Hello, friends! It feels so good to finally have a few moments to sit down, gather my thoughts and write my first update since leaving on my road trip. I’ve already been on the road for 19 days, and it simultaneously feels like the longest and shortest 19 days of my life. Long because my first week of driving to Minnesota seems like a distant memory now, and short because it’s wild to think the people I’ve seen and places I’ve been to are, realistically, only a few hours away in all directions.
Before I left, this trip felt BIG. I estimated that I would drive at least 10,000km in 17+ states. Not even three weeks in, I’ve already driven more than 6,000km in 14 states – and there are at least four more that I’m going to drive through (five if we include Washington, which I need to drive through a second time to get home). Because of the fast pace I’ve been moving at, and the long driving days, I haven’t had time to write a full post yet. But I did piece together a list of thoughts I’ve had so far on the road.
Some are silly, some are serious and some are incomplete – and the more time I spend alone, the more confident I am about saying that this is how my thought process works on a daily basis.
- According to the yard signs I saw in Washington, 91.67% of farmers are voting for Trump.
- Conversely, people in Montana and Minnesota still seem to be supporting Bernie. People love Bernie. (Poor Bernie.)
- The above two points don’t align with what this says. I just had fun counting yard signs in the first week of the trip.
- I hate driving at night. I’ve only driven in the dark twice, and I can already tell you I never want to do it again. Going forward, I’m getting out of the car before 8pm.
- Snoqualmie, Washington reminds me of Squamish (my favourite city in Canada). I want to go back and spend more time there.
- I’m pretty sure there are 20+ different license plate designs in Montana.
- The further I drive, the more often I wonder if there are any other cars with British Columbia license plates on them in the state I’m in.
- The Badlands are indescribable. Pictures don’t do it justice.
- A storm in South Dakota reminded me that rough patches don’t last forever. In my case, two hours was all it took for the sun to come back out. (Waiting inside a Subway restaurant with amazing wi-fi made this more comfortable.)
- No matter what state you’re in, you can look at the sky and tell when you’re about to drive into a storm. The dark clouds aren’t exactly inviting, but it’s nice to feel prepared for what’s coming.
- Have I ever mentioned how much I love thunder and lightning? I could stay up and watch/listen to it all night.
- As soon as you cross the border into Minnesota, you can’t help but notice how GREEN it is.
- Homeowners in the Midwest mow their lawns once/week. I already knew this about people in Ohio, but apparently it’s a thing in all of those states. This is NOT a thing in BC.
- Anthony and I made a video! I had to share this because I’m still amazed there was any usable footage. We spent three hours laughing, while trying to get this done. And if we lived closer, I think we would seriously consider starting “The Cait and Anthony Show”.
- My favourite restaurants so far have been: The Notorious P.I.G. in Missoula, Josiah’s Coffeehouse in Sioux Falls, Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis and Turtle Bread Company in Minneapolis. I also had a lemon vanilla latte at Indaba Coffee in Spokane that was delicious, and no trip to Ohio is complete without a stop at Jeni’s.
- Coffee from Tim Hortons in Ohio tastes different from Tim Hortons in Canada. I don’t know if it’s better or worse… it’s just different.
- Catcalling is (unfortunately) alive and well in Southern Ohio.
- To counter that, I must tell you that men in the Midwest have some serious manners. The men who were shocked to hear how many times I’ve been catcalled are the type of people who open doors for everyone, say “thank you” often and provide genuine hospitality. I will miss that.
- Frozen custard tastes even better than it sounds. I probably didn’t need to eat two scoops of it, but I also regret nothing about that decision.
- Nate St. Pierre is my new favourite person. I’m so glad we finally met.
- No matter what crop a state is known for, they all seem to grow corn – a lot of it. (And sunflowers! Sunflower fields are mesmerizing.)
- There are wild turkeys everywhere. I don’t think I saw my first one until I hit Minnesota, but now I see them everywhere – and they fly! For some reason, this always makes me laugh.
- I also saw my first wild armadillo in Missouri. It was roadkill. :*(
- Gas is $1.99/gallon in parts of Missouri and Kansas. That’s only $0.52/litre!
- When I meet new people, most of them say they know what Vancouver is because of the shows on HGTV. The Olympics didn’t put us on the map, but Love It or List It did.
- Minimalism is a privilege. I don’t know how to write about this yet, but I can’t stop thinking about the fact that a “minimalist lifestyle” is something that is typically only chased by people who have money (or access to credit). I’m going to continue to gather my thoughts on this, before I say more… but it’s on my mind every day.
- Small problems feel huge when you’re alone on the road. I thought the opposite would be true: that the small things would seem even smaller, when you’re out on a grand adventure. As it turns out, when the small problems are all you have, they seem monumental.
- I’ve let go of the concern that crying is a sign of weakness. It’s a release of emotion.
- Road trips offer the best environment to practice living in the moment.
- I have loved my visits with friends in various states in the Midwest, but I do have to admit that driving towards the mountains made me feel like I was going home – and it felt good.
There are so many more things I could share, but I’ll stop there and maybe do another round-up in a couple weeks. As you can probably imagine, the road has helped me come up with a long list of blog post ideas… I just need to find the time to write them! Until my next update, I also wanted to share the best blog post I’ve read in the past few weeks. I’ll leave you with this quote from it, and we will talk more soon, friends! Miss you!
We can’t afford to act like it’s okay that “Girls can do anything!” got translated somewhere along the line into “Women must do everything.”