Back in the beginning of April, my girlfriend (Ashley) and I flew down to Houston, TX, where I grew up and my family still lives, and made the return trip by car. I’ve made several road trips of similar length in the past, but so many of them were done alone. In fact, I had made almost this exact same trip over 6 years ago when I first moved to Portland, but drove the whole way alone. Road trips alone aren’t bad, really. They give you a lot of time to think, and as an introvert, that much alone time can be really invigorating. The most memorable moment from the previous trip was when I stopped in Joshua Tree National Park, perched up on a giant rock, and watched the sunset in solitude and silence.
However, having a companion on a long road trip was definitely a lot more fun. Our plan was to stop at a few different landmarks we wanted to see along the way. From Houston, we drove to the Grand Canyon, then to LA and the California coast, and then up along the coast to San Francisco and eventually to the Redwood forest, before heading back home to Portland. Along the way, we definitely hit some challenging road blocks - the biggest being the oil light flashing on in my car as we were rolling into Flagstaff, AZ. This, paired with our late night arrival at an AirBNB that was a little sketch and the higher altitude, gave me really bad anxiety that night and I got next to zero sleep. In the morning we had to deal with the oil light issue, and doing so took time that eventually put us way behind schedule for going to the Grand Canyon and getting to LA. But through all that stress and anxiety, it was comforting having Ashley there with me, and eventually it all worked out.
One of my favorite moments was early on while driving through central Texas. It was pretty late, and we were driving through some side roads in the middle of nowhere in complete darkness, passing tiny towns that might as well have been ghost towns for all we could tell. In the distance we saw a bunch of flashing red lights that eventually got closer and closer, and more and more numerous. Soon we were right in the midst of them and it became clear what they were - hundreds upon hundreds of wind turbines. We were in the middle of a wind farm that, during the day would have been a fascinating sight to see. But, at night, in almost total darkness, instead it was one of the most eerie things I’ve ever experienced. It was as if we had accidentally stumbled upon the nest of hundreds of sleeping alien giants - like a scene out of War of the Worlds.
This was definitely one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story.