Published: July 5th 2008
June 8th 2008
Enjoying the sweets on some chill non-driving time
I was excited for Alyssa, when she told me the news: she had been accepted to work for Santa Fe Photography Workshops. But soon some of the excitement receded, giving way to disappointment. I realized this meant our summer of hiking, running, talking, laughing and miscellaneous adventures would be cut very short. Everything would be fine though. After all, we have lived on opposite corners of the country for years. One more summer couldn't hurt our friendship.
And in place of those plans I got an unexpected gift. I got to go on a "last hurrah" road-trip to get Alyssa and her car to New Mexico. We decided to call our blog for the trip from Portland to Santa Fe "The 'Little Red' Experiment." The chili-pepper red Mini Cooper had been named "Little Red" by Alyssa's cousin and in many ways this trip was an experiment.
A lot happened in one week, both in the new cities we visited each day, and on the 8-14 hour driving stretches.
With the exception of Alyssa's grandparents' house in Eugene the first night of the trip, we never knew where we were going to stay until we got there each
Just down the road from our hostel at Fisherman's Warf
night. We got to experience a youth hostel in San Francisco and a variety of hotels all along the way from the top to the bottom of California. Most of the time we were only in them for the 5-8 hours we slept.
We drove Little Red through a giant redwood tree, replaced her windshield wipers, emptied her gas tank on HWY 101 in the middle of downtown L.A., and lost her gas cap (actually we knew exactly where it was, just 500 miles too late).
We waited for AAA with a police officer in his air-conditioned patrol car, ordered Kuba from a girl who had served in the Israeli army, chatted with musicians trying to make it big in Hollywood, and purchased beaded jewelry from Native Americans at a rest stop.
We ran along the pier and explored the streets of San Francisco, ate at a cafe in Sausalito, hiked to breathtaking views in Big Sur, cheered on hundreds of costumed cyclists in San Luis Obispo, photographed the famous hand prints in Hollywood, and rode on the back of a motorcycle in Lamy, New Mexico.
We talked for hours about life, dreams, purpose, meaning, love,
goals, God, questions, friendship, music, beauty and art.
We got hungry, tired, and lost. We had misunderstandings, confusions and confessions. We tried new things, met new people, and rediscovered our motivations.
By the end of the trip, I think we realized that there was a lot more to that title than we had anticipated. It turned out to be an experiment in travel, as well as in friendship, spontaneity, independence, willing dependence, imagination, character and growth.
I am still very excited for the adventure Alyssa is experiencing in New Mexico. Each time I get to hear her voice on the phone I can tell she is right where she is supposed to be. And I can't wait to see her growth in the area of photography, as well as the many other facets that will undoubtedly be affected.
Uncertainty works and can be exciting and fun, when there is some place of certainty.
There are more photos below