Wanderlust: The all-American Road Trip

If Portland, Oregon is the place where young people go to retire then I recently came out of a productive and happy 14-year retirement. I moved there straight after college; it’s where I met my husband, where our daughter was born, where we all made dear friends. Why leave such a place? There’s only really one thing that makes people move from Portland and it’s work. This spring my husband was offered a job in Fort Worth, Texas and suddenly we were moving. He left a couple of months before myself and our 9-year-old daughter who, while excited, was also nervous about what was to come. Mapping out our drive it appeared the shortest route would take us 3-4 days but was that any way to drive to a new life in the middle of summertime? I wanted to give her an adventure and some perspective on this move, on the distance we were to travel, on its place in what I hope will be a big life. There’s really only one way to do that: the all-American road trip. Given the novels written on the subject already, I can’t increase anyone’s understanding of what it’s like in the wide expanse of the American west; the small towns and surprising beauty and feelings of isolation and also belonging that come from days of driving through nothing and everything. The meaning comes from the experience and having this experience with my little girl seemed like the perfect way to transition our life. We left feeling a bit like adventurers in our own Hero’s Journey, hoping that by leaving all we knew behind and traveling into the unknown (but highly map-able) we’d discover a path home again.

The Route

The Route

Last day in PDX

Last day in PDX

Redwoods Magic Light

Redwoods Magic Light

Founders Tree

Founders Tree

Humbolt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center

Humbolt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

Eel River Café, Garberville

Eel River Café, Garberville

Souvenirs from Santa Rosa

Souvenirs from Santa Rosa

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Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara

Last Look at the Pacific

Last Look at the Pacific

Shark Tank Aquarium, Las Vegas

Shark Tank Aquarium, Las Vegas

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Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

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The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

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Winslow, AZ

Winslow, AZ

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Gallup, NM

Gallup, NM

Amarillo, TX

Amarillo, TX

Big Texan 72oz. Steak Challenge

Big Texan 72oz. Steak Challenge

West Texas

West Texas

The Road to Fort Worth

The Road to Fort Worth

Texas Sunset

Texas Sunset

All photos by Morgan Ennis

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