Road Trip

This weekend I went on a road trip to the North Cascades National Park. We bundled up in cozy clothes, turned on the seat warmers, set up the GPS and watched our surroundings change from strip malls to farmlands to mountains. Spontaneous stops along the way included a pub where I ordered a side of french fries large enough to feed a small family, a bridge above a gorge laced with waterfalls, an organic farm with a pumpkin patch and amazing raspberry chocolate chip ice cream, an old train just begging to be climbed (i.e., there were no signs saying "do not climb") and many roadside vista points. We listened to music nonstop, and we took photos that don't quite do justice to the panorama of fall foliage, crisp air and snowy peaks.

There are a few necessities I would recommend bringing on a daylong drive: a battery charger for your phone, never-ending playlists, waterbottles and snacks (something salty is good for carsickness, but hours-old french fries don't do the trick), a scarf that doubles as a blanket, and a non-digital map in case your GPS fails you. (And for the record, one non-necessity is the government. The government shutdown meant the national park was technically closed, but we survived without them.)

Unlike daily commuting, which involves getting from point a to point b as quickly as possible, road tripping is mostly about the process of getting there. Deadlines don't exist, and detours are encouraged. I'll spare you the life metaphors, but I'm pretty sure road tripping is good for the soul.