June 29th, 2018- At 19 years old, I have learned very quickly that there are some things in life that you just shouldn’t miss out on, and if you don’t ask, nobody can say no. Asking to go on a 3,000 mile road trip out of nowhere was certainly something I wasn’t going to take a risk on.
The morning of our departure, I nervously waited around while my Dad changed a bulb in my 09’ Ford Focus; the trusty road tripping machine. My Dad showed me how this was done (I had never changed a taillight before) and asked me about my week and what I had planned. Now of course, I could tell him the truth, but instead I replied with multiple “I’m not sure yet”s and “Probably just clean”s until the subject moved onto something else. If I told him, I’d certainly get murdered, as I was going with my best friend Kian (I’ve got an overprotective dad, ok?) and I was not going to risk anyone telling me I couldn’t go. Because I was going to Oregon… no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. Once we got my tail light reassembled, I booked it back to my Mom’s house, where all of my stuff was set out and ready to go.
My Mom and brother both leave for work before I do, so I was able to get everything packed and ready to rock. Operation: Avoid talking to Mom and telling her I’m going to the West Coast, was a go. I got everything loaded into my car and whistled for my 1 year old German Shepherd pup Kenai, so I could put him inside before I left. He didn’t come. I panicked, and ran to the neighbors to ask for help in a search. Kenai has a shock collar that limits his distance that he can go from the house, and after searching and not finding him anywhere, I was a mess. A while later, after I had almost died from heat stroke and a panic attack, he came running from across the neighborhood. Such a bad dog, as he costed me a solid hour of time into my trip, but it was fine. Kian hadn’t even awoke yet. I made my way to Kian’s after he regained consciousness and we loaded up his stuff into the Focus. We said goodbye to his Mom and Dad, since he had actually told them that we were taking a trip; what a nice guy. The plan of attack for the day-make it to Bozeman, Montana; a 14 hour drive. We breezed through Minnesota and made it to North Dakota where we would stop for Noodles & Co. for lunch. A few hours afterwards, I realized that my travel companion was no longer managing a playlist, but instead, passed out and leaving me to enjoy the North Dakota nothingness without him. I spent the next few hours listening to a Fleetwood Mac album on shuffle, while trying to drown out Kian’s snoring. A wave of peace washed over me as I realized we were actually on our way to the motherland known as Mount Hood. Kian had woken up shortly before we reach Medora, North Dakota, where a severe storm had just appeared out of nowhere. After going down some large hills in rocky terrain, the storm opened up on us and we were trapped in it. We spent the next long while driving in the slow lane with the hazards on, and going 30mph. It was impossible to see more than 10 feet in front of us with the rain pouring down, and my car was hydroplaning all over the road; talk about terrifying. After the storm, the Focus looked shiny and new, and a few more hours of driving, Kian fell asleep again until we reached Bozeman. A few nights before we left,
I had sent a message to one of my good friends, Tom, who I had met in High School. Tom welcomed us into his home for the night as we traveled through, and also took some time out of his evening to make us feel welcome in the great city of Bozeman. Because of the time change, we had made it there before midnight, so Tom showed us around Montana State University for a couple minutes before exhaustion overcame the both of us. We drove back to the condo after an adventurous couple of hours, ate some pizza, and then passed out on the couch.