Welcome to me reliving my glory days (oh no if I do this already I am going to be one annoying old lady...).
Lilly will say she used to not like me (haters will say its fake) but I knew we were destined for more than a forced fam relationship. She can take credit for gifting me with my sense of humor and giving me an incentive as an eight year old to ask for a ga-damn glass of wine but I'd like to think I lit an adventure flame deep in her soul. See how good we are for each other? Ya I don't believe me when I say that either... 'Twas my first day of being 20 when I called Lilly from somewhere along the lines of New York or Pennsylvania and asked her if she would want to take a week(ish) to road trip with me from Denver to New Orleans along the most roundabout route you could imagine. We were supposed to leave mid October but for the first time since my freshman year at college I didn't want to leave Colorado which is pretty awesome. D Day (I'm not talking World War 2...I mean departure day was moved to November 3). What a better way to spend 2020 Election Day then to go deep into the wilderness where those bars go from LTE to 3G to sweet sweet silence. I decided to be on brand and show up late to Denver International Airport to pick up Lilly, I mean it was only right... From the airport we went straight to Moab. ~never have I ever seen two outdoorsy best friends~ (I hope all gets that reference) boy did we struggle setting up our tent the first night.
The next morning we woke up before the chickens and went to watch the sun shoot into the sky at Canyonlands National Park. I had a little over a year ago been to the same spot for sunrise and I started to let myself geek out about how cool it is that standing where I had months ago I now know so much more about myself then I ever could have imagined then...Thats the weird thing about time. September 2019 Kate thought she'd be in the south of France in November of 2020...December 2019 Kate knew it to be Portugal... November 4, 2020 Kate had no idea where she'd be in the next 5 minutes. It seems that lately the only thing we can be sure of is ourselves, which good for us is the most powerful thing to be sure of.
The answer to where I ended up later that day was Arches National Park, learning how to set up a camping stove and being happily shocked that I bought all the right parts to it. We started a random hike and thanks to fate it led us to the only arch I had not seen on my first Moab trip. s/o fate I owe you one.
From there we drove to Under Canvas Zion. We did not see civilization for miles and we were starting to fear what this "great find" of mine was shaping out to be. Even though Under Canvas from afar looked to be a creepy cult it was amazing (am I sponsored?). We sat under fairy lights sipping wine as a man started to strum "Here Comes the Sun" on the guitar...I mean COME ON...A tiny village of tents nestled together, guarded by looming mountains, are you booking your stay yet? Good, say Kate sent you. We stargazed on hammocks (now I feel like I'm just bragging) and as I felt a twang of possible anxiety creeping in, I saw a shooting star in the sky. I went to sleep knowing that Mo mo nature had my back I was okay. Sunrise yoga in our tent and we were off for a full Zion National Park day.
Zion is only accessible by bus or bike but bus's have to be reserved 48 hours prior. We found this out 20 hours prior, so as you can imagine the decision went easily. Balling on a budget naturally, we opted for the cheaper non-motorized bikes. The foliage was in bloom and the bike trail weaved across bridges over creeks. We arrived at hike 1: Angels Landing. I had an insider tell me that the chains section at the end were closed because of CoCo V, it was an epic surprise to see they were open to explore. Holy views at the top. Lilly was practically making out with her apple she was so happy to have something that sort of resembled water (cue the apple obsession).
Then we biked to the Narrows where we waded in the water and saw the clock strike 3:41. The bike shop closed at 5 and we were on the complete other side of the park. Lilly's bike was sadly for her broken and slow. I knew what I had to do...I biked so speedy that bugs that hit my leggings died, I built up a little graveyard. Kate the motorized vehicle made it the bike shop with time to spare. Eventually Lilly showed up and starved was an understatement. Not knowing where to set up our "kitchen" we ended up in an Inn's parking lot squatting on the pavement lighting up our camping stove. Lilly said we could use the lid of the pot as a drainer for our pasta. As the words "How Perfect" left my lips I released a curse into the universe and penne a la pavement was created. I'd be lying if I said I did not try it and almost blow a tooth on the crunch level. Pro tip add dirt for texture reasons to your pasta if you like a good crunch.
That night we made it to Bryce Canyon and decided to sleep in my car when we saw the temperature outside. Bryce was amazing. Where the hoodoo where the hoodoo where the hoodoo at?! If you know you know....
Grand Canyon BOUND. Took an amazing pee at the Arizona state Sign as one would. I searched where Horseshoe Bend was and to our great satisfaction and shock it was only seven minutes away from us--> skrt (most times we put things in the navigation they were at least 8 hours away). We both felt faint as we peered over the bend. Thing was massive...ya ya "thats what she said," okay. Back on route to the Grand Canyon which felt a little touristy but proved to be a great place to make Trader Joes veggie tiki masala (sponsor me!) Then to Sedona with a pit stop at Cold Stone for obvious reasons. Night two of sleeping in my car, my bad on this one I took a Nightquil and was too drugged up to do anything other than shut my eyes.
My fever broke mid sleep (did I mention also very on brand of me, I was sick), I stripped naked and gave an Arizona truck stop a 2am show (but I didn't get paid...ugh). Sedona day brought some beautiful dessert hikes with a sprinkle of getting lost.
On our way out of Sedona Lilly and I both changed as humans...I had Chick fil-A for the first time and she drove in the snow for the first time and we both haven't been the same since.
Lilly braved the treacherous roads all the way to Albuquerque New Mexico where we camped on gravel quite literally 30 seconds off the highway, very luxurious I know. Early we rose and drove to Texas my first new state on the trip. Every seven minutes on the dot there was roadkill. I'll give Texas points for originality because there was a wide variation in the animals that were roadkill. Took a trip to Buckee's as one does in Texas and peed a pools worth on the side of a busy highway (as less people do) and we made it to Austin. The outdoor bars, the music, the bars, the MEN! We were fresh meat on a Sunday in town. The next morning we played a fun game of rating the men who approached us on a creep-o-meter scale. S/o to penny cabs and befriending bar tenders...
Next morning after some well earned dilly dally time we took off to the motherland New Orleans. Dare I mention in the very last hour on the road Lilly got a ticket? Too soon???
Moral of the story if there even is one: Is to find comfort in yourself and who you want to be as a person, because that is the only thing we can count on in these crazy times where external factors are never promised. Also find your keys and take off I mean cmon America is pretty awesome.