The Future has Arrived… Awesome Road Trip!

So, I know I have a lot to write about, but I am devoting this journal entry to the road trip to California with Brittany, Christina, and Melissa that we went on from Sunday, July 19 to Sunday, July 26. We drove from Tinley Park, IL to Oceanside, CA.

On Sunday, my mom drove me to Brittany’s house in Tinley Park. We were all very excited at that point and ready to go! I said goodbye to my mom, and we started driving around 10:30 a.m. Brittany was the first driver. The first state we got to was Iowa. There were many gas stations and convenient stores called Kum & Go… we thought that was an interesting name. Anyway, we stopped at Arby’s for a quick bite and to stretch our legs. Mel and I sat in the back and played Snakes and Ladders for a little while. It’s basically Chutes and Ladders, but a mini version for car rides. She won! I couldn’t play long since I didn’t want to get car sick. There were many large windmills in Iowa. As we were driving through Iowa, a truck with a trailer was driving next to us, and there were horsies in the trailer! They were sticking their heads out. It was cute. We were going to stop at a candy store that popped up on Brittany’s GPS, but it looked to far out of the way. Too bad it wasn’t closer. We reached Nebraska and drove to Lincoln, which was our first stop. All of us drove a little bit on the first day. We went to Huhot, which is a stir fry place, and it was yummy food! We also took pictures by A Street. It would be awesome to say, “I live on A Street.” It would confuse people. We stayed at a Super 8 that night. I looked through the guide book, and apparently Lincoln has a museum called something like The American Society Museum of Germans from Russia. It was the strangest museum title I’ve seen! We did not go, though. We drove almost eight hours to Lincoln.

On Monday, we all woke up around 7:45, got ready, and ate some food at the free continental breakfast. We hit the road around 9 a.m. There was an exit with a town called Friend. I would like to live in Friend. I wonder who came up with some town names. Anyway, we stopped at McDonalds for some snack wraps. There weren’t many exits after a while, and while I was driving, we wanted to get some gas. I ended up stopping at a pretty creepy gas station where most of the pumps did not work and it was in the middle of no where. There was a café there, but it looked a bit shady. We did not stay long and ended up stopping at another gas station in Colorado… Sinclair! I wish we had Sinclair gas stations in Illinois. There’s a statue of Sinclair the dinosaur, so we of course took pictures with it. Mel brought the game Boggle for the car, and it kept falling from the back seat ledge and hitting my head. I said, “Damn you, Boggle!” That became a joke throughout the trip. We stopped in Lafayette, Colorado and picked up Wade at work!! It was awesome being able to see him and the town he lives in. I had a laughing fit in the lounge where he works, because Mel had a very serious expression on her face in a picture I took of her. Maybe it was a crazy moment after being in a car all day! Wade drove us up the mountains and showed us some awesome, beautiful views of Boulder! I drove up with him while Brittany, Melissa, and Christina followed, and I could tell they were having a hard time keeping up! The road was pretty curvy! Wade then took us to an awesome restaurant in downtown Boulder, and we walked around for a bit. The restaurant is called West End Tavern. We then drove to Uncle Ken’s house (Wes and Christina’s uncle) in Avada, Colorado. He has a very nice house!! I would love to live in Colorado if it didn’t snow so much! It’s beautiful there in the summer. We drank wine with Uncle Ken since he makes lots of wine! While we were all talking in his kitchen, it started raining hard outside and then turned into very large pieces of hail! It was scary for a little while! Many of the screens on his windows were cut from the hail. It didn’t last long either! Colorado must have crazy weather. We spent the night at his house. We drove almost seven hours that day.

On Tuesday, we woke up and got ready to go. Uncle Ken made us little smoothies for breakfast! It was nice of him. We stopped at Starbucks for some frappucinos and then hit the road. This day was the longest day of driving, but the prettiest! We got to drive through the mountains! We saw Buffalo near the side of the road, too. Illinois is so boring compared to other states. Anyway, most of the time, we did drive through the mountains, and the scenery was breathtaking. I wish I lived near mountains! We stopped at a few scenic areas to take pictures, and there was one area with a pretty river. There were people on rafts in the river. I wish we had time to do that! We stopped at a scenic area for lunch and ate PP&J sandwiches. I drove through most of Utah. Utah has awesome rocks at first, but then after a while, it’s kind of boring. The red rocks were very cool. I had the most annoying part of the drive. There were 3 lane roads where our side would have 2 lanes for a while, but then switch to 1 lane and the other side would have 2 lanes. So, it took me a while to pass certain people and some people were very slow!! My head and ears actually hurt a bit from the altitude changes. We stopped at a random café for lunch in the middle of nowhere, but it ended up being good. There was a pretty view of the rocks from the windows. We then drove some more and passed a town called Mexican Hat!! I thought that was the best name for a town. I tried getting a picture of the sign, but it turned out too blurry. There is a Mexican Hat Rock, too! There is another town called Tuba City, which I thought was awesome. Christina and I sang the song “My Girl” and we accidentally sang it too slow and thought it was hilarious. So, we tried singing it in slow motion. I guess you had to be there. Mel saw a sign that said “Chief Yellowhorn,” but she thought it said “Chef” instead of “Chief” at first. We thought that was hilarious, too! We reached Arizona and drove through Grand Canyon National Park at night. We stayed at a Best Western hotel in Grand Canyon, Arizona. We were scared the toll booth would be closed, but luckily it wasn’t! We were all pretty tired and cranky by the time we got to the hotel. Brittany’s contact solution spilled when she opened it in the hotel room and she shouted, “It’s the mountains!” She blamed it on the mountains, which makes sense because of all the altitude changes went through! But, it just sounded funny, and we blamed everything on the mountains for the rest of the trip. We drove 12 hours that day. It was a LONG day.

On Wednesday, we had a relaxing morning. Brittany and I went to breakfast and I talked to my brother on the phone. Christina had a phone interview that morning, so we waited until she was done. She got the job, which is awesome! Brittany, Mel, and I went to Wendy’s while she was in her interview. When she was done, we went to Grand Canyon National Park and went on a two mile walk on the south rim. It was so beautiful and the Grand Canyon is so big!! It’s even better in person compared to pictures. This might have been my favorite part of the trip. It was amazing. We took tons of pictures. We were pretty tired and thirsty at the end of the walk. Then, we started driving to Las Vegas. I sat in the back with Mel and slept for a little while. We stopped at Wal-mart for a few things and at KFC for some food. We got to Vegas at night, and stopped at Hoover Dam first to see it and take a few pictures. It was cool driving into Vegas at night with all of the lights everywhere. We got to MGM Grand, which is such a great hotel!! It’s really nice and big! We walked through the shops, the lobby, and the casino to get to our hotel room, and had to walk down a very long hallway to get there. We pretty much fell asleep soon after getting to the hotel. We drove around five hours that day.

On Thursday, we didn’t drive at all and spent the whole day in Las Vegas! We woke up and went to Starbucks for some coffee and breakfast. We walked around our large hotel and saw the pool, which was awesome! We then walked down the strip and saw many hotels, including New York New York, Excalibur, The Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, The Mirage, The Venetian, Flamingo, and Paris. We ate lunch at Planet Hollywood in Caesar’s Palace. I’ve been to Las Vegas a lot, but I still like seeing all the hotels! We walked a lot and our feet hurt after a while! We did gamble a little bit at The Mirage, and Mel won some money! After seeing all of the hotels, we went back to our hotel, MGM Grand, and went to the pool! We went in the hot tub and the lazy river. They were both nice and relaxing. We then dressed up and gamble a bit. I lost, sadly. Then, we went to a fancy Mexican restaurant in our hotel. It’s called Diegos. The food was delicious and so was the sangria! The tortilla soup was yummy, too. We then went to Studio 54, a club at our hotel. It was fun dancing! We all haven’t done that together in a while. I drank a Malibu and pineapple. It was good! After dancing a while, we were pretty tired, so we went back to our hotel room and slept. Mel and I did try going through all of the lines from the movie Clueless, but then we stopped since Christina was annoyed after a while! 🙂

On Friday, we woke up and took the monorail down the strip to the Sahara hotel. We then walked to the Stratosphere hotel and took the elevator to the top! There are three different rides up there, and we decided to go on Insanity. I will tell you… it was insane!! The ride goes 64 feet over the ledge and spins around. The Stratosphere is 1,149 feet tall. So, it was a very scary, but an awesome experience! I bought the picture to put in a keychain that they took of us on the ride. We stopped at Starbucks before getting in the car again and ate some food at McDonalds. I drove out of Las Vegas and half way to California. There was a guy that almost merged into me from another lane, but I luckily avoided him, and even remembered to honk at him! That was probably the scariest driving moment on the trip. I felt pretty nauseous after a while and my head really hurt. I guess I’m not used to such extreme altitude changes. Brittany drove the rest of the way to Oceanside, California. We made it!! We stayed at the Residence Marriot Inn, which was a really nice hotel. It had a living room and a kitchen! We ate dinner at a deli across the street and it was yummy. Then, we relaxed the rest of the night and eventually fell asleep. We drove over five hours that day.

On Saturday, we ate at the continental breakfast in the hotel. We then went to Wal-mart for a few things and headed to Oceanside Beach! It was very crowded, but awesome. I miss the beach. Why can’t I live near a beach?? Anyway, we lay on the beach and went in the ocean. The waves were pretty big and it was fun jumping over them! I felt like a little kid again, and I’m proud to say it was very fun. I got a bad sun burn though, but it eventually turned into a tan. After spending time at the beach all day, we got some frozen yogurt, showered, and went to Olive Garden for dinner. The four of us like going there a lot! We then spent the rest of the night hanging out at the hotel.

On Sunday morning, we got up very early and Brittany drove Mel, Christina, and me to the airport. It was sad leaving Brittany, but it was such an awesome road trip! It was such an amazing experience to see everything we saw in such a short amount of time. And it was fun spending all that time with three great friends. 🙂

More entries to come!

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