My first trip to the West was a quarter of a century ago.
It was summer, and my boyfriend, now husband, stuffed his Ford Bronco II with a leaky tent, foam mattress, cooler, AAA tour books and maps, and we drove. Our destination: the Badlands, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone.
The wide open spaces and hiking were spectacular.
The weather was not. It rained for days. In Cody, Wyoming, we awoke to an inch of water in our tent. In Yellowstone, we awoke to snow on top of the tent. We became experts at lingering in lodges, restaurants and laundromats.
At the end of the trip we were still talking to each other--and talking about plans to go back.
Two years later, we made the trek west again.
This time, we had a better tent and a Ford Ranger; we also traveled with 10 other people.
The highlight of that trip was spending several days horseback riding and camping along parts of the Oregon Trail near South Pass City, Wyoming.
That vacation was the last of our long car trip vacations. When given the choice between driving and flying, we opted to fly.
This fall, though, I am making a road trip west again. My destination, Alturas, California, is nearly 2,300 miles away.