If you met my dad, his most prominent quality trait is his attachment to our little beagle Frankie—I am terrified for the day Frankie dies, I mean I’m going to be writing an obituary instead of this column since we’ll have a full ceremony. My point is that the dog had to come on the journey. 

On a cross country drive, I believe the normal thing to do is sightsee the different states and take in different places on the way to your final destination. For me though, the goal of the trip was to keep our average miles per hour over 70. The only time we stopped during the trip was for gas every five hours, and one Wendy’s breakfast stop. That’s right, 35 straight hours in a car with two guys and a dog. It’s important to be specific that they were guys, because my dad surprised me on this trip with something I, as a girl, definitely couldn’t pull off. With around 5 hours between each stop, it’s pretty hard to have to go to the bathroom at exactly the right time. I opted to take it easy on liquids, but my dad on the other hand continued on with his purple Gatorade—in my unpopular opinion, I believe orange is the best flavor. I was in the passenger seat at this point when I was asked to kindly hold the wheel straight as my dad did his business in said Gatorade bottle. I gladly kept my eyes on the road and turned up the music a bit. 

Before heading to CA, I had the important job of comfort in the backseat. We had a cycle where every ten hours, we would switch from back seat to passenger, passenger to driver and driver to back seat. It worked well—until you were in the driver’s seat—and since there were only three of us, I decided to turn the entire back seat into a makeshift bed. I took two cushions from the couch and placed them on the seats along with pillows around the edges; there was even a pocket where I kept drinks and snacks. Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but this was a genius invention and I highly recommend it. 

Now as I mentioned, the rotation worked great, until you ended up in the driver’s seat. I handled the span from New Mexico through Arizona. Newsflash, tumbling weeds are real! It’s about all I saw for nine hours behind the wheel, but they are real. 

To keep myself busy, I put together a spreadsheet to rank every single Taylor Swift song on Apple Music. It may sound like this couldn’t occupy my time, but I did this for around 30 hours until I fell asleep—I have the sheet to prove it. If you have an artist, it’s a great way to fill time, plus listening to music won’t make you carsick (unlike the math homework I should’ve been doing). 

If you ever find yourself having to travel for a long period of time, I wouldn’t recommend exactly what I did. I think seeing cool places along the way would’ve been a bit more interesting, but we did get there as fast as we possibly could have. Overall, train your dog to be able to fly, for me though, Frank the dog will always be leading the drive.